Following the walking group on I’m delighted to share the news that we’re launching a new Ladies walking group Yoga club; off the mat ie outdoors, in a natural setting. I Prefer to stretch and exercise outdoors in nice weather and this is our aim, whilst social distancing. Since we can’t join indoor activities It’s an ideal time to play and explore new parts of common land outside.
We Meet In Forster Memorial Park on dry and preferably sunny, Tuesday mornings 11.30-12 noon. Bring a mat or rug to lie on. Payment appreciated and Donations are welcome.
My new fly tipping prevention notices were put up today, to reduce park rubbish, as Steven is the local head Litter picking volunteer. in the bottom end towards Bromley rd, We found new Lime tree, soon to bloom for a later harvest.
Theresa shares a cup of Chinese and English teas to strengthen the immune system, minus caffeine, with Chinese lecturer Hui (Grace). Comforting, scented and Hydrating; Local Infusions and international teas, are soothing to our mind, body and soul during the covid19 restriction period. We’re enjoying the simple pleasures in life.
Most of the seeds sown have germinated with the exception of lettuces; what to do with all these peppers! It’s soon give away time again.
The heat is on for a Tuesday socially distanced Walk for health; today we decided to take shade under the trees and From 11.30am-12.30pm practice a yoga routine with a meditation and play, by one of the trees.
We witness nature at first hand; relaxing under the boughs with our feet resting against the trunk. Birds are becoming more familiar and closer; male blackbirds, resting in the branches, field fares nibbling the flower buds, a robin, bees and a dragonfly darts about. We strengthen and develop our core balance with a variation of tree poses and swung safely in the branches.
Afterwards we found the bounteous Elderflowers around the outskirts of the park and began collecting, With the view in mind to leave any unopened buds to allow for pollination. This is extremely important, don’t pick them all! Take only what’s necessary for a drink. Nettle tips and seeds plus Linden blossom have begun to open and it’s perfect timing for these delicately scented flowers to add into a soothing drink; this feels like a warm hug in a mug!
More next week, for walks, yoga and seasonal foraging with myself, Steven and new Polish local gardener Pavil in Forster Park from 10.30am for an hour or more.
It’s always informative to hear the Live and recorded vegan organic network gardeners question time On Tuesday nights.
Other visits to arrange: Kew Gardens is open with a booking system in place.
In May I’m aware of my anniversary for choosing a vegan lifestyle for myself; 17 whole years!? It’s more extraordinary than I’d imagined, back in 2003. It took me to lie down, to rest late at night, desiring to fall asleep but instead I’m aware of a sensation. Something is stirring. Much like the birth of Spring with the sight of crocus… “Sing sing sing, for today it’s Spring”. Singing constantly keeps me focussed on my harmonies and being out in nature earth.
This past week has mainly involved the mass gathering of the soft, fluffy, delicate Elderflowers; hanging in clusters upon the trees, before turning into deep red berries.
They are a traditional medicine / remedy For hayfever. Their cluster structure of delicate branches are almost like veins is representative of human lungs; these flowers and later the berries are very supportive of our respiratory system, the lungs and our breath. Thus, use to treat colds or flu.
Today I walk with Grace, a Chinese scientist and we discover and collect 6 wild edible weeds; blackberries, nettles, cleavers, elderflowers, jack by the hedge and cow parsley. The start of our Tour is along the start of the green chain walk.
Since the enforced isolation in March, friends and I are sharing what we can; our plants, seeds and produce, specifically. As a National Park City Ranger, I now feel like I’m being gifted on a daily basis. Yesterday Paul, the Chair of London National Park City foundation offered me wildflower seeds for a re-wilding exercise in a local disused alleyway, watch this space… plus Basil seedlings in due course. At The Zoom BeInspired walk On Tuesday, an online participant viewer and wildlife teacher offered us eggs from her hens (for my other family members who would appreciate them). Sunflowers and Spinach plants are also growing in exchange. Counting my blessings indeed.
Healing with herbs
Sage is a wonderful herb, useful in prevention during covid-19, in addition to Vitamin C and D. Sage has been used in culinary and medicinal forms for centuries; it has many traditional uses.
Meaning: in French the name sage, means wise, to have wisdom. A sage is a person who holds the wisdom for their tribe and far beyond. This is a herb with further visioning properties, like the wise man or wise woman, in traditional medicinal cultures.
Mouthwash Sage contains anti-viral and antimicrobial volatile oils. For this reason, I use it as a refreshing mouthwash, or even a gargle to soothe and prevent sore throats. For a gargle, take a small handful of fresh or dried leaves and add to a pan of fresh water. Simmer for at least 20 mins to allow the scent and goodness from the leaves to disperse into the water. It turns an intense, dark brown colour. Allow to cool entirely before rinsing your mouth and gargling. Spit out and repeat x 3 times. Use for throat infections.
