Saturday, 2 January 2010

Curious advice

is to be found in a book someone has given me. The book itself goes by the curious title of "A book of curious advice: most unusual manner, morals, medicine from days of yore".
There is advice to be had on losing weight here "To one who is fat, the best cure for it is to eat less and eat nothing except meat - one or two pounds of meat a day and four glasses of hot water between meals. No bread, butter, potatoes , pudding or anything else." I will not try this remedy.
I am also advised by the same publication that "Daily washing of the hair is very bad for it. Women should not wash their hair oftener than once in three weeks. For washing the hair the best thing to use is a little quilla bark and hot water." Later that advice is contradicted by a doctor, "Don't wash the hair more than once a month. Do not use soap..." Hmmm. Someone else advises the use of New England rum to wash hair. I do not think I will try these things either.
My father and I have had a good laugh over the, to us, strange ideas in this book. I wonder though what future generations will make of the items advertised for sale in those funny little pieces of advertising that sometimes come in a yellow envelope delivered by the postman. There are items there that are just as strange and, I suspect, useless - like the elastic straps which are supposed to give you instant good posture and the foot vibrator said to relax the entire body and all the little kitchen gadgets.
I got rid of several boxes of "surplus to requirements" kitchen gadgets some time after my mother died. Her mother collected gadgets. My mother kept them. I could not even work out what some of them were supposed to do. Others were the messy, time consuming and space wasting equivalent of a knife. I prefer a knife.
We still have too many things. Occasionally I remove something we have not used for a number of years. Most of the time I forget about them.
There is however a curious thing. Pencils and paper are something we use all the time. There is supposed to be paper and pencils by the telephone at all times. There is supposed to be paper and pencils on the kitchen bench. Occasionally my father will take eight or nine pencils of varying lengths and, with deadly accuracy, sharpen and shorten them. Then they wander off on some sort of journey or adventure of their own and return only when they need to be revived by his ministrations. I am left wondering where they went, wanting to take down a telephone number and being forced to remember complex messages in my head.
There is no curious advice in the book to tell me how to prevent the need for this.

4 comments:

Rachel Fenton said...

It's not just me then? I can never lay my hand to a pen and I know we have dozens of them!

I like newspaper archives for the old adverst - some of them are deadly funny!

catdownunder said...

The books is hilarious - some of the advice is really, really strange!

Donna Hosie said...

I need pens. I went out today and purchased some gorgeous writing pads, but do you think I remembered to buy the actual tool for inking down my thoughts? Nah, too obvious.

catdownunder said...

My father has been making wooden pens - but advising several of his more absent minded friends to tie them to their desks!