Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird

12/23 Two Errands

25 December 2011

Friday is my last real day in Liverpool, and I decided to go back to explore the pedestrian area. I have two goals in mind: I want to hit a local health food store and lay in some supplies of gluten-free items in case I need them for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Venice — when my dining options will be limited. I don’t want to starve, after all.
I find the health food store first, and they do not disappoint. I note Linda McCartney’s veg dinners in a freezer case. They also have some more familiar brands, including Ann’s, but all are vegetarian, which isn’t what I want for dinner — the more walking I do, the more the body craves red meat.
I ask for directions to Boots, which turns out to be around the corner. Both places are within a half a block of where I felt so lost the day before. Naturally.
Boots is a drug store, much like the US concept, but there’s a quirk of UK law: codeine is sold over the counter in drug stores that have a chemist (not all do, but most of the larger ones do). Frankly, this is one of the reasons I tend to route to Europe through the UK: even Heathrow has Boots with chemists, as do many tube stops. While I took codeine for years, I’ve been off it for a while, but all the walking is beginning to wear me down, and I need some help for bridges in Venice.
UK Codeine comes in two formulations: with acetominophen (paracetamol) or with ibuprofen. The latter is far more useful to me. I might as well wave a chicken feather for all tylenol helps me, and the ibuprofen formula causes less gastrointestinal irritation than the aspirin formulations available over the counter in Canada and Australia or by prescription in the US.
The process is less painful than buying pseudoephedrine back in the US: no ID is required. The assistant asks me if I want the small box or the large one. I pick the large one, of course. £7, such a deal.
I should also add that the pills are not as strong as what’s typically prescribed in the US. A Tylenol 3, typical prescription strength, will have 30mg of codeine. OTC doses in Australia and Canada are Tylenol 1 strength, 8mg. In the UK, it’s 12mg, so 50% more kick. It’s a nice dose, one where even half a pill can be enough.
I almost walk all the way back to my hotel before I consider the issue of dinner. Out of sheer laziness, I go back to the Pumphouse and sit at my same table, #13. One of the servers jokes that they’re going to have to put my name on a plaque on that table.

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