Three top natural remedies

White Rabbits.


When I joined my first newspaper office it was the customary greeting on the first of the month. Normally one would say, ‘Morning’ or ‘Good morning’.

But on the first it was White Rabbits.

Bizarre. Totally. And when I woke up on 1 September, I thought ‘White Rabbits’. Luckily I didn’t say it to anyone.

But from white rabbits to white jasmine and mosquitoes.

‘Mosquito’ said Partner helpfully in the night. He’s chatty like that.

He was right. I’d woken up scratching my legs.

I depilated the jasmine bush and stuffed three glasses full of it.

One on the table near me, one on the windowsill, and one in the bathroom.

It smelled beautiful. And … no more bites.

Next, idiot features managed to stick her arm over the spout of the boiling pot of beans. And got a very nasty steam burn. Ouch!

I went for soap but that didn’t fix it so I decided on the aloe vera plaster, wrapped up with a crepe bandage.

And stress. Ugh. I read recently that performing artists regularly vomit before going on stage.

Last month’s palaver with the electricity company and missing bills left me sadly under the weather with a dodgy guts. Yoghurt, I decided. And promptly felt better with a yoghurt a day for breakfast.

The routine continued back in Gib eating Yeo Valley Organic (natural) yoghurt. I only ever eat plain yoghurt.

The phone rang. ‘There’s no normal yoghurt, is low fat/no fat ok?’ asked my personal shopper aka Partner.

Yes, it was.

Except when I looked at it, I noticed the low fat yoghurt was vanilla. OK, I can live with vanilla extract. I looked at the ingredients and nearly dropped the pot. Sugar, corn starch, goodness knows what else. It was all organic but not what I want from yoghurt. But still, ’twas all I had, so I plonked some in a pot and took a spoonful.

It. Was. Vile.

Far from resolving a dodgy guts, it was more likely to make me throw up. Who on earth eats these bizarre concoctions?

I went down the town to the health food shops. Not a yoghurt in sight, let alone a plain one. The joys of living in Gibraltar when Morrisons runs out of plain yoghurt and there is none in the high street.

Still on food, and my quest to inform the world that Parmesan cheese is not vegetarian, I notice one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants has no-meat options, that include Parmesan, spinach and ricotta ravioli with Parmesan cream sauce. Equally interestingly, it isn’t actually labelled as vegetarian however.

The problem with chefs who aren’t vegetarian is they have no imagination and insist on putting cheese in everything. On the a la carte menu at The Narrow, in London, there is sweetcorn soup with cheddar crostini, and burrata di puglia, tomatoes and basil for starters, followed by squash and goat cheese ravioli with sage cream sauce. But still Ramsey is hardly known for his tolerance towards vegetarians. After all he has been known to say he served vegetarians soup made with chicken stock, although later claimed it was a joke.

On the bright side, dogs are allowed at The Narrow. Presumably as long as they aren’t vegetarian.

I didn’t bother contacting Ramsay about his overly cheesy menu.

I did however contact The Lounge in Gib, on Queensway Quay, which after taking over from Sam some years ago has expanded rapidly and become quite an upmarket restaurant (website coming soon it says, so no link). I did get a reply which said that dishes could be served with or without Parmesan. Well, that’s fair enough, but the amount of people who don’t know about vegetarian/animal/microbial rennet is staggering so for restaurants to describe a dish with Parmesan as vegetarian is just plain misleading. Not everyone has been vegetarian for thirty years.

And what about aubergine stuffed with … pesto? Vegetarian pesto?

Now, regular readers may remember I fired off a couple of emails last week to two restaurants querying their menus. I received an extremely pleasant and civilised reply from The Pony and Trap despite my sarky comment about ram’s curd v ewe’s curd. Apparently they use a variety of curd cheeses so this was to differentiate between cow’s, or presumably goat’s. I’d have put sheep’s curd, but hey their choice. And they amended Scoth egg to Scotch egg. Top marks to Holly Eggleston for her well written response and excellent PR when her initial reaction was probably ‘Push off roughseas, you smart-arse’.