Sage Tea To drink as an infusion: infuse a small handful of freshly picked leaves in hot water and leave to brew for up to 10 mins or longer for a fuller flavour. The tea will be a gentle, clear green in colour. These properties are ideal for clarity of vision.
Sage also possesses cooling properties, to ladies’; balancing hormonal symptoms in the menopause and calms menstrual hot flushes, whilst allowing new priorities to develop and be supported. Females develop new needs and values. For others, cool down and refresh from the heat of the sun with a sage tea. In Turkey, at Yuva retreat centre, this is a popular beverage after working outside in the Mediterranean sunshine.
Recipe: Sage and lime Hummus
1 cup Chickpeas (either cooked fresh, from a can/carton or Raw sprouted)
1 dsp tahini (sesame seed) sauce
3 dsp olive oil or oil of choice.
1/2 lime juiced
A few sage leaves, plus extra for garnish. A good pinch salt / seaweed / sodium alternative
Use a food processor or a hand blender to Purée the chickpeas together with the olive oil, tahini, herbs, salt and half the lime juice. Mix well until the paste is as smooth or as chunky as you wish.
Garnish with wild flowers eg. forget-me-nots and the remaining sage leaves. Serve with fresh vegetables as a salad/main course eg Quinoa or on bread or crackers.
Beverage: add the remaining lime juice to a glass water, for a refreshing drink.
Over the past few weeks, whilst spending time outside in nature, in the parks or garden as often as possible, staying in is the new going out and we’re all presented with new opportunities to do at home and finding ways to replace the social life we’d once enjoyed. Below is a list of recommendations, a few of my favourite things that I’ve started doing at other times of the day. I find it helpful to join up to on online platforms like Zoom for group discussions as well as meetings.
I’d like to share with you a few of my favourite things to do these days…
TimeOut is now self styled TimeIn (!) My sister and I scheduled a show evening in, last Friday night (she’s in Lancaster) to watch the 25th celebration performance of Phantom of the Opera. Afterwards, we shared our delight over the phone; I enjoyed all the characters, especially the French theatre managers who are my favourites, with a perfectly timed script. The boat scene was calm from a dramatic perspective, in addition to all the spectacular costume changes; this special pre recorded stage production at the Royal Albert Hall really brings the story to life. the entire former cast sings with Sarah Brightman our first time hearing her singing live; a fabulous show https://www.timeout.com/news/andrew-lloyd-webbers-biggest-musicals-are-streaming-free-on-youtube-for-a-limited-time-041520
Nu Movements on various days, 5 Rhythms is held by Christian de Sousa on Thursday: Back to the beat! These sessions previously held in churches around London are firm favourites for all the awareness they bring. I’m ashamed to say that it took 7 yrs before I finally wound up the courage to attend, then upon seeing swathes of free style dancers, they invited me to become a resident Raw Chocolatier and serve delicacies after the dance nights; it is a unique experience. Now, a 5 Rhythms dance class, takes place in my lounge, along with 80+ others via Zoom! It’s uplifting and positive to begin a movement practice (healing) prior to the clapping for the NHS. http://www.dancingtao.net/home/index.php
Other dances: Sophie Bolton Monday via Facebook
deepening our outdoor nature connection despite being closed, from indoors, Kew Gardens https://www.kew.org/
The skies are blue; there is a sweet scent in the new, fresh air. Now it is time to strengthen our immune system with fresh ingredients; go outdoors and absorb more vitamin D! Our green spaces are now bursting with new growth, particularly in some areas of wild medicinal plants. As native medicinal plants; a wild Herbs like Nettles, are one of my favourite cleansing Springtime superfoods, as a rich source of Iron, Calcium and Magnesium. They’re ideal to add into our daily routines, for energy, stamina and relaxing blood pressure (female menstrual cramps) I recommend drinking a freshly harvested nettle tea instead of the shop bought packet type. The leaves are also ready to eat and enjoy.
In Manor Park Last week I was asked to support a 40 yr old man foraging, on our hourly exercise, we Picked nettle tips and wildflowers: Alkanet, wild leek, dead nettle and cow parsley plus lemon balm and went home to rinse them well and make tea and salad/soup. Over The following 2 days, he very simply made a nutrient rich drink and noticed the difference. We went out again, further collecting Garlic Mustard and extra nettles for drinks. The results have been surprisingly effective.
After returning from running for 4 hrs, he shared “I feel young again inside, I see a bright future, have better sleep, think better and experience less anxiety”.
Foraging on the land brings us that bit closer to ourselves, as a dose of the most organic, free food.