Botanica Fabula - Amanda Edmiston, Storyteller: 'Herbs, Movement and Grand Drama'
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Part 3 #OutToLunch for The Soil Association: Pizza Express

Finally our #OutToLunchUK journey took us to Pizza Express...I’ll be honest I’m in my comfort zone immediately in a Pizza Express, there is pizza, life’s least challenging foodstuff, my family all eat pizza and if there isn’t a nice friendly independent restaurant or cafe to hand (for instance amidst retail hell) ...then Pizza Express is my first choice.

They didn’t let me down...we were greeted at the Perth branch by a friendly girl, she not only also said hello to the children as well as me but immediately asked if we’d like to be in a window or further back, then moved chairs and tables so I could get the pram in next to the table and offered a (clean) high chair.

#OutToLunchUK with the Soil Association: Nando's with outspoken vegetarian children!

Nando’s Stirling...

Vegetarian family...we didn’t take the resident meat eater.

I stood in the door way, unsure of whether we sat ourselves or what should happen next.

This was not so much the fault of the staff as on a quiet lunchtime there weren’t really very many of them around and the place is pretty big, but I would have liked an indication, you know?

A ‘wait here to be seated sign’ is usually enough to reassure me that I’ve not been overlooked.

#Out to Lunch for The Soil Association part 1

I've been a member ofThe Soil Associationfor years now, interest in plants and their use in food and medicine and from that point as part of stories (for me), inevitably results in an interest in how they are grown. If every small plant constituent has the ability to effect the physiology of the animals ingesting it, what are the implications for our physiology of how the plants are produced or where they come from on their constituents and therefore ultimately on us?

The organic question is one strand, another for me is the culture in which our food is grown, I think if we utterly disconnect from the who's, how's, why's and wherefore's of food production, if mass production and lack of respect for farmers lives, take over we lose food's story, we lose the words and for me that means food loses part of its complex nature, it loses nourishment, it no longer feeds the brain .

A slice of conversation, chatter about food with my Living Voices groups. #treasuredtastes for #dementiaawarenessweek 2015

Our conversations started over a plate of the first Scottish strawberries of the season… we have a bags of herbs and spices to pass round…         

‘My grandparents, they moved into Aberdeen in 1916 from the country, because they were told there would be more food, farm workers were literally starving to death, thats when my mother was born’
‘Times were hard in Scotland, there was no food if you were poor.’
‘There was a war.’
‘You had to be a lot less fussy, not like now’.

      ‘Did you like everything?

Wild garden sundials and a day at the shops

It's been a busy week, Monday I was at Glasgow Fort a behemoth of an outdoor shopping centre…sounds like an odd gig for me and I could explain at length, but it comes down to 3 things:

 1. The staff are lovely, a couple of the staff are hilarious (customer remark 'you're not a disney princess, where's the Disney princess?', Me to charming but slightly terrifying looking 6ft 4" cockney possibly security gentleman whose name I should know by now 'is the Disney princess on today (with raised eyebrow/back to customer)'  Him: 'No, I'm the big bad wolf…I've eaten them all' Me: (soto voce) 'excellent, you are this morning's hero'.

Giving in to your kilty pleasures?

This is the view
if you stand in my
garden and
look in one direction

A messy upcycled
child planted collection of favorite herbs, old slates telling stories behind the plants created by my daughter, scraps of folklore and ancient myths chalked onto stones amidst native Scottish plants.

Face the other direction and the view looks like this…
(well actually this is taken from the bottom of the road, but you get the gist!)
This is what you're looking at    I

Aberdeen, Living Voices and meaningful Activities Networks

Rosemary’s been coming up a lot for me lately, I’ve been researching it along with some other plants for a piece I’ve been writing which combines herbal folklore, traces of lost Scottish legends, and a bit of history of medicine and health care in the highlands, which may be going out to New York for Scotland week, along with my herbalist friend Claire MacKay who was herbal consultant on Outlander http://www.herbalheritage.

Eclipses? Equinoxes? Birthday Animals???

So we've had an eclipse and a gorgeous spring equinox and I have tales of ravenous wolves, rosemary, juniper, museums, radio shows and wars to share…but do you know my maternity leave ends next week…so I'm going to indulge myself and tell you a family anecdote, sometimes the best type of story to share…the sort children grow memories out of, ( like the time my dad saw a double decker bus drive under a low bridge and lose it's upper deck, or the time my Aunty was, as a small child lost for hours due to being trapped in the 'bed tuck' of the blankets), they're the sort of stories I get groups sharing, even the groups who tell me they 'don't know any stories' can tell gems about unpleasant habits of family members or the time there little brother got a walnut wedged up his nose (yes…really, a walnut….

The Deeside Lavender Project


LAVINIA'S LAVENDER  is a story I developed for another project in 2013 'the lavender project' created by the lovely Helen Smith the vibrant and stunning Woodend barn arts centre Banchory Aberdeenshire, the former home of Scotland's lavender industry. 

Unbeknownst to many, Deeside once had it's own cultivar of lavender, this mediterranean herb had made cold, granite clad Aberdeen the place of my birth it's home.

Rolled from the snow of spring, Tree's icy embellishment an

 Snow Girls and Nature adorns...icy embellishments

We had a day or two of embracing the freeze, the older child got a beautiful book of Russian folktales for her Christmas from her beautiful storytelling Granny  …and we revisited one of our snow story favourites: Snow Girl…there are several versions out there…inevitably in many, dare I say it …sssshhhhhh…shhhheeee melts…of course, but seeing as one of mine is born on the Winter equinox under a blue moon, and was utterly unexpected but much longed for and came at a very high price…I don't like to court disaster, I like my Snow Girl story to be rolled from the Snow of Spring and be browned in the Summer sun…so this is one of my favourite versions of the traditional Russian tale: 
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