The catering school high-end culinary academy I wrote to – Tante Marie – has not replied about why they describe meals with Parmesan as vegetarian. Why am I not surprised? In 2008 Gordon Ramsay Holdings became one of the new co-owners. Incidentally, it only costs a mere £15,000–£20,000 for a professional Cordon Bleu course at the culinary academy.

And on money, my old school, recently sent me a promo leaflet. Not content with selling off the family bronze, this was a begging letter to donate and fund bursaries. Plus, in true double-glazing style, a current pupil would be ringing me to discuss my career/life after school and then try and get me to sign up to a subscription. I think not. Especially when someone addressed said begging letter to Gibraltar in Aylesbury. Hardly a glowing recommend.

Luckily someone at the post office had the foresight to realise Gib is not in Aylesbury, Bucks, UK, but actually at the tip of the Iberian peninsula. Did the post office person have a £12,000 a year education, like my school now costs?

I’ve ignored the double-glazing girl’s phone calls.

And from secular education to religious education. Two of our young neighbours are off to college in Gateshead tomorrow. Gateshead? Who the hell goes to tertiary education in Gateshead? Strict orthodox Jews, that’s who.

Ten years living in Newcastle and I never knew that Gateshead has the largest Jewish community in the north-east and the only one that is expanding. It’s got an extremely acclaimed set of strict Jewish colleges attended by students from all over the world.

Religion. Today, Partner was working in a Jewish flat and the mother was reading out loud from the bible, or the torah, or whatever. In Hebrew.

But when her daughter goes to Gateshead, let’s hope she doesn’t face jew-bashing.

By Muslims.

Two of the four teenage attackers had previous for robbery and assault.

Got to love the multi-cultural UK that promotes such diversity, religious freedom and ends up with jew-bashing.

Jewish community in Gateshead:

And here’s a gecko.

I adore my geckos. So cute. Little feeties. Awww.
I adore my geckos. So cute. Little feeties. Awww.

77 comments on “Three top natural remedies

  1. Love all the directions this post took, I found myself agreeing with so much, our eldest daughter is vegetarian so I will show this to her. I shall be heading out to buy Jasmine and as for yoghurt, I always buy full fat organic plain yoghurt here in France, it is my everyday breakfast topped with a handful of chia seeds. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, what little is left of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant read :-) We are heading for Summer here in South Africa, and the mosquito’s will be out, so I must get some Jasmine, thanks for that. Hope your burn got sorted (ouch). Regards the non vegetarian chefs, I could not agree more ! Enjoy the rest of your day. :-)


    • Thank you Lynne. Yeah, realise it’s warming up in the southern hemisphere. My Spanish neighbour told me about the jasmine and I thought it was worth a try. I don’t like plug-in chemicals or sprays, and I like the smell of jasmine. Plus it’s free after buying the plant. Total win. I may be buying another plant though! To top up.

      The burn is easing off. I don’t usually work with pans with a spout, rather sealed ones, so my own fault.

      I’m not a chef, but I’m aware of coeliac/gluten free, nut allergies, religious ethics, vegetarian/vegan, so why the hell aren’t professional chefs up to it? One of many reasons I no longer eat out.

      Long weekend here, bank hol tomorrow, so very lazee.


  3. Sally Aw’s, Tiger Balm is what most in the Southern Hemisphere swear by. Especially good for bouts of intestinal hurry. Never travel anywhere without it. At the first hint of stomach upsets, after a dodgy prawn or so, apply a little of Tiger Balm and you soon feel better.


    • Tiger Balm is for external application too, isn’t it? Where does one apply it for an intestinal bug? Eucalyptus oil goes under the nose doesn’t it? (If you can tolerate it….)

      And maybe John’s rabbis was intended to be rabies? Although I have never heard of an easy fix for that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tiger balm seems to be a stress/tension thing, ie relieving the symptoms eg headaches or muscular aches and pains. I’m sure I’ve never heard of it before.

        From memory eucalyptus is like lavender, you can put it directly on the skin. Or maybe it’s tea tree you can apply? Lavender is brilliant though. Soothes anything and everything and a couple of drops on the pillow for relaxing sleep. Not when you have jasmine in the bedroom though. Olefactory overload!

