1 EAGLETON NOTES: This Is Not An Advert

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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

This Is Not An Advert

When I was a child there were two ointments in our house that I can recall with absolute clarity: Germolene and Zam-Buk.  There were also two anti-septics, in addition to iodine:  TCP and Dettol.

I have been an advocator and user of Germolene for as long as I have been a lover of Marmite ie for as long as I can remember.

Germolene and Zam-Buk both came in a tin and each had a very distinctive smell.

Zam-Buk seemed to disappear many years ago until about a decade ago I saw it advertised in our local pharmacy as a nostalgic product.  That it certainly was.  There is something wonderfully comforting about things from our childhood that we perceived to have been soothing and good for us.

I bought some but apart from opening the tin in order to savour its aroma I don't think I ever used it and it's no longer in my medicine kit. 

Then some years ago Germolene ointment was joined by Germolene cream.  It is a pale imitation  both in colour, substance and smell of the real thing and I have never developed a liking for it.

A few weeks ago I went into a pharmacy in Glasgow to get a tube of Germolene ointment.  There was none on the shelf and the assistant looked puzzled and said that she'd have to get some from the stock.  The pharmacist then intervened to say that there were production problems with the ointment and it wasn't available at the moment.  Disaster.  Finding Germolene ointment became a quest over the next few days.  Life without it is unthinkable.  Various pharmacies just said thy must be waiting for it to come in but one said that it was no longer in production because people didn't use ointment any more they preferred creams.  I don't!  Boots said it was still available on prescription.  So every time I saw a pharmacy I popped in and eventually found a few odd tubes left on shelves.  I'm ok for a year or three.

Then I was back on Lewis and in Stornoway the shelf of a local pharmacy was full of the ointment.  Had there been a problem?  Apparently not and on looking up the computer it's still available for ordering.  So I'm a happy bunny again.  It's the most useful product I know of.  Whatever external part of the body has a problem Germolene Ointment will solve it.  Believe me!
 

24 comments:

  1. Graham, when I was a nipper that iodine bottle was worse than the injury. We also used to get painted with Gentian Violet. Looked like wee druids we did.
    I use Savlon, I'm half grown up now. Germoline smells horrid.
    You take me back to my youth. Were you sent to that den of iniquity known as the barbers. They used to have Parade to read whilst one was waiting for a hair cut and slap us if we took a look, they had a shelf full of condoms. If they nicked your head with the knackered clippers they used to use a Septic Pencil.
    What where my parents thinking?...A pity I didn't think to ask them before they died.

    It seemed normal then.

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    1. Next you'll be telling me you don't like Marmite. Germolene has a wonderful smell. I don't remember Parade and it sounds as if I would have done if I'd seen it. Wasn't it a styptic pencil? I think the blood might rebel at a septic pencil. When I was a teenager my barber spent more time doing his league table ladders for the two Liverpool clubs and mending umbrellas. He also used to sharpen my cutthroat razors for me.

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    2. Mine rebelled against the Septic Pencil. I got a wart on the nether regions of my head and was painted blue again....The things I was subject to; it is a miracle I'm normal.
      Of course the proper wurd is Styptic. You is spot on and better than spill chucker.

      I love Marmite. The Extra Old tastes just the same as original to me so I don't buy it any moor (Graham: I suspect I've used the wrong more). It also tastes naff out of those squeezy plastic things. I did try Vegemite. That is definitely virgins water compared to my first slice of toast with butter and proper Marmite.

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    3. Don't even mention Vegemite Adrian. I agree with your assessment of the extra old except that it's a bit thicker. I wish they wouldn't mess with the proper thing.

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  2. Germolene is used by me too, especially on our visitors during the festival due to horse flies.

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    1. Excellent for horse fly bites Carloe, I agree. Good to share a few glasses of the red stuff this evening.

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  3. Germolene is used by me too, especially on our visitors during the festival due to horse flies.

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    1. Carleo, rub your visitors with VIC. Horse Flies hate it. It will make them a bit snotty but anything is better than a Cleg bite.

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  4. I remember having cuts and scrapes treated with Bate's Salve which also seems to have vanished. For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, it came as a black stick which you melted (a bit like wax for sealing letters) and dripped onto the pad of a plaster. No idea what was in it or what it was supposed to help with.

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    1. Never heard of Bate's Salve Mark. Sounds old and horrendous but must be a modern invention if it was around when you were a nipper.

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    2. It was something that I believe my Dad had grown up using (I'll have to ask him) so assumed it was much older than me, but maybe it wasn't a widely or commonly used thing.

