Good medicine

I haven’t blogged for a few weeks. I’ve been struggling with hay fever compounded by post nasal drip (PND – self diagnosis via the internet but it makes sense) where excessive mucas accumulates in the throat and back of nose and wrecks havoc with your head. Right now it’s triggered sinus pain. It will pass.

International author/ healer Louise Hay propagates the idea that sickness originates in the head. By her reckoning I should think what do I need to get off my chest? Who’s getting up my nose? This is the affirmation she prescribes:

“I am one with all my life. No one has the power to irritate me unless I allow it. Peace, harmony. I deny any beliefs in calendars.” I’m not sure if I understand that last bit but I will ponder on it and repeat it in my head when I go on walks.

Yesterday on the way to a National Trust site in the Surrey Hills  – Leith Tower – we came upon The Medicine Garden. This was prophetic. A visit there has been on my mind for some time. It proved to be an effective placebo and I’d choose it over an antihistamine or a blast from a nasal spray any day. Once a Victorian walled kitchen garden now “a space of beauty, a place of ‘good medicine’, a place where the local community could come to be inspired, to relax, to take ‘good medicine’ home with them”. It includes a garden shop, a farm shop,  a gift shop, a cafe and a stretch of decking with canvas sail canopies.

photo (45)

photo (47)

photo (44)

Parked in the two acre lawn was a pretty vintage caravan called “ The little ray of sunshine”. I gathered that it’s not a permanent fixture but it is there to be enjoyed for the moment. Serving coffees, ice cream, cakes and dollops of feel-good nostalgia. I ordered an ice cream soda float for my two which they loved. I mentioned to the lady in the van that I wanted to introduce them to this favourite tipple from my teens. Her happy memories of floats from Wimpy’s inspired her to include them on the menu. As I went to pay, I was mesmerised by a cluster of custard nests sat on a pretty glass cake stand on the counter. Resistance was futile. Sheets of light filo pastry were fashioned into nests and filled with creme patisserie.  They tasted divine.  And she’s offered to share the recipe with me. How kind.

The visit to the medicine garden was just the tonic I needed.

photo (43)

photo (46)

photo (42)

The perils of travelling light

(This post was written for the Mark Warner and Kiddicare blogging challenge (# 1))

Having worked in the airlines for years I’m the queen of light travelling, my mantra in the past being ‘Have passport, will travel’. Everything else I could acquire on arrival. I knew the 37 ways to wear a sarong. My capsule wardrobe fitted in my pocket. With the onset of children that all needed to change.  Though as the ages creep up I’m reverting to type. Over the last few years we have shed bottles, pushchairs and nappies. I’ve still a way to go to get to Before Children(BC) packing.

Because I had been such a proponent of travelling light, it’s taken me some years to get the balance right. In those early days of being away with babies I’d taken washing powder and rinsed out our clothes just as I did when I was a back-packer. Today I look back on those holidays and think WHY.  I was making work for myself when I should have been having a well-earned break.

Our pictorial record of those vacations lacked sparkle as our outfits appeared worn and samey. On looking at my holiday snaps a pal remarked  “Oh my, didn’t you fit a lot into your day!”  In actual fact we hadn’t managed to squeeze in feeding the giraffes in Lyon before pedal-boating on Lake Annecy. The pictures were taken on different days but we were in the same clothes!

photo (38)

And what missed opportunities for stunning family portraits. We could have posed in our best attire against stunning backdrops. Instead in photos we look like a band of vagrants.

Now I keep the sarong for the beach. I can appreciate what a lovely treat it is to change into a favourite dress for dinner, one that may even show off my sun tan. I‘ve allowed myself my cleanser and moisturiser rather than making do with baby wipes. This expansion applies to the children’s wardrobe too where I pack their bags with fun in mind rather than survival.

I’ve found it helps to remind myself that I’m heading off on a family holiday and not an endurance challenge. Though I’ll be honest, there are moments away when the differentiation is not so obvious.


More top tips…

  1. Here’s something I’ve always done – light packing or not. I dress my kids in very loud colours so I can spot them in a crowd. Block stripes work well. I like purple and green and the fluorescent shades of pink, yellow and orange. Dressing the pair in matching tops makes tracking them easier too. The matching outfits is a trick I picked up from my mother (see holiday snap below).
  2. Just after my daughter mastered counting I started her on learning and reciting my mobile digits. They trip off her tongue now. I’m confident she’d know what to do if we became separated. My son, at 6, is less able so I write my name and number on a piece of paper and he slips it in his pocket.
  3. Another must for us on holidays is sending postcards home. When we sit down to eat at a bar or cafe I’ll whip the cards from my bag and encourage them to write about an experience or thrill they’ve had. They mail to family and a few school friends too. It’s so lovely (and rare) these days to be on the receiving end of snail mail.
  4. Recently I resurrected an activity from the family holidays of my youth. Dad would buy us charcoal pencils and sketch pads before positioning us by a mountain or stately home.  And for an hour or more we’d get lost in our drawing. Six perspectives on the same view. We’d sign and date our artwork. Some of the pictures were given as gifts, a few later ones ended up displayed in frames on our sitting room wall. Last September on a weekend break away my little artists made valiant attempts at the Durdle Door.


photo (41)

photo (40)

This post was written for the Mark Warner and Kiddicare blogging challenge (# 1)