Why cough sweets are the perfect Brexit-proof investment

PUBLISHED: 06:25 08 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:22 08 February 2018

Atchoo!: Ladies and gentlemen... has this been you some time over the past few weeks?

Atchoo!: Ladies and gentlemen... has this been you some time over the past few weeks?


Have you had ‘it’ yet? There’s still time, says David Clayton.

As I sit here, dare I say, I have escaped the dreaded flu. I hope I’m not speaking too soon but as we’ve now just peered into February, there’s a feeling that we’re downhill now, towards the warmer weather. Hopefully the worst the winter can throw at us, health-wise, is over.

However, I’ve lost count of the number of people I know, or have encountered, who have got ‘it’. ‘It’ seems to have been here since October and is still laying us low. Just the other day I called to arrange some travel insurance and connected with a call centre somewhere in the UK to have the lady on the other end apologise for repeatedly muting the microphone of her phone headset to cough. I’m a broadcaster, I know about “cough buttons,” there to spare listeners from a newsreader’s bronchial outburst. “Sorry, I’ve had ‘it’ for weeks,” she apologised. Rather in the way strangers engage in small talk about the weather, we momentarily bonded over ‘it’. I sympathised and explained I had also had ‘it’ before Christmas.

Talking of before Christmas, I was in John Lewis (or Bonds as I still tend to refer to it – you know - the department store, just up Westlegate, past Purdy’s). My ‘it’ was in full flow, literally. My pockets were stuffed with tissues and cough sweets. I was bravely soldiering on. ‘It’ was making me feel wretched but hadn’t escalated into fully-fledged ‘Man Flu’.

In the process of buying a TV, the sales assistant spluttered a stifled cough, coughed loudly again and walked away to basically choke in private. She returned, red-faced from coughing, not embarrassment, so I sympathetically offered her one of my precious Jakeman’s (the strong black ones – they blow your socks off, to be honest). “Oh, you’ve saved my life!” she said. It was, after all, the season of goodwill.

Sorry for the graphic nature of this but I continued to blow an endless stream of gunk from my nose for weeks. I was amazed at my body’s ability to produce such a quantity and, in the process, caused my ears to whistle in protest. Had it not been so uncomfortable and unnerving, I was seriously thinking of turning it into a party-piece. If I started coughing I pretty much couldn’t stop. Fortunately, it all began to subside in time for Christmas.

Then my wife caught ‘it’ a couple of weeks ago and if I’m honest, much worse than me. A hacking cough, reminiscent of someone who’d spent a lifetime smoking untipped Woodbines, emanated from the bedroom into which she’d quarantined herself. I was despatched to stock up on paracetemol and cough sweets. As the checkout lady scanned two packets of Jakeman’s (other cough sweets are available) she proffered, wearily, “I’ve been sucking these for weeks. ‘It’s’ awful isn’t it?”

I’m all for throwing meagre national health funds at the annual flu scare. As we know, in its worst forms, it can be deadly but ‘it’ is clearly more widespread and costing us millions too. We’ve been persuaded not to struggle into our stretched GP surgeries for pointless antibiotics in favour of trying to treat ‘it’ ourselves by resting, staying warm and taking the ubiquitous paracetemol. From the people I know who’ve had to give in and seek professional medical advice, the message has been something like carry on with the above and come back in a couple of weeks if it hasn’t cleared up! Perhaps we’re guilty of expecting a quick cure for everything, but a couple of weeks more after you’ve already coped with it for a couple of weeks is depressing, to say the least.

If there really is widespread Brexit financial uncertainty put your savings into any business producing cough sweets or paracetemol. They’ll never be out of business!

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