by Reg Dixon
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Episode 23 - "Godfrey's Cordial Part 2" (May 18th 1998 4.50pm)
Anne Worthington continued with her practice in front of her one man audience, Yaxley Farcett (DI).......
'Because of the remote location of many farms and houses, coupled with the high cost of mainstream medicine, Fenmen still relied on their 'simples' or home cures to find relief from Fen ailments such as the ague, Rheumatism and depression brought on by poverty. As well as the uses I've already described, opium was also used to sedate animals, ease toothache, diarrhoea, hangovers, headaches and in the case of the men as a chaser with beer, taken in the form of a pill.
With many Fen women working on the land, another use of opium was to keep their children in a semi comatose state, so that they could get on with their work.....' Anne Worthington looked over her glasses at Yaxley. ' That's what I was telling you about. Old Millie used to 'see to' the kids'. She returned to her notes and continued......'Children were left at home with older sisters or placed by the side of the field after having been given a dose of Godfrey's Cordial to 'keep them quiet' for the day. Many children also became addicted during infancy when they were given 'Mrs.Winslow's Soothing Syrup' as a treatment for teething pains.
By the late 1800's some Fenland families were spending up to a shilling a week on opium and suicide became relatively commonplace by people who could no longer finance their habit. It would appear that the problems of this addiction were unheard of outside the area and were actually condoned by doctors who worked here as they saw it as just a variation on the urban tendency to alcoholism for virtually the same reasons; poverty, ill health and depression. And, as alcohol tends to have a more violent reaction, so opium kept the Feman in a semi permanent state of docility and contentment.
By the time of the first world war, the practice of Opium taking had all but ended. Better living conditions and a Royal Commission on the Opium Trade in 1893 had all but put paid to this dubious method of 'self-medication'. Many see it now, in retrospect, as just the 19th century equivalent of today's tranquilizers and anti-biotics, but there can be no doubt there was something more sinister underpinning the whole activity of Opium Abuse. So, in conclusion, when your child has had a Drugs Awareness Session at school and you're feeling slightly bewildered by it all, just remember what I said at the start of my talk.......There aint nothing new under the sun !!!!'
Yaxley Farcett clapped and smiled at Anne Worthington, who was beaming as she realised that she had genuinely held the young Detectives attention for the past fifteen minutes or so. 'Wonderful" said Yaxley. 'I'll definitely come to see you give your talk in anger. When is it ?' Anne smiled shyly and said " On May 30th. At the Village Hall'. Yaxley stood up and extended a hand towards the amateur Historian, 'Thank you for the History lesson and thanks for your help. If I need anything else, I'll get in touch. Mr.Dixon has been dead now for nine hours and I'm no further forward. Although I've a far better understanding of you Fen Tigers !" Yaxley Farcett left Mrs.Worthington with her books, tapes and memories and went back downstairs to the kitchen. His new partner Brian, was still sitting at the table talking to his brother and nephew. He could hear Daisy, making loud 'putting things away' noises in the pantry. Yaxley looked across at Brian, 'You hungry Bunter ?' Brian nodded. 'C'mon then. Let's go over to 'Like Chips In the Night" for a BrunchFest Special'. Brain leapt out of his chair and a minute later they were speeding back along Cauliflower Drove in the direction of Ealham...........
The prologue - Episode One - Episode 2 - Episode 3 - Episode 4 - Episode 5 - Episode 6 - Episode 7 - Episode 8 - Episode 9 - Episode 10 - Episode 11- Episode 12 - Episode 13 - Episode 14 - Episode 15 - Episode 16 - Episode 17 - Episode 18 - Episode 19 - Episode 20 - Episode 21 - Episode 22 - Episode 24 - Cast List - 'Did you see the wrist watch in Ben Hur' ?- The Colly Continuity Page.
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Who Dunnit? Your suggestions Please.
DG says "I did you this time!!!!!!! Shame I hadn't pushed you harder in 1966!!!!!! Shame Nursy Broadhead saved you?????????????????" - after he sent this message they locked him up again!
MG says "I reckon it were suicide. You see, Reg was quite obviously a bit iron hoof or POOF as we call 'em, and in them there days, well it wer'nt propper wus it?
James Brown says "I suspect a fallen pitchfork from one of the overhead helicopters ferrying a local farmer to the office of KLFM for one of their match reports on a Lynn home game."
World Leader reckons "I think that Monica woman did it. Damn girl never could keep her mouth shut. And she was always letting things drop". Yours World Leader