Thursday, 8 April 2021

Back to Basics: The Wanderer Returns

If you're reading this... Hi There! But I suspect that I will be talking to myself for a little while, I don't mind, I'm kind of used to it, its when I start answering myself back that I will start to worry 😏 There has been a fair few years that I lost my herbal passion and even my love of gardening and growing. Bad experiences in several areas of herbal life left me disillusioned and I lost my herbal mojo, I learnt a few valuable lessons in the gap years, and whilst I found my herbal self again I found other things to occupy myself. A very good friend advised me to stop trying to force myself to write about herbs if my heart wasn't in it, and it wasn't, she told me that it would come back when I was ready, and she was right, because slowly but surely my herbal passion is reawakening. I find I can now do it because I want to, and not because I'm being paid to do it and I can once again write about what I want, when I want, and how I want rather than writing about things I had to and in ways that I wasn't always entirely happy with.

As its been a while since I 'blogged' I thought I'd offer a little update on where I am herbally speaking as of today (April 2021), with the Covid 19 crisis, like most of you I've had more time on my hands, that 'free' time started out with a major overhaul of the garden, gone is the herbal haven of 2007, very few herbs have survived the years that I lost my passion, but I've started again only this time I have to be more cautious what I plant as we now have grandchildren to consider when thinking of new planting schemes. Time of late has gravitated towards looking at old research and wanting to build on that, it started out by doing a computer declutter and back up of my PC which led me to find all my old files and research. I now have the basis of three books that I'm working on, and I've just had ideas for two more and do believe its time I started writing them and not just researching and gathering material.

My herbal book collection has shrunk as well, space became a premium so over the past few years I donated lots of the the modern herbal recipe books and beginners books on herb growing - the kind of books that now won't tell me anything that I don't already know - to the local Cats Protection. I've kept all my books from 1970 through to 1700's though and some of the modern ones like Hedgerow Medicine, Jekka's books and many others. I don't think I could ever get rid of my old herb books, even though I haven't really looked at them much over the past few years, I still value them and I'm so glad that I kept them because now I am full steam ahead with ideas and leafing through them again like old friends.

I'm currently - in-between writing new stuff - in the process of moving all of the original Herbal Haven blog to this new blog, in doing so I'm taking the opportunity to update the older posts and also remove any that are no longer relevant. The posts are being added and dated as they appeared on the original blog for the most part, once I've finished moving everything over - I still have about 164 posts and a variety of pages left to move - the old blog will be going. The Herbal Haven domain name will stay with a couple of pages about me, and also a link to this blog but the rest is off to the WWW dead zone. Hacking attempts, costs (for the hosting etc) but mostly the stupid hacking attempts that over the years have drove me completely insane made keeping the old blog going untenable. Moving over to blogger means that its more secure, I can easily do back ups and its much easier to keep everything together.

I am still very much involved with Discovering Herbal Medicine course which has recently been revamped, rewritten and is now an online course rather than a paper mail out course, I've also been promoted to their IT Media Manager. All things change and the DHM course has been through lots of changes recently, in 2019 Dr. Alan Lakin one of my herbal mentors and the man that saved the DHM course along with his wife Ann, sadly passed away. It was Alan and Ann that took me under their wing and encouraged me to become a council member for the Herb Society, and to also take on the development and maintenance of the Herb Society website in 2006 and from there they asked me to take over the maintenance of the DHM website and I've been doing that ever since. Alan saw something in me and did all he could to make it blossom and I will forever be grateful to him for the opportunities he and Ann gave me, even now Ann continues to advise and guide me and its a pleasure working alongside her and contributing to the DHM course.

The ‘Discovering Herbal Medicine’ course was originally developed by the College of Phytotherapy, and was originally conceived and written over forty years ago in a joint effort between Hein Zeylstra (1929 – 2001) the founder of the CPP and herbal practitioner Simon Mills. Both are well-known throughout the world as being two of the leading medical herbalists of recent decades. The CPP was, for many years, the UK’s leading centre for the training of Medical Herbalists in the UK, but when the College suffered financial collapse in December 2004 and the DHM course looked to be lost Alan and Ann stepped in and saved it. On taking the DHM course over, they completely revised and updated the course materials and Ann has now done that all over again, bringing the course into the 21st century by taking it an online course. The original course material has been retained, updated, and restyled. New monographs have been added on popular over-the-counter herbal remedies and videos now introduce each of the twelve modules, exciting times!

As I get older my herbal passion is rooting further and further into the historical use of herbs and I'm fascinated more and more by our forgotten herbs and wild plants, so in the future you can expect to see more information about the historical use of herbs and our indigenous herbs on this blog and also on the Discovering Herbal Medicine blog I'm liking the mantle of Herbal Historian and it appears that I am actually good at it, I do know I come alive when I have a new herbal puzzle to solve and something to discover. I'm also back out and about taking photos - whilst socially distancing of course - finding wild herbs that are new to me as well as reconnecting with old favourites and finding out more about them, so I will be writing about them here soon, as well as revisiting some old subjects and introducing some new ones.

This move over and revamp has given me an opportunity to revisit what I've written, sometimes I've been pleasantly surprised at things I've written, although occasionally I judge that a piece is by today's standards lacking in information, or that my opinion/view has now change, so I can add to the posts to enhance them, correct them or update them, some places I visited or stores and products I recommended are no longer open/available, I'm testing links to check they still work as well as looking at contacts and that is where I am today, so watch this space.