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Posts from June 2020

There are some words which are guaranteed to cause a collective intake of breath, in preparation for whatever may be coming next. Sadly, it seems this is often down to their moralist or religious overtones. The hint of impossibly high standards we could never possibly hope to reach… 
 
We’ve talked about some of them before. Forgiveness. Goodness, that’s a big one. Responsibility. Not much better and can be equally scary. Acceptance. Another biggie. And we’d better stop there… 
 
However, what we find particularly interesting, is that the meaning commonly attributed to the particular word is usually very different – or unnecessarily selective or narrow – from its dictionary definition. 
 
So, this week, we’re going to put another one of those words under the spotlight. Dig out the dictionary, see what it really means. And, more importantly, whether this tallies with our own particular understanding. 
 
Ready? Then here we go. 
With many people spending much more time outside than usual – whether in their gardens or out walking – we’ve noticed how many of them are appreciating things they would never normally notice. Or, more accurately, never have time to notice as they rush around in their busy lives… 
 
Having waxed lyrical about the delights of Elderflowers a couple of weeks ago – and been heartened by the number of people who actually make Elderflower cordial – we thought we’d focus on another seasonal delight today. And, this time, no potentially messy cooking is involved. Hurrah, by those who normally do the clearing up! 
 
It’s another sign that Summer really is here, with even the least horticulturally inclined person being able to easily identify it. Lavender. 
It’s one of life’s mysteries that, for some inexplicable reason, the simple things seem to give us the most pleasure. Often much more than their long awaited – and more expensive (!) – counterparts. 
 
Anyone who’s watched a small child unwrapping their Christmas or Birthday presents, has encountered this first hand. With the box – or wrapping paper (!) – holding their attention for much longer than the contents. Is so much more interesting and attractive. Gives greater pleasure and is played with for a much longer period of time. The contents quickly forgotten and pushed to one side… 
 
Why is it that simple pleasures seem to be so much better? 
Early Summer is the time of the Elderflower, those lovely frothy white flowers that festoon the hedges in late May and early June. A welcome sign that Summer has arrived, along with Swallows, House Martins and Swifts; making it hard not to wax lyrical about them! 
 
As an established part of the English countryside, Elderflowers mark the turning of the farming year, from late Spring into early Summer. They also play an important part in Celtic folklore, associated with the Flower Bride. And making it easy to see where the inspiration for all those traditional white frothy bridal dresses and bouquets came from… 
 
These days, Elderflower is usually thought of for its culinary uses. Elderflower cordial – more about this later (!) – or, for the more adventurous, Elderflower Champagne. Perhaps sprinkled over summer fruits, such as gooseberries or raspberries, or added to smoothies. 
 
However, Elderflower also has many herbal and health giving qualities, making it a valued medicinal herb. 
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