Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Granny the herbalist.

My grandmother was a massive influence on my life. During the war I lived with her and my grandad and was reluctant to return home when at seven the war was drawing to a close. The Jesuits had it right. Give us a soul for its first seven years and we will have it for life!

My Grandma taught me so much, almost incidentally, never in a pupil teachery way. I just absorbed wisdom from her like osmosis. My grandad was there but he was out all day working so most of the time it was just me and Grandma!

We went out gathering in the fields on good days. She made me a special pinny with lots of pockets and into them I would put seeds and roots, so under her direction I picked up herbalism with no pain at all.

"Everything has a purpose Jean" she would say " Even nettles. " I used to get stung regularly on these occasions..., "Everything is useful for something or God wouldn't have given it to us!"

Her philosophy was simple. God was there. No arguments. He just was.

She invented her own medicine by steeping herbs in water and then using the water for foot and hand baths. In the days before the NHS Grannies remedies were much sought after!

In medieval times I'm afraid she would have been burnt as a witch but she wasn't. Every Sunday she and Grandad took me to the local Welsh Baptists. They were God fearing in all the right senses of the word.

I owe much to my Grandma and acknowledge that debt almost daily as I go out down the lanes gathering...

Another thing she taught me was how to read palms. That will have to wait for another damp day!


  1. More in common Jean.
    My grandmother and mother both knew many hedgerow remedies for itching, cooling the blood, headache relief, stings bee, wasp and nettle and I learnt early in life that for every ailment there was a corresponding remedy.
    Oh if only all of life's ills were so easily solved.
    By the way they also were Welsh.

  2. Ray, somewhere in the deep distant past we must have ancesters in common! The coincidences just keep mounting...except granny told me there was no such thing as coincidence!