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A wry view of life for the world-weary

Monthly Archives: August 2016

Book Corner – August 2016 (3)

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Golden Hill – Francis Spufford

Everybody has a novel in them, they say, and often that’s where it should stay, in my experience. It might be seen as a bit of a gamble for an accomplished writer of non-fiction – his debut account of the Scott polar expedition, I May Be Some Time, won him literary prizes – to turn his hand to a novel but Spufford has produced an astonishingly impressive and highly entertaining piece of work.

In November 1746, a young adventurer, Richard Smith, lands in Manhattan with a money order for £1,000, a stupendous amount of money, backed by a reputable City of London firm, which he immediately presents to the owner of a counting house on Golden Hill Street, Mr Lovell. The bill is to be paid in sixty days and the absence of any corroborating evidence and Smith’s reluctance to reveal much about himself or what he proposes to do with the money provokes suspicions that he might be a trickster.

The novel recounts the various adventures that befall Smith during his stay which include a roof top escape, a duel, the killing of his only associate, Oakeshott and being caught in flagrante delicto with the local trollop and actress, Euterpe Tomlinson . The protagonist finds himself in and out of a debtors’ prison and in grave danger of dancing the hemp jig ie being hung. In this book Spufford recreates the feel and pace of a Fielding or Smollett novel of the era.

As a newcomer to the nascent Manhattan – it has just 7,000 inhabitants and is more of a village than a city where everyone knows each other’s business – Smith is able to compare and contrast what he finds with what he left behind in London. The streets are clean, there are no beggars and the dread marks of smallpox are remarkably absent from the visages of the inhabitants. But it has its own set of horrors – slavery, a gruesome tableau of rotting scalps of Frenchmen presented annually by the Mohawks as a gesture of friendship towards the English and Dutch – and is riven by factions.

The language Spufford deploys is intoxicating. It has just the right mix of archaisms to maintain the pretence of being written in the mid 18th century without making it a chore for the modern reader. Whilst the paragraphs and the sentences can be long with multiple subordinate clauses, they proceed at a pace and do not get bogged down by their intricacy. And his metaphors are brilliantly evocative, painting a crisp, clear image in just a few words. To take just one example in describing the forming ice on the river he writes, “reaching fingers of ice growing out from each shore met in the middle and locked ..rigid as in the heart of a child’s marble”.

A mix of narrative and epistolary style, a melange of real and imaginary characters, a tale of trust and doubt interspersed with the complexity of relationships, Spufford has produced a thoroughly entertaining read. Smith, though, is a frustratingly mysterious character. We don’t know what makes him tick and so it is difficult to feel much sympathy for him as he lurches from crisis to crisis. And the ending with its double climax is as unexpected as it is bemusing.

A good holiday read.

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Gin o’Clock – Part Eleven

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Southwold is situated on the mouth of the River Blyth on what is known as the Suffolk Heritage coast. From memory it is full of beach huts and has a prominent lighthouse and pier. Frustratingly at busy times there is only one road in and out.

For the drinker the name Southwold is synonymous with Adnams.  The tradition of brewing in Southwold dates back to at least 1345 when Johanna de Corby and 17 other so-called ale wives of Southwold were charged by the manorial court for breaking the assize of ale, a law regulating the price and quality of beer. The brothers, George and Ernest Adnams – George was tragically eaten by a crocodile in South Africa, but that is another story – with the help of their father bought the Sole Bay Brewery in 1872 and the business has been there ever since. Their ales have always been worth seeking out.

More germane to this series, however, is their decision in 2010 to build and open a copper still distillery for the distillation of vodka and, as a logical follow on, gin. This month’s featured gin,  Adnams Copper House Dry Gin, comes in a squat round bottle with a bluish label which gives the bottle a blue hue. The label at the front has a picture of a copper still, seagulls and botanicals and the top has foil which protects a natural cork stopper. The stopper makes a very satisfying sound as it is removed from the bottle. To the nose the dominant flavours are juniper and orange. In the mouth it has an oily texture and the juniper is to the fore making it perfect for those who like a classic London dry gin. In the aftertaste orange and floral sensations predominate giving way to a lingering, almost peppery finale.

