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thoughts & musings :: CCC

Wednesday, 17 March 2004

Fisherman's Friend

Whilst being laid up with a heavy cold (I haven't weighed it, but it's easily a 2 kilo effort), I have been musing over the various bits of artillery and the meaningful names we give to cold and flu fighting lozenges. The one that really sticks out has to be Fisherman's Friend.

According to their website, in 1865 James Lofthouse set up a pharmacy company making Menthol and eucalyptus lozenges for the local fishermen of Fleetwood, Lancashire. In the arctic conditions they sailed in, coughs, colds and bronchial complaints were a frequent occurrence, so James Lofthouse cashed in. Fine. But I don't personally frequent the North Sea in a rusty old trawler, so the name means nothing to me.

So this product is a fisherman's friend, does that mean it has beard conditioner built in? (Before you e-mail me with complaints about stereotyping the typical fishermen, bear in mind the fact that Lofthouse's own TV commercials have featured a range of characters straight out of Captain Pugwash) Or maybe it has a pinch of shark repellent? When I am scanning the shelves at Boots or Superdrug, does this product's claim of a fraternal bond with the local fishing community sway me to buy it?

Not really.

As a regular user of this product, what benefits can I expect now that I am a friend of a friend of the nearest cod crew? Will I get cheap boxes of fish left outside my door on market day? Maybe I will walk into a pub in deepest forgotten Cornwall and all the locals will turn to glare at me accusingly as the jukebox suddenly stops. After a few tense seconds, the barman calls out, "We'll have no trouble for this gent, we and he have a mutual friend." Realising that I have a friend who's in with the fishermen, they suddenly raise their glasses and smile at me with a newfound respect.

For all I know there may be responsibilities that come with this new place in the community. Will the cod fleet knock on my door at 3am if they're a man down and need to set sail?

Now I have nothing against my lozenges striking up a friendship with some of the friendly old chaps down at the docks - what they do in their own time is their business, but when I have a cold and need a fast, effective remedy, I need to know that the thing is going to soothe my symptoms rather than strike up a jolly sea shanty or talk about how it once saw a mermaid.

As I lay on my sick bed and take in the small lozenge, is my main concern the fact that this menthol candy is polite and considerate in the company of trawler crews? No. That's why I think the product should be called this: