Yes, it’s that time of year again. Though of course, people are less likely to need aphrodisiacs in spring, when the sap is rising and – as the joke goes – ‘young men’s fancy turns to what young women have been thinking of all year’.
The more we learn about the millions of micro-organisms living inside us, the more important they come to seem.
For a lot of people, the first step into herbal medicine is when they get fed up with HRT or antidepressants or whatever, and try to find something in the herb world that will do the job without the side-effects.
‘Turmeric – the most powerful herb on the planet!’ says one of the ads I’ve just trawled through.
My son recently wrote about the ten things he had learnt since he started in work in marketing and it got me thinking!
…But the trouble is, we take much more than just a pinch.
In social work we used to do '6-month Reviews' where we cast our eyes back at where we had come from and where we seemed to have landed up. (Other definitions are available!)
Of course, it comes around every year, but the cycle of feasting followed by ‘detox’, or insane overconsumption of rich foods and then complete abstinence, just when you need some solid sustenance to get you through the winter, is neither good for man nor beast.
You could not make it up. Already I was writing the headline. 'Cancer victim in midst of chemotherapy served eviction notice two weeks before Christmas.'
Thinking of a winter break somewhere warm and sunny? Then you’ll be heading to places where various vaccines may be either advised, or required.
0800: Wake up and realise that I am half blind. Put on specs. Now only quarter blind. Right eye is glued shut and red and puffy and dribbly. Yeugh.
Armour on, weapons primed, bullets at the ready, let battle commence, because cancer is aggressive and sometimes deadly and there is a fight to be fought.
Och, and it was all going so well! Three chemo sessions called FEC successfully under my belt, some tiredness, temporary steroid-based insomnia, but only in the few days after each treatment.
A wise woman has asked me if I am frightened. I think for a few moments and say 'Yes, I am frightened.' She asks me what I fear.
‘Coffee gives you heart attacks, but tea makes you live forever’ ‘Caffeine is addictive and leads to nervous exhaustion’ ‘I’m useless without my two cups in the morning’ …and so on and so forth.
Chemotherapy and good side effects are not usually discussed in the same sentence but one unexpected outcome of an elephantine infusion of toxic and unpronounceable drugs has been that after fifteen years without it I have regained my sense of smell!
'Grief! Why are people baking bloody Victoria Sponges and cupcakes to pay for a MacMillan nurse? Aaaargh!
If you’re making jack-o-lanterns for Hallowe’en this year, you’ll end up with a lot of pumpkin flesh and seeds.
It is the first visit and they sit staring at me. I am here to read poetry.
If the seeds are the part of the plant you’re interested in, it’s best to harvest them when they are fully ripe – any time from early autumn until the first frosts.
HAIR. My hair was fuzzy black when I was born and stuck upwards like a bush-baby.
Mushrooms are springing up in every woodland in Britain right now.
There’s a gorgeous display of hawthorn berries in the hedgerows lately; a heart-lifting sight as we move towards winter.
I am waiting for my chemotherapy to start. There are five more sleeps until Friday.