Mixed with Fever-Tree tonic it produces a very aromatic drink. After my first tasting I followed it up with Williams Extra Dry Gin and the orange and apple oriented aftertastes of the two made for a nice contrast. Adnams use just six botanicals in producing this gin but the mix seems just right giving the drinker the opportunity to savour a complexity of flavours without being overwhelmed by a multiplicity of flavours jostling for attention.

As well as juniper berries, orris root and coriander seeds, cardamom pod, sweet orange peel and hibiscus flower are used. Cardamom is the third most expensive spice in the world, apparently, and adds a spicy note to the spirit, although too much can make it seem bitter. Its essential oils and aromatics are very volatile and degrade quickly, something the humble orris root is there to prevent.

In very simplistic terms oranges can be classed as sweet, used for orange juice, or bitter, used for marmalade. Distillers use either and Adnams have chosen the former to give a very zesty edge to the gin. Having been very conventional in their choice of botanicals Adnams tip their hat to modern tastes by introducing hibiscus which gives the floral tastes in the aftertaste . These plants have large, trumpet-shaped flowers with five or more petals and their bitter, floral flavour gives a quite unusual and attractive taste.

Aside from using hibiscus what sets this gin out from many of its rivals is that the whole distillation process is undertaken in-house. The base spirit is made with East Anglian malted barley, fermented using Adnams’ eighty year old yeast before being transferred to their copper pot still where it is reduced to around 50% alcohol by volume at which point the botanicals are added, allowed to soak overnight and then distilled.

A very satisfying addition to my collection. Cheers!

On My Doorstep – Part Nine

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Admiral Sturdee (1859 – 1925)

As I was walking through the graveyard of St Peter’s Church in Frimley away from the church a little while ago, my attention was caught by a rather unusual gravestone. It is conventionally shaped but the centre is cut out and replaced with a wooden cross. On further investigation I found that the timbers making up the cross were from Nelson’s HMS Victory – Trafalgar and all that – and what I was looking at was the grave of Admiral of the Fleet Sir Frederick Sturdee, 1st Baronet, GCB, KCMG, CVO no less.

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Born in Charlton in 1859, Sturdee joined the Navy as a cadet on the training ship HMS Britannia at the tender age of twelve. He became a career sailor and took part in the bombardment of Alexandria in July 1882 during the Anglo-Egyptian War. Commanding the cruiser HMS Porpoise off Australia he became involved in a tense stand-off with the Germans who were disputing control of the Samoan Islands with the Americans and for his diplomatic skills was promoted to captain and appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1900.

Sturdee rose up the naval ladder to the point that he was made a vice-admiral in December 1913 and Chief of War Staff at the Admiralty in July 1914. At the Battle of Coronel off the coast of Chile on 1st November 1914 the British navy suffered its first naval defeat since the Battle of Lake Champlain in the Anglo-American war of 1812, von Spee in his famous Scharnhorst surprising the Brits, sinking the Good Hope with the loss of 1,600 hands and forcing the Glasgow and Otranto to flee. The Germans sustained a handful of casualties and entered the Chilean port of Valparaiso to the cheers of the German community there.

Sturdee in his desk role was under fire for the unpreparedness of the British fleet. Reeling at this humiliation Churchill assembled a new fleet and asked our hero to sort out the mess he had created. They sailed off to the South Atlantic with orders to hunt von Spee down.

On 8th December 1914 Sturdee found his target off Stanley in what we call the Falkland Islands and proceeded to attack. The Germans, recognising that they were facing a superior force turned and fled but Sturdee steadfastly pursued them, sinking almost the entire squadron including the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. Only a light cruiser, the Dresden, escaped but was finally hunted down in March 1915. For his restoration of British naval pride and for winning the so-called battle of the Falkland Islands, Sturdee was created a baronet in March 1916.

His war didn’t finish there. He commanded a squadron in the Battle of Jutland in 1916 and became a full admiral in May 1917, eventually retiring from active service in 1921 when he was made Admiral of the Fleet. He retired to the Frimley area which is why he ended up in the local graveyard.

Sturdee seems to have been a bit of a Marmite character. A biographer penning in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, wrote, “Sturdee was an able naval officer and an effective squadron commander. Despite being an indefatigable student of his profession, however he never grasped the higher demands of war and failed as a chief of the war staff. His vctory at the Falklands was both fortunate and ironic.” Another recorded that Sturdee “perhaps became a trifle conceited after his victory of von Spee”.