        Ah. Rabies maybe. Too many rab words!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I am very puzzled about the cheese thing being vegetarian in so called high end restaurants. How can they not know better? And “they know everything.” I am very puzzled about the ram and the ewe cheese. Both are from sheep. A male sheep is a ram. A female sheep is a ewe. A female bovine is a cow or heifer and the male bovine is ether a steer (if castrated) or a bull if intact.

    Thanks for the info about jasmine. I didn’t know that it repels mosquitoes.


    • I find the cheese thing so frustrating. Even though we stopped eating out years ago, it still gripes me to see dishes mislabelled as vegetarian. Here is a good link:

      Back in the last century when I was flying, I asked for vegan meals or the brain-dead simpletons would produce nothing but cheese and eggs. The Vegetarian Society (founded 1847) has perfectly clear criteria. For something to be lacto-ovo vegetarian it needs to have free range eggs and cheese not made with animal rennet. Why is this not taught to people in the catering trade?

      I’m not in catering, but I know about Halal food, Kosher food, and allergies. As well as vegetarian and vegan food.

      My partner likes cheese, butter and eggs, but when we live separately eg me in Spain with a rescue street dog waiting for jabs etc I live on a vegan diet. But I’m not falling out over cheese and eggs so I cook with them, although I often put cheese on his half of a meal and not on mine.

      I didn’t really understand the ewe’s cheese. I think it was trying to be different. Normally when you buy cheese, it states whether it is made from cow,’s, sheep’s or goat’s milk. Or a mix, as is often the case in Spain. Not that I buy cheese in Spain because it doesn’t specify the rennet and it’s expensive.

      Well, we had no more bites after the flower arranging. Plus, it did smell nice.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Yes, we always said White Rabbits. Brits are weird, aren’t we? I never knew that about Jasmine. Wish I had, I’ve suffered big time with mosquito bites over the years, despite eating gallons of marmite and spraying that highly recommended Avon stuff everywhere – I end up looking and feeling like I’ve contracted some awful plague. Another reason to stay away from hotter climes – and the north of Scotland.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d never heard of it before joining the newspaper office. I wondered if it was a local thing or a religious thing – two Catholics, a Methodist and the rest of us. Who didn’t say White Rabbits.
      But yes, we are weird.

      We suddenly woke up one morning and discovered we’d developed immunity. Not to getting bitten, but no longer coming up in HUGE red lumps and bumps. A minor itch now for a few minutes and a tiny bite mark. What’s just as annoying is that zzzzzzzzz around your head. I think my worst experience was in Kalymnos, but when we first moved to Spain I was still lumping and bumping. Or maybe it’s cos I don’t have nice juicy white skin? Who knows.

      Scotland. And midges. Even worse I think! We were camping in the Hebrides, most of which was wild camping as not all islands had camp sites. We arrived at one island about half ten at night, south uist maybe? the one before benbecula, and the tourist info was open to fit in with the ferry. ‘You can camp here,’ they said, on a plot of grass next to the office. A few other tents were already installed. It was evil. Absolutely chocka with midges. Were we ever glad to leave that pitch. On another hol, we were camping at Culzean Castle. We palled up with a couple of neighbours, a couple and a bloke with his son. The woman was the only smoker. She waved her fags around, tossed her long her, and kept the midges away beautifully as we stood around chatting till midnight.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I have a vegan niece and a vegetarian (heading towards vegan) sister, so am learning. My decades-ago stint at vegetarianism lasted about 6 hours I think. Wasn’t well received, and I wasn’t knowledgeable enough to see it through. It’s certainly easier on the conscience. I am learning to watch for things like rennet, now, too — thanks to relatives and posts such as yours. I haven’t been able to comfortably buy gelatin for several years now, since learning what goes into it.

    Coconut oil is incredibly healthy if it’s good quality oil. Great for skin care, and for brain health, among other things.

