Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cockroach in Ear

Last night I stayed up past midnight watching England give India a good hammering in the cricket. All of a sudden my wife came out of the bedroom, bent over double, screaming, and generally freaking out. Turns out a cockroach has crawled into her ear. Not unreasonably she asks me to extract it. Cue a search for some tweezers. They are eventually found, but it is no use. The beastie has obviously crawled deep into her ear as it is not to be found. More freaking out suggests that it is still alive and scuttling though. A few more probes with the tweezers only succeed in retrieving a tiny bit of shell.

After giving up on the tweezers I fallback to the trusty internet. Googling for 'insect ear' brings up some useful links. They suggest not poking things in the ear. Ooops. They do suggest turning the affected ear upwards. San is reluctant to do this, and it seems to lead to an increase in insect activity. Next suggestion is to pour oil in the ear. Two search results suggest the same thing - that's as good as medical fact in my book. The first oil I find in the kitchen is mustard oil - probably bad. More searching reveals some corn oil. I tip some in. The cockroach doesn't bob to the top, but on the plus side it appears to have drowned. No scuttling means no more freaking out.

It's half past midnight by now and we need to find a professional to remove the carcass. Our daughter is asleep so we don't want to wake her. Fortunately we live in an apartment block with 24 hour watchmen, and one of them agrees to babysit whilst we head for the hospital. A medical drama is the perfect excuse for driving as recklessly as my 800cc car allows. The roads are empty, apart from the sleeping dogs, and the car is slow so it is safe enough. We park outside the gates and walk in to reception. They're all watching the cricket too, although with India 40/4 I suspect they're not too happy with the way things are going. A doctor is more than happy to leave the game and take a look in San's ear. He manages to extract some small pieces of insect, but is unable to retrieve the main body. This makes me feel better about my failed attempts. The ENT specialist is called from his home, and says he will be round in 15 minutes. Meanwhile a crowd of doctors, asssistants and nurses has formed - they're loving it. True to his word the ENT guy arrives at the promised time and invites us into his surgery. There's obviously a knack to extracting things from ears, as he pulls out the obstruction with one attempt. The doctors crowd round to take a look at the expired culprit. For some reason San doesn't want to join them.

A few swabs of iodine later we return to reception and settle up the bill. 400 Rupees, that's £5 or $10. The staff thank us for livening up their night, and we return home some time after 1am. San stuffed her ears with cotton wool before going back to sleep.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Island Holiday

San (The Wife) is missing my blog entries, even though she knows what I'm up to. So, here's an update. I spent most of July in a small village on an oceanic island. Sounds a bit more glamorous than 'I was back in the UK for three weeks'. However, we do forget that there are some pretty places on our island. I mailed a link to some pictures of Cadgwith and Kynance to my Indian colleagues and some of them were mightily impressed. 'Only seen places like that in the movies!'.

I had a good time back in familiar territory. I even had a quick trip up to Brum, and popped into the head office. I took advantage of the trip to the metropolis and bought a shiny new 17" MacBook Pro with pretty much all the trimmings. Since I live outside the EU I can claim back the VAT; a decent saving. It got some approving comments from colleagues in in Birmingham, and predictable derison from the Philistines ;). The rest of the Birmingham adventure was spent in the pleasant enough Ibis Hotel on a roundabout by the inner ring-road. Not as bad as it sounds: the room was fine, and suffering from 20 months of wine withdrawal, I splashed out and bought a bottle of 1989 Chateau Musar. Rather better than the pints of Carling offered in the bar below. The salesman in Selfridges asked if I'd had it before. Yes. He replied that it was magnificent stuff, and then we got into the normal conversation about how it is miraculous that they produce anything at all considering the location.

Enough on living the high-life in the second city; back to the Southwest on Virgin's much maligned trains. I thought the trains were great, especially the power points for plugging laptops into. I was happily watching Life on Mars on the way back. I'd heard that Life on Mars was a good TV series. In fact I'd heard enough to buy the box sets of both series. It is brilliant. I don't think I've seen a two series TV show where every episode hits the mark since Fawlty Towers. It's that good.

My Dad and one of his friends have/will celebrate their 60th birthdays this year. As part of the celebrations they held a party on the Cornish cliff-tops. A more than good time was had by all. The situation, on the cliffs above the village, was fantastic. Added to that was a top band and some good local beer on tap. Can't go wrong. To top it all there was an amazing sunset - it looked like the sky was on fire.

The one downside to the holiday was that the airline KLM/NWA managed to lose my hold luggage on the way out. This meant that I arrived in clothes that I had been wearing for 24 hours with nothing to change into. A phone call to KLM got me €100 which was promptly spent on Tesco's finest attire. I was awarded a further €200 after the luggage failed to materialise days later. Weeks have passed and there is still no sign of it. More €€€ to claim...

On a more positive note I got a ride in my Dad's 60th birthday present to himself - a Porsche Cayman S. It's a bit nippy. It could haul round some fairly tight bends at quite a lick with a very unreasonable lack of drama. Overtaking was proved not to be an issue after a few demonstrations. The most impressive thing about the car is how calm and quiet it is when cruising; yet when you let rip it sounds like hellish furies have been unleashed. My Maruti 800 feels inadequate.

ATTENTION SAN (or anyone else whose been on the Moon for the last few months) - Life on Mars spoilers follow. Don't read the last paragraph until you've watched it.

And then back to India - this time my luggage made it. By now I had compulsively watched every episode of Life on Mars. Returning back to India I was reminded of the last episode. Sam had returned to the real world, but jumped off the roof to return to 'Mars'. I know why he did it.