Whatever the truth, Sturdee is one of the most famous residents of the graveyard. Sturdee Close is just off Bret Harte Road, just as the Admiral’s grave is to the right of that of the Immortal Bilk.

Olympic Review Of The Week

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Although I wasn’t an avid viewer of the Narcolympics in Rio these are my highlights.

The Eddie the Eagle award

Former Olympic champion, Russian Ilya Zhakarov, belly flopped into the pool during the 3m springboard competition. He must have thought he was competing in the dodsing championship. But pride of place must go to Haitian hurdler, Jeffrey Julmis, who forgot to jump over the first hurdle of his 110 metre race, crashed and fell. Fair play to him, he picked himself up and finished the race but after his pre-race histrionics it made him look even more stupid.

The wrong pole wrong time award

Attempting a 5.3 metre jump, Japanese pole vaulter, Hiroki Ogita, suffered an untimely erection which knocked the bar off. Cold shower for him, next time.

The forgotten man award

I may be missing something but for synchronised diving I thought you needed a pair of divers, at least. Not that you would have realised it, judging by some of the photos in the press after Tom Daley and Daniel Goodfellow won bronze. Goodfellow was conspicuous by his absence. No doubt he understood what schadenfreude means when Daley crashed out of the individual event. Naturally, I won’t post a picture of Goodfellow.

It’s The Way I Tell ‘Em (27)

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The best jokes from the Edinburgh Fringe 2016 for your delectation.

  • My dad has suggested that I register for a donor card. He is a man after my own heart – Masai Graham
  • Why is it old people say “there’s no place like home” but when you put them in one…- Stuart Mitchell
  • I’ve been happily married for four years – out of a total of 10 – Mark Watson
  • Apparently 1 in 3 Britons are conceived in an IKEA bed which is mad because they are really well lit – Mark Smith
  • I went to a pub quiz in Liverpool, had a few drinks so wasn’t much use. Just for a laugh I wrote the Beatles or Steven Gerrard for every answer…came second – Will Duggan
  • Brexit is a terrible name, sounds like cereal you eat when you’re constipated – Tiff Stevenson
  • I often confuse Americans and Canadians. By using long words – Gary Delaney
  • Why is Henry’s wife covered in tooth marks? Because he’s Tudor – Adele Cliff
  • Don’t you hate it when people assume you’re rich because you sound posh and went to private school and have loads of money? – Annie McGrath
  • Is it possible to mistake schizophrenia for telepathy, I hear you ask – Jordan Brookes
  • Hilary Clinton has shown that any woman can be President, as long as your husband has done it first – Michelle Wolf
  • I spotted a Marmite van on the motorway. It was heading yeastbound – Roger Swift
  • Back in the day, Instagram just meant a really efficient drug dealer – Arthur Smith
  • I’ll tell you what is unnatural in the eyes of God. Contact lenses – Zoe Lyons
  • Elton John hates ordering Chinese food. Soya seems to be the hardest word – Phil Nicol

My personal favourite, though, was Masai Graham’s I got ripped off in Ireland recently. I bought some cocaine from Limerick but the third and fourth lines were a lot shorter”.

What Is The Origin Of (95)?…

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A tinker’s damn

This phrase usually follows “not worth a” and means that the subject matter is worthless. You may find that damn is replaced by cuss or curse or that the final n has been dropped in an attempt to bowdlerise the phrase. I have been known to use it but have never given any thought to how it may have come about.

The starting point in our exploration is the term tinker. The noun tinker has been in use since the 13th century at least  often pejoratively, to describe a craftsman, usually itinerant, who mended pots, kettles and other metal household utensils. There is no common consensus on the origin of the word although one theory, which I quite like, is that is from the noise made by lightly hammering on metal.

Although they doubtless performed a useful function, there was a general distrust in mediaeval times of strangers and travellers and tinker – the Scottish variant was tinkler – soon became a portmanteau term for vagrants, travellers, Romanies and the like. As well as enduring a peripatetic lifestyle the tinker was not known for the politeness and subtlety of their language. As the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) rather sniffily notes “the low repute in which these, especially the itinerant sort, were held in former times is shown by the expressions “to swear like a tinker, a tinker’s curse or damn, as drunk or as quarrelsome as a tinker””. A tinker had become firmly established as a simile for a reprobate.