    I used to work with Siegfried Gursche, a man who many considered “father of the natural health movement in Canada,” and he was convinced that coconut oil was key. He spent the last part of his life importing coconut oil from the Solomon Islands — and traveled there to meet the community that produced it, and to check the quality and the conditions involved in its production. He was very impressed. I rarely use it (I forget) but the remains of a jar I bought eons ago is still good, and still smells like fresh coconut. (I just had to take a taste sample too. Yes, still good.)

    I once asked him what else he would consider a key item to have on hand for medicinal purposes, and he said Olbas Oil. I got some, but never used it because the smell was really horrible — and I think the idea was to put some just below your nostrils so you could inhale it. I didn’t consider myself that sick.

    I’d add apple sauce to the mix for top natural remedies. A raw apple helps prevent constipation, but apple sauce is excellent for dealing with the opposite. I still don’t understand how that works, but it does. We also grew up with ginger ale for stomach upsets (a type of soda pop in this part of the world) which isn’t exactly natural, but seemed to work. My mother (a former nurse) swears by mustard plasters and onion plasters, too — but she never used them on us, I don’t think, so that perhaps weakens her claim. I’m not entirely sure what they are supposed to be good for.

    Jasmine — will have to remember that come next spring, and see if I can find a plant or some seeds. My less-than-stellar green thumb will be tested, but if there is hope of mosquitoes being discouraged, I’m game to try.

    As for schools soliciting funds, I used to donate to my university every year when they called — and I’d give to the scholarship and bursary fund. Why? Because when I was attending there, I once received a totally unexpected scholarship in the mail. I didn’t even know these existed, but although the amount wasn’t large it was an incredible gift and encouragement. I don’t mind contributing towards that for other students.

    And Yoghurt — yes! Love it! My favourite is currently a 14% fat, vanilla-infused Greek yoghurt. Lovely with blueberries! It’s almost impossible to find yoghurt with any kind of fat content in stores here though, 99% are “fat free” — and I have yet to find a “full fat” variety, although I understand they do exist.

    I hope you have a much less accident/annoyance laden week ahead. Good luck with the education of eatery owners/chefs.


    • We started nearly thirty years ago. I think the biggest info came from buying the Vegetarian Society magazine. Great on recipes, alternatives, ethics, and just general news and education. It’s not easy now but back in the 1980s it was no picnic. My university friend held a fortieth birthday party at a London restaurant in 1999. What was our vegetarian meal? Flipping lentils. I ask you. Not even decent lentils. It wasn’t as though we appeared in sandals and kaftans.

      Only used coconut oil for his hair years ago. Does smell nice. Will research. I use vinegar on mine. Olbas??? More research!

      Apples. I am very picky about them. Used to like Granny Smiths years ago and Star King (?) but they all seemed to deteriorate. Crap inside and daggy tasting peel. Decided Coxes were better. Sharp and tasty.

      Ginger ale. Would that be ginger beer or dry ginger? I think I’ve heard of mustard plasters before. Might be worth a try as we always have some in.

      Jasmine for your yellow thumb. Needs sun and not much water. Of course mine is outside. Methinks yours will want to come inside in winter.

      As for education, I truly believe that is a state responsibility. I agree with free education and free health care. There was a perfectly sensibly system in place in the UK when I went to school that provided free places/scholarships to bright kids. But not something I should have to fund personally. I’ve got stray animals and homeless and old people to donate to. We all make our choices.

      Lots of full fat yoghurt in Europe. Just. Lots. It does taste richer and creamier. Made a raita today with onion and cucumber, green chilli and ground roasted cumin seeds, salt and pepper. Should be good.

      My chef education is a passing phase when I am sufficiently annoyed/motivated. Did you check out the link I posted to Yvonne about Parm. Was quite good.


  7. Neat post roughseas. I didn’t know abut the Jasmine – great idea. Here in the city we rarely get any mosquitoes. Our city used to spray for them in suburbs but it became too controversial. The aloe Vera is a very common product over here and has a huge number of applications from cream to bandages to liquid, etc.

    The cheese discussion is above me. Our yogurt here is all low or no fat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul, I hope you are well. And alive. Still.

      Interestingly our council used to use pesticides for weeds on the street. Now they havk them out. In fact last month the street cleaner took them out of my path too, so we said a big thank you. He looked pleased. Probably don’t get many thanks.

