Thursday, July 24, 2008


I love things that grow.

Does that make me a hobbit in the Tolkien sense? Perhaps.

I am always referring to my younger son, Vincenzo, as a hobbit for two reasons:

1. I think he has big feet

2. He has a curious and mischievous side that seems to me very hobbit like.

But I digress, yet again...

I love all things that grow and the whole concept of life developing and growing from very small seemingly insignificant origins is an endless source of fascination for me.

As a father of four, I am ill afforded the time to devote to a full size garden at home. Such will not always be the case, surely my children will abandon me sooner than I wish and then I'll have more time than I have occupation for. In the interim my one enterprise horticultural is an herb planter occupying my window here at my place of employment. Contained within said planter are 4 different herbs, chosen for their forgiveness of varying amounts of sunshine and less then consistent watering. Those choices are sage, rosemary, lavender and lemon-thyme.

I arrived at work this morning at my usual time and I commenced my usual morning ritual of checking e-mail and keeping tabs on the likes Tam, Deb, Christian and Ed. One does need to keep ones friends honest and at the same time guessing about your mental stability from time to time. In the midst of typing one of my cryptic posts to Tam's blog I noticed an aroma that overpowered my Starbuck's Ethiopian Sidamo blend. It was alluring to the extreme. I immediately glanced behind me thinking that Denise, one of my co-workers had snuck up on me, but she was no where to be found.

What is that lovely scent?

It then dawned on me that the aroma was originating from my window. Knowing intimately the scent of sage, rosemary and thyme, I knew immediately that this scent had to be none other than lavender. I had never smelled anything like this before. Surely, I had smelled bath products that ostensibly claimed to be lavender scented, but they were forgettable to the extent that I couldn't have rememberd even less so have told you what they smelled like ten minutes after sniffing them.

My current herb planter was gift from my wife who put it together for me with herb starters purchased from Annies in Sunderland. I have always been most partial to herbs with culinary uses: parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, basil, tarragon, various mints etc. My wife, always trying to surprise me added the lavender, which I took to be tarragon by visual inspection alone.

Lavender is, visually, an unremarkable plant, long thin leaves on leggy stems. However, when allowed to go to flower it produces a flower of the color that is the plants name! Fascinating the human predilection for naming things in this manner.

So impressed and taken was I with this scent I decided to look up lavender through google.

This little herb has been used for a very long time:

The ancient Greeks called the lavender herb nardus, after the Syrian city of Naarda. It was also commonly called nard

Lavender was one of the holy herbs used in the biblicle Temple to prepare the holy essence, and Nard is mentioned in the Song of Solomon.

nard and saffron,
calamus and cinnamon,
with every kind of incense tree,
with myrrh and aloes,
and all the finest spices

During Roman times, flowers were sold for 100 denarii per pound, which was about the same as a month's wages for a farm labourer, or fifty haircuts from the local barber. Lavender was commonly used in roman baths to scent the water, and it was thought to restore the skin. Its Latin name was lavandārius, from lavanda (things to be washed), from the verb lavāre (to wash).

I have always felt the best things in life are those that come naturally from the physical world. Experiences like this remind of that!

Does anybody else like to grow things?


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sometimes it's like finding treasure...

You decide to go through your "My Documents" folder and you stumble upon stuff you haven't seen in years...

...these are priceless now...and will only increase in value with every passing day...

Vin and his Mozart Cube

Sofia digs AC-DC
(she is her Papa's girl!)

Vincenzo learns to walk!

Vin and Sofia at Coggshall Park
I must change the world for them!