Moving on into the 18th century phrases such as “not giving a curse or a damn” or “not worth a curse or a damn”  became common as expressions of studied indifference or worthlessness. Oliver Goldsmith wrote in an essay in 1760, “not that I care three damns what figure I may cut” and one of the Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, wrote in a letter in 1763 “I do not conceive that any thing can happen ..which you would give a curse to know”.

Perhaps it is not surprising, given the tinker’s noted predilection for swearing, that the two were conflated into one by the early 19th century. John McTaggert wrote in his The Scottish Gallovidian Dictionary of 1824, “a tinkler’s curse she did na care” while Henry David Thoreau noted in his journal in 1839, “’tis true they are not worth a tinker’s damn”. Towards the end of the century Robert Louis Stevenson wrote in his novel, St Ives, published in 1894, “I care not a tinker’s damn for his ascension”.

What is not worth a tinker’s damn is Edward H Knight’s alternative suggestion of the derivation of the phrase which appeared in his 1877 edition of The Practical Dictionary of Mechanics. There he defines a tinker’s dam (note the absence of the n) as “a wall of dough raised around a place which a plumber desires to flood with a coat of solder. The material can be but once used, being consequently thrown away as worthless. It has passed into proverb usually involving the wrong spelling of the otherwise innocent word dam”. Alas, for Knight there are earlier examples to be found, all of which restore the innocent n.

And to finish off, to tinker appeared as a verb meaning to work as a tinker around 1590 and then acquired a secondary meaning of being engaged in a worthless or useless way in the mid 17th century. Throughout the centuries the tinker has had to battle with a bad reputation.

The Streets Of London – Part Forty Five

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Cockpit Steps, SW1

Connecting Birdcage Walk with Old Queen Street are a set of steps and a narrow passageway which although unprepossessing to the modern eye have an intriguing history to go along with their grade II listing. It doesn’t take a genius to work out their connection with the once popular pastime of cock fighting.

To modern tastes it was a brutal form of entertainment where two cocks were placed into a cockpit and they fought each other until one was killed or critically injured. The gruesome spectacle also offered an opportunity for the onlookers to wager money on the outcome. As a result some fairly complex rules were developed governing the conduct of a fight and geared at ensuring a fair bout between two evenly matched birds. Books were written on the subject but in essence the cocks had to be of the same weight and height and their wings and tails had to be trimmed. Possibly these regulations were the start of developing rules and regulations to govern sporting events.

In England cockfighting established itself as a popular form of entertainment around the 16th century and many towns and areas had their own permanent cockpits where people from all walks of life would meet and gamble. Cockpit Steps mark the site of a royal cockpit – not to be confused with the Royal Cockpit Theatre, part of the Whitehall Palace complex – and was built some time during the 18th century. It was designed to attract the better sort of person, charging a 5 shilling admission fee.

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Cockfighting was banned in England and Wales following the passing of the Cruelty to Animals Act of 1835 but the popularity of the Royal cockpit had long since waned. It was demolished some time during the second decade of the 19th century and all that remains of it are our steps which used to surround the pit. It is fascinating to stop on the steps and imagine the hub-bub of conversation as monies are wagered and fortunes are won or lost.

But the steps have another intriguing story to tell – one of a dastardly crime and the paranormal. In the late 18th century a soldier, thought to have been an officer of the Coldstream Guards,  stationed at the nearby Horse Guard barracks lured his wife into nearby St James’ Park and murdered her, decapitating her in the process. While he was attempting to dump her body into the lake he was spotted and apprehended by other members of his regiment.

Ever since there have been reports of a headless apparition wearing a red striped dress stained with blood haunting Birdcage Walk, walking down Cockpit Steps towards the lake. Sometimes she has been seen coming out of the lake. The Times carried a report of a sighting in January 1804 by two soldiers, possibly Private George Jones and Richard Donkin of the Coldstream Guards, on sentry duty who were so distressed by the sight that they were declared unfit for any further duty.

One sighting was as recent as 1972. A motorist driving past the steps at night hit a lamp post claiming that he had had to swerve to avoid a headless woman in a blood stained dress. He was acquitted of dangerous driving – I will have to remember that one. Many is the time I have staggered out of the Two Chairmen, opposite Cockpit Steps, but never have I encountered the headless woman. Maybe next time.

