Neighbourhood Produce Exchange

I had a really great sleep last night. It might be because the weather’s cooling down as we move into autumn, or it could be that the eye pillow is working. To elaborate, I live across from a rather delightful woman named Edith, who loves crafting handy items to hand out to her neighbours. She’s 85 and still capable of threading a needle, a skill she’s put to use in sewing sleep masks filled with dried lavender for everyone on the street.

Edith told me that she was inspired to do this by the overabundance of lavender plants in her garden. It’s her favourite scent, you see, and she’d gone a bit bonkers with ordering various specimens over the internet. She has classic English, French and Italian varieties in her collection, alongside a couple of unusual cultivars.

I’ve always known that lavender is supposed to have a relaxing scent, but have never given too much thought to the effects of aromatic oils on the human body. After giving this mask a spin, though, I’m thinking that aromatherapy might be something for me to look into. I do feel that I have an affinity for culinary scents – roasting potatoes, raw garlic and fresh rosemary seem to have a grounding and calming effect on me, perhaps because I so enjoy being in the kitchen.

I’ve noticed that Edith doesn’t seem to be growing rosemary, actually. I have a young rosemary plant that I raised from seed, which is kind of a spare for me – I don’t need two rosemary plants. Perhaps I’ll give it to her to say thanks for putting me onto the lavender business. I’m quite taken with this notion of neighbours trading garden produce; there’s something pleasingly homestead-y about it. I’m half inspired to bake pies for the whole street.

Maybe Edith has some stories about what the neighbourhood used to be like. I mean, from what I can tell, she’s lived here for the better part of her life. There’s only one way to find out – pot up that rosemary bush and pop across the road for a chat.