Sunday, February 22, 2009

Feelin' Froggy?

With the sting of winter easing into balmier but v-e-r-y dry, gritty with dust and no rain for months on end weather, colds and sore throats seem to be the in thing these days. I'm no exception. And my colds are usually always long-drawn-out affairs with a couple of days' painful sore throat and then just one side of my nose starts running, and after it's mended in about 2/3 days, the other side starts its own little process. I caught my sore throat a couple of evenings ago and spent yesterday feeling like I was being slowly done in by an invisible Boston Strangler but this morning I woke up with the constricting pain gone. My head remains woozy and the old body like it's been hammered but at least my throat doesn't feel like it's being scraped raw anymore.

The secret to my vanquished sore throat comes from my sister. Many years ago, when her three kids were still small and catching childhood illnesses right, left and centre, she found a great way to zap away sore throats. Called the cold compress, it works like this -

At bedtime, take a face towel or a large hanky, wet it in cold water, wring it out well and fold it lengthwise so you end up with a longish strip. Wrap it all around the neck with the overlap in front. Then wrap a warm, woollen scarf over it and pin securely into place. Re-wet the compress after every 8 hours. This hydro-therapy usually cures a sore throat in a day, two at the most.

Forget about saline gargles, ginger tea, lozenge sucks, warm honey and lemon drinks and the rest. This remedy works like a charm every time.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Puppy Dog Tales

In the way that sparrows do with the coming of warm weather, some four or five were busily twittering and chasing each other around outside the door today when one obviously got a little over-excited and came fluttering right into my sister's room. I thought it would either find its way out again or my sister, in bed with her seasonal sniffles, would take care of it. Not so. An hour later I walked into my room to find a dead bird neatly left smack in the middle of my bed. My sister's naughty 3 year old poochie Kuri she'd adopted from our neighbours a couple of years ago, had struck again.

My sister says this is possibly the seventh bird Kuri's exterminated. We think it's appalling that she goes around mauling these fragile little creatures. Not that she's done it for a while. When she wasn't yet a year old and an exuberantly energetic little puppy, she'd gambol around and somehow keep nailing the sparrows that seem to love our terrace but to our relief, she seemed to have slowed down with time. No more dead or injured birds. Until today. Hopefully this will be the last.

Of the 15 or so dogs that we've had over the years, there was just one other that seemed to share this kind of predatory instinct. Except in her case, it wasn't birds but rodents. When Teii smelled a mouse, she just about morphed into a cat, albeit a barking, yelping, highly excitable one. She'd get into a tizzy, chasing the probably highly puzzled mouse around tight corners while we shrieked and hoped the mouse wouldn't come running in our direction, and after relentless hounding, Teii invariably ended up with a kill. At which point, she would lose all interest and we'd quickly get rid of the little unwanted creature.

I suppose the predatory instinct is just a little more pronounced in some animals than it is in others and with individual preferences hardwired into them as well.

Picture: Kuri looking demure with a neighbour's kid