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  5. Oh! This post brought a nostalgic smile, mixed with a few tears, to my face, Graham. You know that my late husband was a Yorkshire lad, and having moved from his village near Barnsley to my hometown had not changed that. One day, shortly before we moved to the flat where I live now, I accidentally broke a glass photo frame and nearly cut my left index finger off. It did not so much hurt as shock me because of the enormous amount of blood that came out of the deep cut. Steve, in his most tender manner, made me rest on the settee (he really wanted me to see a doctor and get it stitched up, but I stubbornly refused), and asked "Shall I get you a cup of tea, love?"
    That, together with soaking the cut in a Dettol solution and then applying Germolene to the wound, made me tons better. We bandaged the finger, and I did my best to ignore the throbbing in the hand that got stronger every time I let my hand go lower than chest-high.
    The next day, I took off the bandage and nearly fainted at the sight of the cut; good job I was already on the settee then! Once again, a bath in Dettol and a new layer of Germolene... repeat that for several weeks, and my finger was as good as new. Well, not quite. There is a scar now, but I never lost the full range of motion for that finger, and looking at the scar will always remind me of Steve's typical British way of dealing with my small accident.

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    1. Oh my gosh Meike. You were so lucky (you should have gone and had it stitched you know) to have had such care. I'm glad that it got better and with the help of Dettol and Germolene and TLC (which is tender loving care for those who don't know).

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  6. Never seen or heard of any of those two ointments here. I can still relate to the feeling though (wanting the stuff that one is used to and that has proved good in the past). Just a little bit off the mark, this post also reminded me of my maternal grandfather. He believed in putting butter on wounds... (A tradition I have NOT taken up.)

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    1. I've heard of putting honey on wounds Monica but never butter.

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  7. I haven't seen germolene for years - but there is something that smells like it and it takes me back to childhood in a flash.

    Found this on google -
    Methyl salicylate, or wintergreen oil, is used in Germolene, Listerine and root beer (and possibly Euthymol toothpaste, but I can't find a list of ingredients)

    And TCP!!! owwwwww. Mum always put it on our cuts and pimples and made us gargle with it. its Phenol - probably toxic - but the pain really made you feel it was doing something - probably burning the skin more!

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    1. I tried to buy Germolene in NZ Fiona but to no avail. When I sliced my hand I rang FWKTM (who is a nurse and a Fiona too) who came to sort me out. As she was about to pour TCP onto the wound I started commenting on the gannets diving in the bay which I could see from the kitchen window. On being admonished for distracting her I said, in my defence, that I was actually trying to distract myself. After all, as you said TCP is owwwwwwww!

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  8. This post takes me back....way back to childhood falls and cuts and scrapes.
    MY mum being a nurse always had all sorts of stuff on hand for whatever tumbles my brother and I, or the neighbourhood kids encountered.
    We still get Dettol and TCP here. These days I use Hydrogen peroxide for cleaning cuts.
    Boy do I remember the days of gentian violet on my mosquito bites. We still get gentian violet here too.
    As for Germolene and Zam-Buk, I have never heard of them, but I would be willing to try them.
    I keep a BNT antibiotic ointment on hand, as it comes in quite handy. Ointments are far better than creams.

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  9. May 2014 Just been told Germolene OIntment has been discontinued; something to do with some stupid EU ruling. I can't cope without that pink ointment. I use it for a chronic condition. Does anyone know anywhere that still has old stock?

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  10. Just been told Germolene Ointment (not the awful cream) has been discontinued. HELP. Anyone know of any old stock anywhere?

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    1. Diana I've been out of the country most of the time since I wrote that post but I will have a look at my source next time I'm in town. If I have any success I'll let you know.

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    2. Diana I've been to our local pharmacy that had a stock but it's all gone now.

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  11. I have used pink Germolene ointment since I was a child. I have bad skin on my face that flares up and the only thing that keeps it at bay is germolene. over the years I have tried everything and nothing works. I am 50 now and I have used it on a daily basis every single day. If I miss a day I get blotchy and itchy on my face. I have a 5 year old daughter and a 3 year old son and they both have had a dab of Germolene on a cut or a graze and they both ask for the pink magic. It even gets splinters out by placing a dab of Germolene on it, cover with a plaster and voila after a day or night it has drawn the splinter up so you can get at it.............I remember my mother showing me that one. It has always been like this. Now I discover that I cant find it anywhere. So so gutted. It really is a miracle cure all :(

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    1. I was told by an assistant in one pharmacy that she thought it was still available on prescription: worth a try perhaps.

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