Thursday, 10 January 2013

A Cure For the Common Cold? #2 The Man Flu Diaries

Outside in all weathers, the London Walks guides know a thing or two about battling the common cold.

Our brief series continues with Roger, Barry, Tom, Alan and Harry each adding their two penn'orth…

Any suggestions? As London Walkers how do you combat the common cold? We want to hear your remedies! Send ‘em in to the usual address.

Stand back, ladies. Here come the experts.

When discussing the condition known in some quarters as The Common Cold, we will first turn, quite naturally, to the male London Walks guides.

For it is a widely held fact that the common cold can be near fatal to the male of the species.

This scourge of masculinity goes by many names. Call it the common cold if you like. Or nasopharyngitis. Some call it rhinopharyngitis. Acute coryza, even. Call it what you will, this terrifying condition is known only by one name here at The D.C:

Man Flu. 

Wikipedia defines Man Flu thus:

“Man flu is a pejoratively used phrase that refers to the idea that men, when they have a cold, exaggerate and claim they have the flu.”

Huh. Obviously written by a harsh and hard-bitten woman.

Discussion of this affliction has quite rightly caught the imagination of the hardy chaps who lead London Walks. When asked for their opinions on cold remedies, like a mighty torrent they did rush forth (oops, hardly an appropriate metaphor given – sniff – the subject matter). Their response reflects both the seriousness of the condition and the generally cynical response with which it is met by the monstrous regiment of female London Walks guides.

So here they are, the poor dears, the men of London Walks and their cold remedies…

Canal guide Roger kicks us off with a simple, yet scientific approach:

The flu jab may be worth considering.

Quite so, Roger. (Check out the Canal Towpath schedule HERE.)

And it’s not at all surprising that Doctor Barry takes a similar approach:

As a medic I would follow evidence-based advice. NHS choices has a lot of good advice on flu jabs which I have every year It is about 70% effective and worthwhile as classic flu can knock you out for a minimum of two weeks  - see the NHS website here.

There is also a useful section on colds and flu HERE

Best Wishes and a viral free New Year !

Thanks, Doctor Barry. Impeccable bedside manner, there. (Why not consult Barry on his next Penicillin & Pox Walk? Click HERE for details.)

Tom has an equally scientific – if less practical – approach. Over to you, Tom:

Definitely get THE JAB. Then hibernate for the entire winter making strenuous efforts to avoid all human contact and if possible not breathing until Spring. Should work.

And maybe it does. Here’s Tom in action, on his Tower of London Walk. As you can plainly hear, his tubes are as clear as a bell.

Alan has obviously had quite a winter of it. Here’s his radical solution:

Boiling yourself in water kills all known germs!

So if there’s a stand-in guide on Alan’s Oscar Wilde walk this winter, at least you'll know he’s not suffering from Man Flu, and is merely dealing with the trifling matter of third degree burns.

The last word, for today, goes to East End expert Harry. Or Harry Wag, as we’re calling him here at The D.C, in parody of Harry Wragg, the old fashioned Cockney rhyming slang for cigarette: Harry Wragg = Fag. (Harry Wragg was a champion jockey of the mid-20th Century.)

Harry Wag, weighs in with this contribution:

Given the subject matter, I hope all your computers have anti-virus installed!!!

B-boom! I thank you.

Tomorrow we’ll see what some of the women who lead London Walks have to say about this debilitating condition. Until then, if you have any cold and flu remedies of your own – both scientific and folkloric – do drop us a line at the usual address or feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post.


Today’s Daily Constitutional Contributors (in order of appearance):


Roger has many years experience of the inland waterways and has explored them extensively by narrowboat (and canoe). He is an active member of the Inland Waterways Association, which works in partnership with us to provide the towpath walks in the London Walks programme.


Barry is our "Renaissance man". He's a Consultant Public Health Physician, an Art Historian, and a professionally qualified Blue Badge Guide.


Tom is a barrister, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Examiner for the Blue Badge Guides Course, travel writer and another creme de la creme professionally qualified Blue Badge Guide (he's the Chairman of the Guild of Guides Association). Follically challenged but motorcycling virile, his graceful wit, classic elegance of mind, infectious giggle, and gentle and generous heart make him the delight of all who know him.


Alan, the man with the green carnation, is ineffably "Wilde". A former croupier, he now rakes in choice nuggets on Oscar and the Naughty Nineties as the chief researcher and archivist of the Oscar Wilde Society.


Harry is a Cockney, a Scouser, a character - how could he be otherwise? - and a professionally qualified Blue Badge Guide.

A London Walk costs £9 – £7 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at


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