A New Day Yesterday – Part Twenty

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The proofed copy of my new book, Fifty Clever Bastards, came through one evening at midnight and I couldn’t resist the temptation to print the thing off there and then. Printers are wonderful things but at that time of the night you can well do without paper running out and ink cartridges needed replacing. Still, after about 45 minutes of fulminating, cursing modern technology and feeding the voracious jaws of my printer with paper and ink, I had my baby in my arms.

I decided not to read it at that late hour – a wise decision if there ever was one – and waited until the morning. What became apparent as I worked my way through the script was that whilst there were very few typos, grammatical errors or infelicities of language, it didn’t have a cohesive feel about it. So I set about, no doubt to the annoyance of my editor, standardising date formats, headers and layout.

I noted each change on a separate Word document, hoping that my intentions with each change were crystal clear and that the editor would have no difficulty in interpreting my intentions. A second proof came through and so the process was repeated. It is amazing that however carefully you think you have read something and no matter how many times you go through the document, errors pop up in place where you had not observed them before. It is as though the document had a life of its own. Anyway, I nailed most, if not all, of the latest batch of errors and signed the proof off.

The book was put into production in record time and I was filled with a sense of achievement when I got the email saying it was now on sale on Amazon. The receipt of the physical copies made it all seem real and, I’m pleased to say, early sales are promising. J K Rowling has nothing to worry about – at least at the moment. If you are interested, check the link in the Publications section of this blog.

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Rather like Lord Emsworth I derived a lot of pleasure contemplating the progress of my other pet hobby, my pumpkins. I shared the dismay he felt when the Empress started to lose weight when I noticed that my fruits had stopped growing. Worse still, they started to wrinkle and shrivel. Despite lots of water and supplements there were no sign of any improvement.

Readers may recall my attempts to control our garden snail population attracted the interest of no less an organ than the Wall Street Journal. Well, sad to relate, the snails have picked themselves up, dusted themselves down and wrought their revenge. Spotting a free meal they munched with gusto on my ailing pumpkins leaving me with no alternative but to cut them off and throw the fruits on the compost heap. When the don of British gardening, Monty of that ilk, announces on Gardeners’ World that it is a poor year for pumpkins I knew I was on a hiding to nothing.

But nature is if nothing resilient. More fruits have started to appear and the whole process of pollination is in train. I suspect they will be too late to be whoppers but after the setbacks and disappointments of this year, just to have one modest sized one to give BoJ1 would be a triumph. Surely, that is not too much to ask, is it?

There Ain’t ‘Alf Some Clever Bastards – Part Fifty Eight

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Trevor Baylis (1937 – )

The radio is a wonderful invention. It provides company to the lonely, disseminates information and forms of entertainment and allows nations to talk to nations. The receiver, though, needs some form of power, typically electricity or via a battery, to work and without it you are snookered. This is where the latest inductee into our illustrious Hall of Fame, Trevor Baylis, comes in.

With AIDS sweeping through Africa in the 1990s the radio was a vitalmedium for spreading the all-important health information to the more remote communities. The problem, though, was that batteries needed to power the radios were hard to come by and expensive. A TV programme on the subject aired in 1993 spurred Baylis into action.

Tinkering around in his workshop he began experimenting with a hand brace, an electric motor and a small radio. He found that the brace turning the motor acted as a generator which could produce enough energy to power the radio. His next adaptation was to add a clockwork mechanism that meant that a spring could be wound up and as it unwound, the radio would play. On winding his prototype for a couple of minutes the radio played for 14 minutes. Baylis had invented the windup radio which as it was totally reliant upon human power could be a godsend for so-called underdeveloped countries.

Baylis tried to interest companies in his invention but those he approached were dubious as to its commercial value. Nonetheless the invention was showcased on an edition of “Tomorrow’s World” in April 1994 and piqued the interest of an accountant, Christopher Staines, and South African entrepreneur, Rory Stear. With funding from the Liberty Life Group, a South African insurer, Stear and Staines set up a company, BayGen Power Industries, in Cape Town to make a commercial version of Baylis’ invention.

