Not So Gloomy!
THINGS Took pretty bad, don't they One hears it on all sides. If it isn't one thing it's another. And everybody hit except the people who ought to be ... etc., etc.
I remember feeling just the same, years before the war, when I was working in the East End of .London, hearing day after day of literally nothing but drunkenness and misery and every kind of beastliness. Then, one afternoon, going into one of those awful alleyways that used to lead down to the river, I saw, high up, outside a window that looked as if the sunlight never came near to it, three scarlet geraniums in a bright green window box .. . and I felt thoroughly ashamed of myself for daring to get depressed when somebody was flaunting such brave courage in that dreary place. No, I thought, things weren't really so gloomy . . . And red geraniums to this day remind me of that alley into which my Guardian Angel had quietly pushed me.
Why Not Herbs?
WELL, that bit of personal experience was realty leading up to the suggestion that flat-dwellers or people without gardens would be well advised to start a few herb window-boxes-say chives and thyme and mint outside the kitchen window; parsley (which takes up more room but is very decorative) edging the sitting-room sill; and a few baby lettuces to cheer up the bedrooms.
If you have difficulty in getting (or making) window boxes because of the present shortage of wood, try growing your small herbs in plant pots, in finely sifted soil with a few cinders at the bottom for ventilation and drainage, and keep them as far as possible in the same places on sunny window-sills, And you can always grow enough cress for tea sandwiches in a soup plate, on any loosely woven material kept damp with water poured underneath, never over the sprouting cress. A friend of mind used to send packets of cress seeds instead of Christmas cards; one packet is enough for several " growings." And now is the time to get your seeds. e Bring Auntie Flo', THE District Nurse got home after a busy round, tired and cold and longing far a cup of tea. Before taking off her things she opened the wooden box outside her cottage door to see if any messages bad been left. There was just one. Unfolding the slip of paper sho -read: "Please come at once and bring Auntie Flo." It was signed with a name she knew. The Blanks lived at the other end of the village and the mother had been ailing for some time. But who was Auntie Flo and how on earth was she to get hold of her ? Well, she'd better go and find oat. So off she set again, armed with her First Aid case. It was well stocked-fortunately-for Mrs_ Blank had pleurisy and the doctor had ordered Antiphlogistin (This is a true story !)
Baby Unpicks Chair!
HERE is a useful hint front an ingenious reader: " The edge of my fireside chair was thin and the baby made it worse by picking out the threads. The upholsterers wanted the material supplied and that could not be obtained. So I took the back off the back, and that was sufficient to tuck a little in the back of the seat, bring it forward across the seat and down the front and tack up underneath. I sewed it down each side, after slipping a piece of wadding in to take up the slight sag. The back material was replaced with a piece of black-out."
Recipe Too Simple
ANOTHER reader writes reprovingly of the Snail Water Recipe quoted recently. It was, she says, much too simple, for according to " The Housekeepers' Pocket Book of 1751 " (in her family since that date) the brew should also contain such ingredients as horehound, coltsfoot, balm and maidenhair all boiled in milk with a peck of snails "first bruised." I wish I had room to quote the whole terrifying recipe, She says that "another tasty one includes earth worms well washed "; and that there is a nice short one for headache: " Stamp some ivy and then let the patient sniff it up the nostril."
Well, if Mrs. D. of Ealing cares to enliven us with any more (short) quotations from her Housekeepers' Pocket Book we shall, I am sure, be grateful. They may even make us feel glad to be living in 1948.
This Week's Vitamins
KEEP on with brussels sprouts. They are still on the market, but they'll be gone all too soon now. And they are a valuable source of Vitamin C. Good for the children's teeth; helps to promote resistance to infection; essential for people suffering from blood pressure and for those with a tendency to arthritis. But be careful not to overcook them. They are really best eaten raw, finely shredded.
Parsnips go well with sprouts and they give you Vitamin Bl-good for your digestion and for toning up appetite.