Purely as a lesson in optimism, brave little Periwinkle, I am willing to leave you be; all you need is a sheltered wall to warm your leaves and support your tendrils, and out pops a pretty blue flower to justify your existence. Gardeners don’t usually welcome you, your habit of throwing out runners left, right and centre, aiming at total domination of large tracts of garden soil cause us to confine you to wild areas where nothing else will grow, where you can fight for survival with ivy, dead nettle, bugle and sweet woodruff.
Aren’t these common names delightful? Names which have been bestowed on the plants by country people, wise women and herbalists; names which instantly conjure up an image, or tell you the purpose of a plant.
The Almanac says “Guard your Health and allay Disorders caused by New Year Celebrations.” Good advice which I didn’t heed. Beloved brought a cold home from a party and, although I avoided him as much as possible, he insisted on sharing it with me.
Fly Physic, Sloth and Venery,
Avoid all Baths most carefully.
Avoiding all Physic and Venery didn’t help; Sloth was forced upon me by the soreness of throat and chest. Baths were a necessary evil, but even they have been kept to a minimum recently.
John Hollybush, The Homish Apothecary of 1561 says,
“Many there are whom the head whirleth so sore, that he thinketh the earth turneth upside down. The same also has pain in the eye, and he weeneth that a sort of flies do fly before his eyes. Those may be healed in this wise: they may drink no strong drinks nor wine, without it be very well allayed with much water.”
Yes, he describes the symptoms admirably, but I don’t like his cure. I think I shall stick with wine and drink the water separately.