Although Baylis had patented his invention and was involved in the BayGen business, as you would expect with an inductee, all did not go to plan. The company made a small but important change to the original design, using the spring to charge a battery rather than generating the power directly. This subtle change took the radio outside of Baylis’ patent and so he lost control of the product and the revenues that followed from it.

And the radio was successful. A second generation radio was developed in 1997 aimed at Western consumers which would run for an hour on a thirty-second wind. We have one which we use in the garden. The range of products using the technology grew to include a torch – very useful in power cuts – a mobile phone charger and a MP3 player. Showered with honours – he was awarded an OBE in 1997 and CBE in 2015 and was so regularly in the media that he became Pipe Smoker of the Year in 1999 – Baylis saw very little of the financial benefits that flowed from his inventions.

In his latter years Baylis has devoted part of his time to lobbying the British Government to better protect the rights of inventors so that they do not suffer the same fate as him. As he said, “I was very foolish. I didn’t protect my product properly and allowed other people to take my product away. It is too easy to rip off other people’s ideas”.

Nonetheless, Trevor, for bringing the world the wind up radio and getting ripped off in the process, you are a worthy inductee into our Hall of Fame.

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If you enjoyed this, why not try Fifty Clever Bastards by Martin Fone which is now available on Amazon in Kindle format and paperback. For details follow the link https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=fifty+clever+bastards

Quacks Pretend To Cure Other Men’s Disorders But Rarely Find A Cure For Their Own – Part Forty One

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Ramey’s Medicator

The nose is a good indicator that perhaps your mens sana is not in an entirely corpore sano. Blocked, runny, congested – these are all signs that all is not well. Be that as it may, the nose has another attraction – it has two nostrils which allow access to your interior. Many of our medicines require us to inhale or apply drops but rarely recognise that we have two nostrils. Our latest purveyor of quackery, Alfred H Ramey, did though and his gloriously eccentric device enabled the patient to access all areas.

After sustaining devastating injuries which resulted in him losing a leg during the American Civil War, Ramey settled down to run a market stall selling medicines in Aurora, Illinois. Eventually, through hard work, he had a successful business. Why he decided to patent a do-it-yourself medical aid is unclear but on 3rd June 1890 he and his colleague, Frank D Rollins, filed a patent for their Medicator.

The design was fairly simple. There were three tubes – two which were inserted into the nostrils and one down the throat. An inner chamber contained wadding into which the medicine of choice – naturally, the Medicator came with its own Compound Inhalant – was poured. The vapours from the medicine would be blown up into the nostrils or down into the throat as required, clearing the head of catarrh and the lungs of phlegm. Four inches in size and nickel plated, with a hollow handle which allowed you to store the instructions and a cap for each tube, the Medicator came with four months’ worth of compound inhalant and a tin of nasal ointment, all for ten shillings. Postage was free. The 1905 version featured a moveable mouthpiece for greater comfort.

One of its key selling points was that it didn’t require any medical expertise to use and once you had bought it, it was always at hand. You didn’t even need to use Ramey’s compound inhalant. Despite these obvious attractions Ramey needed to advertise his product extensively and, as we have often observed with quacks, he was not shy in proclaiming its benefits. “cures catarrh, catarrhal deafness, headache, neuralgia, coughs, colds, bronchitis, asthma, hay fever and la grippe or your money refunded”, an advert dating to 1895 proclaimed. “By the aid of this Medicator you are able to force highly medicated air directly to the seat of the disease, reaching even the remotest parts of the head, throat and lungs, cleansing them all of impurities, restoring lost taste and smell and purifying the breath”.

The Inhaler…” it goes on, “is without doubt far superior” – no Carlsberg style probably here – “to any other remedy or device, as there is no irritating power or fluid applied to the diseased and inflamed membranes. On the contrary, nothing but pure and highly medicated air is used, which produces a soothing and cooling sensation to the parts affected, causing almost instant relief”. The advert does, however, attempt to dampen down expectations. “Please remember that chronic or deep seated catarrh cannot be cured in a day or a week but continued use .. according to directions..will effect a positive cure”.

So was it effective or was it just hot air? It is difficult to tell but suffice to say Ramey did nicely out of it being “able to afford material assistance to many of his friends” until his death in 1923. Probably the Medicator, once bought, was the sort of thing that was put in a cupboard and quietly forgotten about.