A few years ago I read a book about medieval herbalism and, as I am wont to do, afterwards decided to make it a part of my life. I could be a herbalist! So I sent off for a load of seeds from a specialist shop and when they came, rather than sticking them in a drawer like I usually do, I scattered them all over the garden. All kinds of different seeds. Over the years various plants have come and gone but one seems to thrive but I don’t know what it is. It’s either Crimson Parsley, Herb Robert or Feverfew. Or a mixture of all three. The problem I have now is that, whereas Parsley is good for cooking, and Herb Robert is OK, Feverfew is, I think, poisonous. This is complicated further by the fact that there is no such thing as Crimson Parsley.
I’ve got be honest. I would be a really shit herbalist.
Looking south east, through the slats in the blind, I can see four policemen with black padded waistcoats – the kind of thing their mums would have put together if they’d starred as Mr Bumble in a school production of Oliver! – standing around outside a house. The occupant, a loud-voiced alcoholic lady of no fixed age, has wandered off in the direction of Blackstock Road. I go back to my work and rely on the keen eye of my wife, who sits by the window and keeps me updated on events.
An hour or so later there is a massive boom and the walls and windows shake. A Pickfords (“The Careful Movers”) removal lorry has driven fast over the traffic calming ramps outside our house and sped off in the direction of Stoke Newington, smashing into the tarmac every fifty yards or so. This is the kind of noise that has sent an old bloke at the end of the road into such a rage that he has recently threatened to start supporting the BNP. When I asked what drove him to this he spat out a torrent of ideas based around housewives having too much time on their hands.
It’s a cold/hot/cold/cold/hot weather day. We’re all waiting for more rain. The slugs will be out to feast on the shoots in my herb garden, but tonight I’ll be ready for them with some handily placed trays of Budwar beer. Two bottles for me, one for the slugs.