In these days when our world and even our own country is rocked by storms of all kinds, our children need security and here grandparents, or even one grandparent, can fulfil a deep need.
I can well remember my grandmother, and looking back on what seemed a rather odd way of living I now realise that she lived according to the laws of nature and lived a long healthy and fulfilling life.
It was not that she had an easy life, as the eldest of a family of 10 she played a responsible role in helping to raise her brothers and sisters.
When she married she opened a shop and involved herself in dressmaking. Later on, when her three children were at school, she look over a public house in Highgate Village, North London called “ The Rose and Crown”. It was a pretty dismal run down business but within a year she had worked hard to develop it into a thriving business.
Indeed the Rose and Crown became well known for its traditional roasts and puddings such as spotted dick, apple pies and sponge puddings. My grandmother was an excellent cook.
She had an inborn interest in natural medicine and treated herself and her family for any illnesses that arose. Her health weaknesses were problems with her digestive system, and sometimes during the winter season she suffered from attacks of bronchitis.
This she treated with steam inhalations, and again herbal teas, and she used to rub her chest with some strong smelling liquid and cover the whole area with a pink type of fleece which smelt of camphor.
Granny’s brew for coughs and colds or flu consisted of a boiling of onions and garlic which were then strained through a sieve and this rather thick cream coloured liquid was then poured into a cup which you drank three times a day. It was rather a ‘kill or cure’ potion.
She only ever ate very small meals and during her more mature years concentrated on fish, chicken and eggs. She took a tablespoon of honey every day. “Its good for the heart” she would say. How right she was!
All fresh food such as butter, cheese, bread, and vegetables were wrapped in thin muslin cloths which were washed weekly – no contamination with the plastic wrappings of to-day.
When my grandparents retired and left the pub they bought house in Kent with a large garden as my grand-father was very ‘green fingered’ he grew all the vegetables and soft fruit. They also had a herb garden. I can remember my grandmother picking herbs and boiling them into a concoction and treating her digestive system with ‘teas’.
She loved the countryside, the sea and flowers and was very in tune with life. Every afternoon she rested for one hour, where she would say ‘I lose myself’. I believe now that she practised some form of meditation. She was so very intelligent, an avid reader, and always believed that the body was well able to heal itself, given the right food and the right treatment if illness did strike.
I can never remember her going to a doctor, she always treated herself, and her treatments certainly worked.
She died quite suddenly at the age of 93 and when a post-mortem was performed, the doctors told us that all her organs were as healthy as one would find in a 50 year old. Her heart just failed, what a wonderful way to die.
She wrote some very nice poetry, here is just a little snipped from one of them.
“Tis time for me to draw aside from life and all its problems- maybe only for a minute I tune into perfection peace and power.”