'WORD OF THE WEEK'
It's Lurgy and I love it. It could be on my mind having just been down with The Lurgy, or 'a bit of a dose' myself. The dose in question being a non-specific illness, could be anything from mild flu-like symptoms to full-blown gastric meltdown (refer to latter for rough idea of how my life has been for past week or so).
I first remember hearing the expression Dreaded Lurgy in Northern Ireland when I was but wee. The particular lilt and tone of the dialect made it sound more than a tad threatening (get an image in your head of Gerry Adams muttering 'Dreaded Lurgy' over & over again and you'll get my drift). Anyway, a rotund, florid and taciturn mon, whose job it was to stoke the boiler in the knitwear factory my Dad ran, loomed over me one Saturday morning (other kids played football - my brother & I went on spontaneous factory visits). He tousled my hair and asked how I was to which I replied that I'd been off school sick for a few days. Peering at me morosely he sighed and said, 'Aye wee fella, I can see right well ye've been down with the Dreaded Lurgy so I can.' The fact that I was a mere 7-year old at the time combined with the conviction of the big mon's delivery left me in no doubt I'd had a near death experience. That night the hideous vision of malign Lurgies surging through my bloodstream made sleep impossible. I can still see them now - vomit green, buck-toothed and poking at my red blood cells with their teeny-weeny little swords.
Imagine my total amazement when I found out that my heroes 'The Goons' (well, one of the writers anyway - most likely Spike Milligan) came up with the term back in the 1950's. In the original radio scripts it was spelled Lurgi. Indeed an entire episode was titled Lurgi Strikes Britain. Apparently a symptom was the uncontrollable urge to cry Yack-a-Boo!
County Donegal claims the only River Lurgy. Close by you can stay at Lurgy Vale Cottages.
Same time, same place, same day, next week - a different WORD...