      There is some aloe vera here but usually highly processed or for drinks. For injuries, just as easy to use the plant. Learned that tip from a botanist.

      Cheese is easy. Here we go.
      Some soft cheeses are made without rennet. Other cheeses are made with rennet. Rennet can be animal, vegetarian or microbial. The animal one comes from the stomach of a dead cow/sheep/goat so therefore isn’t suitable for vegetarians as it involves eating dead animals.
      Cheeses with non-animal rennet are ok for veggies.

      Funny about your yoghurt. Diana, from BC, above, said the same.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. We have a relatively new resident in the village who makes the most fantastic yoghurt. Last week, when I had house guests and needed yoghurt, there was none in the village. That day. There would be, the next. Poor man is in the throes of recovering from a hip replacement, so I suppose I shouldn’t complain, but when I looked through the ingredients of the Double Cream Greek Yoghurt that The Husband brought home from the supermarket, I had just about the same reaction as yours: gelatin, stabilisers (heaven only knows what they are – they must be some form of starch) and, of course, preservatives. Can’t have all the little probiotic thingies carrying on doing their thing, can we? No, we can’t the fussy, ignorant housewives will think that “their” creamy yoghurt has gone off!!

    My homemade cottage cheese has no rennet in it. I must remember to ask my artisan cheese supplier about the rennet she uses. I know you can get non-animal rennet.

    Hope the arm feels better.


    • Oh yuk. My partner doesn’t eat yoghurt on its own but likes it in cooking and today’s raita. But vanilla? With junk? What use is that? And gelatin! In yoghurt? Ufff.

      I should really learn how to make the stuff, preferably from soya milk. Project. Well, one day. I have enough projects right now.

      Your cottage cheese sounds good :)

      Arm is fine. Just still bears the scars. My own fault. Normally I use pans without a spout but this time …


      • Me too, I should also make my own. I used to. We will both eat it on its own and/or with fruit. I also use it for cooking and for desserts. That was why I wanted it last week – to make a whip with apricot puree, cream and yoghurt. It ended up being a rather stiff milk shake. Should have put in some brandy which would have made it a bit more forgivable!


  9. I never knew that about jasmine. My neighbour in SA had a Jasmine hedge around her backyard, and now I understand why. :) Sorry about your burn. That must have been so sore. :( I have plain no-fat yoghurt every morning. Hate the flavoured stuff.


  10. We always do Conejo branco. :) Unless we forget! Great tips about the jasmine and aloe. I’m pretty clumsy and burns/scalds are common place. Plain yogurt is ok but I have to put fruit or honey in it.


    • Conejo branco. Why is she cooking white rabbits I thought. And then remembered what I’d posted! Jasmine might come in useful in the Algarve. We used to stay at Olhao camp site and the mosquitoes were a nightmare. I’m not, so this was a rare occurence. Nasty pans with spouts :(
      I think fresh fruit or even honey is ok, not my choice, but it’s the junky stuff that’s added I dislike.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. “White Rabbits”? Intrigued and will have to dig up history for that. Literary? Very possibly old religious like after a sneeze saying? Morphed pagan saying? (Seems like that would be said in April though)
    Aloe is so handy – it grows like crazy here. But the jasmine is a new use for me. Deosn’t look like our jasmine – do you know what variety it is…expecting a plague of zika next spring and I hate chemicals (love geko and lizards and spiders outdoors, though…indoor life for them is far too dangerous)
    Nice you did get a response about your not really vegetarian note. Manners are so few and far between now. I wish cooks would stop putting cheese, and salt on everything. Heavy cream sauces, too. Food has flavors and it would be nice to taste the natural flavors sometimes. We eat out less and less.
    Sorry about the yogurt drought (We are so picky about our yogurt) and nasty burn. Hope both are resolved now.


  12. Lol… The gecko’s cute. Hey little fella! 😀 Didn’t know that about jasmine… will get some planted in new garden. 😊 Oh btw… you’re supposed to cook beans, not armses. Do hope that heals soon…cool gel pads are soothing… not cold though.


    • I like gecks. They look happy to me.

