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Posts Tagged ‘sandal’

spice3

This man has smelt Sporobolus heterolepsis- have you ?

Diary note for September: propagate more of the wondrously aromatic grass Sporobolis heterolepsis.

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What is it then ? a fabulous grass with attitude and scent !

other common name – Prairie dropseed

Height : 80cm (at least) Spread : 35cm (and some)

Flowering : meant to be July and august , but still flowering now well into September.

spicemarket1Scent : musky and aromatic like a trip into a indian spice market. Just catching on the slightest breeze you get a hint of the cumin laden armpit of a street trader in Jaipur. It is the sort of grass you could make a curry with , the sort of grass that would be impregnating an old jute camel bag, the scent of a sandal kicked off under a rickshaw drivers charpoi, the tendril taint of an “old “print dug out from beneath a dozen such prints in old Mapusa market. It is the siren call of the exotic and the whisper of the orient.

spice4

I smelt Sporobolus and my nose fell off …..

Grown en masse (of course) why would anyone do any less,it is a wonder of the prairie plain.Not only do you get scent but a fine and fickle movement in the breeze reminds you of a lapping warm sea. Must be nearly holiday time methinks ………..

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This year we are promoting and growing herbs for our “cut it now” herbal tea range ! growing on our terrace at our teashop we have the most amazing range of possibilities for your healthy cuppa !

Why would you choose the dry and dusty alternative in a teabag when you can take our fresh leaves and enjoy the fresh and invigorating aromas coming from the freshest ingredients. It is a simple recipe after all … leaves + hot water and drink !

So when you reach for  our Tashkent mint you are reaching for a world beyond the teatable……imagine the exotic lure of the spice trail.. the irascible hot sweaty camels and their enigmatic drovers swathed in grubby silks and manmade fibres.. the glint of a golden tooth here.. the chink of a wanton coin encrusted sandal there… there is a snort and the flap of the Bedouin tent and the seamless shift of a thousand sands and a thousand grains of sand transports you beyond the norm.

many other fresh herbs are  available !  If you like the idea of a leap from the teabag into the realm of the senses  ..a cup of chocolate peppermint perchance, a smooth apple mint, nay pineapple, camomile lawn : give it to me in a cup, lemon balm my soul….the teas are endless the aromas subtle stimulating and the colours .. give me zing, give me laughter, give me love !

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the main culprit

There is a place called Du Du. I saw it advertised on a rare traffic sign. But the sort of du du I want to talk about is the kind manufactured in copious quantities by the entire cow population of India as they wander to and fro through people’s lives,houses,rubbish tips and market places. The cow does many things and is a sacred beast granted. But it makes a prodigious amount of poo.Now I have discovered an ancient and  crazy art  which I believe is as yet unexplored and un tapped. Namely ,the fashionable and scary art of making solid poo  igloos . Chris Ofili the artist famed for working with elephant dung could learn a few tricks here. On the outskirts of every village /small holding/collection of huts/houses/plastic bag tents/grass wigwams there is the same thing : and it is beautiful.Imagine a solid block of poo crafted into a huge monolithic and dense sculpture . Entirely made of cattle dung (maybe goat and sheep too ?) it is dense,not smelly really (but everything is relative) and carved with simple and delicate patterns. Sitting like a dried out block of parmesan I wonder how you deal with it on a daily basis. Do you slice off cake like slices  for fire lighting ? do you hack off a chunk like a block of ice ? or is it just some crazy currency and the sort of hedge fund of rural life ? certainly its worth for gardening is high and a golden ingot like that would be much sought after by us gardeners for growing our bananas !

Gold dust

the cow pat scenario is much easier to get to grips with (unless it is wet,sticky and stuck to the bottom of your sandal) you can see these frisbee like things drying in the most unlikely of places but then why not ? these are the perfect firelighter of choice. Dry and crisply dehydrated you will see them stacked at crazy angles and in bonfire type heaps ready for action.Collection of said pats might be tricky one would think in the wet state, but with a blazing indian sun i guess you only have to wait a while until you can scoop it up and carry the dinner plate sized thing back to your treasury.

Firelighting cow pats ready for action

walking in any area of India is fraught with danger as you hopscotch between the poo.On my last trip i inadvertently got out of the car in a village and stood straight in an open sewer. Not an experience I would wish to repeat. The evil residue stubbornly refused to be washed or scraped off my shoes.This time it was the car itself that fell into a sewer. Driving quietly into the quaint little town of Bundi we were checking out the likely accommodation venues and suddenly the car lurched to one side and there was a hellish bang. Scrambling out of a car leaning perilously to one side it was obvious that the open sewer previously covered by an (insubstantial paving stone , had caved in and we were stuck in a rut ! the car tilted drunkenly into the filthy maw. Unspecified horrors floated by. Paul managed to commandeer  some wiry but slim indian onlookers  to help him manhandle the thing out. on dry land the car did not seem to have sustained any damage . Apart from a charming fragrance of course.

if i just stand here.....

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