Today's new experiment: making herbal teas for my sore throat and headcold using herbs from my garden. I've planted them all on purpose in recent years, but until now I've only used the culinary herbs. Today, mindful of the rising price of the various potions I buy to scare away lurgies, I opted for some diy, using and checking the knowledge I already have on the properties of specific herbs.
I gathered some thyme, lemon verbena, bergamot bee balm, borage, sage and lemon balm and put it in a tea pot and covered it with recently boiled water. The resultant brew was quite nice. Maybe we will survive peak oil after all.
I carried on a little with my kelly green scarf. After I saw this in a recent Press article:
I decided that I will make scarves (or at least this one green one) which I will eventually stop using as scarves and sew into a big blanket for our bed. The picture above is of some yarn bombing which took the form of loads of pieces of knitting sewn together to make a giant cover for a container in earthquake scarred Sumner, a suburb of Christchurch.
Also, I lay in bed, cough mixture and tissues at hand, and had another look at The Culture of Sewing. This excellent book is one I read last year but have never written the responses to it which formed in my head as I read. The chapter I am most interested in is by Cheryl Buckley: "On the Margins: Theorizing the History and Significance of Making and Designing Clothes at Home".
Buckley's mother and aunt were sewists and Buckley draws on their life stories and that of an older woman, Mary Skelton (1897-1982), all from the north east of England. Buckley addresses some of the theoretical demands of the questioning (erosion?) of the subject, noting of her peers:
"Most of these writers have tried to conceptualize female subjectivity and the place of the female subject in historical writing within a contemporary theoretical context which is indifferent if not hostile to the notion of the subject."
This book was published 14 years ago and in that time I've read approximately no new studies of feminist theory, so please speak up in the comments if I'm missing significant new paradigms.
Bucklet is conscious of writing in a style which "connects with women outside academic discourse" and I think she is successful. Not all the writers in this collection exhibit the same commitment. I felt a strong sense of identification with this woman who had gone to university and loved it and then in her subsequent research career had found a way to link the lives of the working class women who people her family with the theoretical and historical perspectives of academic gender studies. Of course, Cheryl Buckley went on to become a very highly respected and successful academic and I went on to live in suburbia in a small South Island town and make herbal tisanes. Post-modernism may hate the idea of a central subject, but for me the lived experiences of women in history and women historians are both fascinating and also anchors to which I am drawn. In a world where women are constructed against ideals and inevitably, always found wanting (e.g. the skinny beautiful girl ideal, the perfect mother ideal), real women who are flesh and brain and action and story, not fragments of someone else's fleeting judgement (the bludger, the ugly one, the crone, the man-hating feminist) are valuable, special, interesting to me.
Hopefully, more on this another day. I'm off to make some more herbal tea and scoff some more vitamin C.