      Watch it with the jasmine in Ull. I’m not sure it’s sufficiently subtropical. Bring it inside or just grow it inside in pots. Anyway, how many mozzies do you get in Ull?

      Armses is nearly healed thanks. I did cook beanses too, just tinged with a teeny bit of armses. No good for vegitses.

      Cool gel pads cost money. Aloe vera is free.

      Liked by 1 person

      • They do, don’t they? ☺I have a neice named Jasmine. Mm… Could ask her to come and chase them away. 😄 Didn’t use to have mossies here period, but the world has gone mad.
        I like aloe vera. Used to grow wild in my garden in AZ.


  13. What I would call an eclectic post. A good job that you went into journalism and not nursing. Those dressings wouldn’t get you a Girl Guide’s First Aid badge that’s for sure.
    Religious intolerance and hate crime is alive and well in UK.
    I enjoyed the paragraphs on the restaurant menus.
    As for mosquitoes, if I am bitten in the night when travelling I console myself with the thought that based on alcohol consumption the blighter has surely got a monster hangover!


    • Eclectic? Maybe, but there is a loose connection throughout. If I was a WordPress word Wrangler or whatever the self-opinionated twerps call themselves, I would describe it as ‘segueing nicely from one topic to another’ which personally I think would be tautological.
      It’s a bandage not a dressing. A dressing goes underneath. In this case the aloe vera. I may not have got Girl Guides first aid badge, but I know the difference between a bandage and a dressing. So there! 😛 I can do a decent crepe bandage after years of sprained and broken ankles and wrists. But the purpose wasn’t support, rather to hold the gel in place.
      I quite like writing about food and menus. I can’t walk past a menu without reading it. I read a good one for a hotel in Tenby this week which is participating in a book fair. It had some interesting dishes but not totally whacky which some modern combinations seem to be.
      Think I just let one in :( I was closing the bathroom window – opened it to get a through draft to dry the floor – and a little blighter lurking on the frame sprung into action and flew in not out!


          • Not done those. Island hopping is great – if you like boats (I do). Isn’t Mykonos a bit commercial these days? Or even back in those days whenever they were? It rained when we were in Crete. We cut the bar out of the equation and drank red wine in the room. So much more relaxed.


          • Mykonos is very commercial but it is a convenient place to fly to. Normally we start in Piraeus but we are a bit nervous of Athens just now. Too many strikes, too many pick-pockets! Luton to Mykonos the best available option!


          • Nearly in Málaga bus station but some kind Spaniard intervened. So personally, no, so far, touch, wood etc.

            And we had things taken from the Land Rover at a service station on the costa del sol peaje. Spain huh? :D mind you we had compost taken from outside our house in Newcastle too.


          • We did that in st Petersburg. Entirely my fault. Kim gave me a bag to carry but not used to carrying bags I forgot and left it on a canal boat cruiser. In the bag was her mobile phone. She was not happy!
            I took the mini-bus and the metro back to the canal boat terminus and even at ten o’clock at night the boats were still running so even though I wasn’t terribly optimistic I went down to the office and enquired. No, nothing had been handed in the staff explained but if I waited ten minutes the boat we had been on would be coming back and they would see if it was on board. Eventually it arrived, a man disappeared inside the cabin and to my surprise and elation came back with the bag complete with all its contents.
            I couldn’t wait to get back as quickly as I could with the good news and to invite her to reassess her faith in human nature and I skipped along Nevski Prospekt, ran down the escalators, urged the Metro and the mini-bus to go faster and cursed the hotel lift for being so slow before getting back to the room to return the lost phone and to save my skin!

            Liked by 1 person

    • Paul, soz, I did see it earlier, and thought, I’ll get on with blah blah blah … and have forgotten. Will be over, unless blah blah gets in the way again. Good to see you around again. I kept thinking yesterday was Sunday so was worrying until I remembered it was Saturday!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Nothing like organic corn syrup. Ha ha. My husband and I try to eat strictly organic and try to eat locally grown, but the hubby is under the impression that organic cake, cookies, sugar, and chocolate bars are healthy. He’d love that yogurt!


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