So, here I am, catching a cold. Hardly surprising, with the snow of 5 hours yesterday. It didn’t settle, but on and off it snowed and snowed. Sometimes the fattest flakes, swirling and unconcerned, winding their way down. Watched from the house windows, these looked like an alien attack by stealth. Though very ineffectual. Then sleeting torrents of smaller flakes. See, if it settled, it would look like this pic I took about 2 weeks ago. Most impressive and atmospheric.
Took Fluffhead outside and he spent a while trying to catch snow in his little hands. Outside for hours. Got a picture of him looking truly confused that he couldn’t actually catch it, in that, even though he was also freezing, the snow melted as soon as it touched his hands. He stuck out his lower lip, frowned hugely and stared at his hands as thought they were at fault here. Funny. I spread out loads of seeds for the birds, bearing in mind the ground was frozen. I wanted to feel kindly and beneficent. I ended up feeling like a farmer. Which on the tiny and inaccurate scale I was working with, was fine. A farmer of suburban birds, helping them through a harsh winter with my sunflower seeds. That’ll do for now, for a thing to be.
Back indoors I wanted the house to smell nice, seasonal and useful. I cut up Braeburn apples and boiled them with a light covering of water, and several teaspoons of brown sugar, cinnamon and a sprinkle of fennel seeds. It smelled so wonderful, simmering away for an hour or so, that by the end of the day, Stanley was demanding apple crumble. I didn’t make it though. I wanted simply the smell, and some apple sauce to hand. Which is, by the way, oddly good for IBS. Its one of the only fruity things you can eat without becoming overly intimate with the toilet afterwards. So I ate some, felt virtuous, and then put the rest in the fridge. Thinking of my sniffles now.
To defeat the sniffles, I got herbal.
One enamel saucepan (important that – when boiling stuffs for herb remedies, metal saucepans don’t work so well, they are supposed to give off tiny metal impurities; so if you want to be all purist about the endeavour fetch yourself an enamel saucepan – from online, or from special cookware shop!). Then avail yourself of:
- 1 pint of water, preferably spring water, but by god, I used tap, as it’s too cold to go out to fetch anything else, don’t you think?, besides which, its nearly but not yet payday, and I walk that line of hardly any money; you are familiar with this, I am sure…
- 1 tsp whole cloves, heaped
- 1 tsp cinnamon bark, not heaped
Put cinnamon and cloves in water, bring to boil. Boil for 5 minutes with the lid on, then take off the heat. Add:
- 1 level tsp. ground ginger, OR, two 1” pieces root ginger, chopped small
And leave to infuse for half an hour. (While your house smells amazing and your nose runs yet more, as a result. Those cloves bite the nose.) Strain into 2 mugs (I’m presuming your partner or child also has the sniffles; if this not the case, then you lucky thing – you get 2 cups to yourself!). Then add, to each mug:
- 1-2 tsp honey, to taste
- ½ juice of a whole lemon.
If taken early enough, this can ward off a cold. You have to keep doing it though. Partly because it smells DIVINE when cooking (is there a better reason to cook anything?), and partly because this is a simple and gentle remedy…it’s not your industrial chemical headslap that most medicines are. Gentle and soothing, specially on your throat. I also found my head started clearing.
As I look outside, that unsatisfying snow is gone for now. I feel it should try harder and actually settle. Thereby giving (a) Fluffhead something decent to stomp about in, and (b) hopefully becoming a real problem and snowing us in, thereby rendering Stanley unable to go to work on Monday – he can then work from home. I can then torture him with more nice cooking smells, and he will be happy that he is here and not there. Everybody wins.
I can see blackbirds, a magpie family and a collection of fat woodpigeons rooting about for my seeds. So I get to feel useful and kindly for 2 days running. I shall put more out in a minute. And then get back to this strangely unfocussed, half asleep day I am having here…filled with a big to do list that I will get to in a minute...Yawn...