The day for biopsy results came. It was mild and sunny in Perthshire so I carried my bike down the two flights of stairs and cycled uphill through the city to the hospital.
I'm now officially part of the gang. My sixtieth birthday was in the middle of August and although I stopped celebrating them years ago, I made an exception this year because it was time for me to become a Crone.
I just had an achy leg and yes I was breathing heavily. I put it down to being overweight and getting old.....wrong !
So you’ve come home with a basket full of berries, or roots, or fungi. What do you do with them? Unless you’re going to use them straight away (see ‘Making herb teas’), you’ll need to preserve them somehow.
I love Gerona Airport. It is small and perfectly formed with decent eating options, and direct flights from Glasgow, even if the last shuttle bus into the city centre sneaked away twenty minutes before the aforementioned flight from Glasgow landed.
‘At least you know you’re safe with herbs,’ patients sometimes say. But it’s not always true.
Image copyright Pukka Herbs
‘If it tastes bad it must be good for you.’ I never hear that from younger patients, but older ones remember being dosed with all sorts of unpleasant concoctions, back in the days before medicines came in capsules, or disguised with colours and flavourings.
Walking along the Thames from Hampton Court to Richmond yesterday, it was interesting to see what flourishes along the riverbank.
Foxgloves are everywhere just now, along hedgerows and field margins, on disturbed ground and wood banks.
Photo copyright Tina K Burton
A patient this week has been helping her grandson prepare for his domestic science GCSE exams. What has he got to cook on the day?
All the roses are in bloom now, from tiny tormentil to the full-blown hybrids in your garden.
BBC2’s Food Detectives - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07bk7fy - investigated the claim last week that eating chilli can help you lose weight.
It’s hayfever time again. You can have allergic reactions at any time of year, but grass and other pollens are definitely one of the most common things to set us off. Anything from itchy eyes and a runny nose to a full-blown asthma attack can result.
Photo copyright Twinings
You might think that one herb tea is very much like another, but you could be missing out on their potential to improve your wellbeing.
A friend walking along a high ridge. Photo copyright Cathie Hartigan
Walking on high ground, as I did this week, takes you back in time. There were sweet violets, newly sprouting nettles in the shelter of walls, brave low-growing dandelions and wind-sculpted hawthorn trees just coming into leaf.
Photo copyright D & S Books
The cool wet spring has given us a bumper crop of goosegrass this year. You might know it as cleavers, or sticky willie, from its habit of sticking to clothes or animal fur.
February was a bad time for me health-wise. I was already suffering from a tight chest and a virus that wouldn’t surrender; giving me the lung capacity of a punctured bicycle tyre.
Herbs are not much good at pain relief. That’s to say, really powerful analgesic herbs, like the Opium Poppy, are not legally available in the UK.
Magnolia, in its many forms from the low-growing stars of Magnolia stellata to the delicate goblets of Magnolia liliflora, is gracing our gardens right now.
Yes, I may have mentioned sugar once or twice before. No apologies for that; it’s taken centre stage in the last few years as the pantomime villain in the greathealth drama. Like the witch in Hansel and Gretel, it seduces you with sweetness, fattens you up and then, suddenly, you’re the one being devoured.
‘I’m a bit sceptical about this sort of stuff,’ said my new patient, leaning back in his chair. His wife had persuaded him to come, and it was obvious that winning points in the marital game was going to be far more powerful than anything the herbs could do.