Friday, 21 November 2008
By eck' luv y' smell gorgeous! Okay that isn't what the wife said to me when I returned home from work today, but she did comment on the rustic aroma lifting from the fibers of my big woolly jumper. No not manure or wood smoke, but Rosemary. My eager family flocked around me in the dim glow of the kitchen for a good sniff as a wintery burst of hail pebbled against the windows. It's at this time of year that we chop back the Rosemary hedges that we have planted around the college properties. Halving them in size by just under a metre using a pair of hand shears is vigorous work, and it kept me warm for most of the day in the cold wind. Every year when we do this job we manage to draw people in by their noses, screeching to a sudden halt on their bicycles or causing them to perform abrupt u turns on the pavement. Grabbing at the scattered trimmings on the ground and bundling them together, they ask if they may have some for the pot, eyes all a glimmer! Yes, yes and yes we say again and again. One year, after giving an old overgrown Rosemary a harsh prune, I trussed up the trimmings like a Christmas turkey before strapping them to my back. Wandering off into town to do a spot of Christmas shopping, I ended up in an art and crafts shop, Primavera, opposite Kings College. As I walked in I became aware of the customers stares and delighted comments as the shop filled with a heady vapor of fresh Rosemary. It wasn't long before the manager of the shop approached me and asked if he could have the Rosemary off my back for his Christmas window display, in return he would give me a nice hand made coffee cup. One early Christmas present checked off the list and I was back out on the streets of Cambridge shuffling along under strings of sparkling lights with a triumphant smile on my face. If you can't find any stray rustic gardeners with large bunches of fresh Rosemary about their person, then why not grow some, it makes a very nice hedge and it grows quite quickly. Or Neal's Yard have some nice products to put you in a rustic frame of mind.