Good and clean and fresh, tra la la

Funny, the things you remember from childhood. One of my clearest recollections is sitting on the bathroom floor while my mother washed her hair in the basin above me: I think I may have been pulling at the weave (and laddering no doubt) of her nylon stockings – in the early eighties everyone’s mum seemed to wear beige nylon stockings. Anyway, using an old metal measuring jug, she would rinse her hair with a tea made from the rosemary in the garden. To my six or seven year old mind it smelt rather peculiar, although I have a feeling this was because it wasn’t Pantene, VO5 or Botanicals or whatever the equivalent was back then.

Nevertheless that rosemary rinse (and all the other quirks of my family, to be sure) must have had some effect because the other morning I read the label of some body cream or other and wondered why on earth I was putting petrochemicals on my skin when, enhanced, scented and coloured or not, they were surely of the same family as the whiffy butterscotch coloured smog which hangs over the south Durban basin all winter long and is responsible innumerable cases of asthma and cancer.

Now I’m not as patient as my mother, and I’m certainly no Margaret Roberts, so at the health shop this morning I was pleased find a good stock of Esse organic skincare products. In fact, I actually smiled when they swiped my card because many of the ingredients are certified organic and fair trade, and the products themselves are virtually free of petrochemicals. Oh, and they’re also made in Richmond just up the road so the air miles are, erm, about nil. And I met the owner at a party once – he’s nice.

I do, however, fear for the life of my bank balance and can’t take this habit too far. Apart from rosemary tea, what else can I make for free from the garden?