Watch out sweaty socks (Jocks) your bagpipes may kill you. Leading piping organisations have issued a hygiene alert after a piper was hospitalised for four weeks having contracted a potentially fatal lung infection from his bagpipes. John Shone,77, had inhaled fungal spores which had colonised his bagpipes.
Shone, a former committee member of the Piobaireachd Society, was preparing to play at a special event in September when he fell ill during a fishing trip to Scotland. He was forced to return to his Wiltshire home.
His GP prescribed antibiotics but they did not work and he was admitted to hospital. Two days later, he was sent home, but a week later his health went downhill rapidly and he was readmitted to hospital. Sounds about right for the NHS.
As he lay in a critical condition, doctors couldn’t ‘suss out’ the cause of his illness and struggled in vain for more than a week to cure him using a variety of antibiotics.
It was only after a consultant questioned him about his hobbies that a possible cause was found.
Shone’s son was then asked to bring his father’s bagpipes into the hospital for tests. Pathologists there discovered a heavy growth of fungal cultures lurking inside, enabling doctors to prescribe an effective treatment.
Shone said he had just recovered from a previous illness, which he believes may have weakened his immune system before the spores entered his lungs. But he is anxious to ensure other pipers avoid a similar ordeal – highlighted in the Piping Times, bible of the bagpiping world.
Despite his month-long hospital stay, during which he lost a stone in weight, Shone, a former managing director of a food company, has taken up the pipes again, although he makes sure he cleans them regularly.
The College of Piping has now warned pipers to be aware of the dangers of not cleaning their bagpipes properly, particularly those that have modern synthetic bags, which do not demand the traditional maintenance treatments that help keep old-style bags, made from hide, clean.
Apparently traditional bagpipes are made of hide and need regular “seasoning” to seal pores in the skin. The substance used for this acts as a natural cleanser. Bags made from man-made materials are supposed to have reduced the need for such frequent upkeep.
Fraudster spotted on “How to Look Good Naked”
This made me laugh, a benefits cheat was caught out when he was spotted on Gok Wan’s show “How to Look Good Naked” supporting his “girlfriend” who he claimed was his landlady.
Delroy Gocul, 39, failed to notify the council that he had entered into a relationship with landlady Antionette Furlonge which meant he wasn’t entitled to claim benefits.
A housing benefits assessor from Walthamstow Forest council who was watching the programme spotted the fraudster, from Chingford Mount, accompanying Miss Furlonge.
Gocul conned the council out of £14,379 in housing and council tax benefit and £4,924 in job seekers allowance over from March 2010 to November 2011.
Gocul was sentenced at Thames Magistrates Court to a 12 month Community Order with 120 hours unpaid work and ordered to attend Skills for Life education training. The Council was awarded £250 towards costs.