Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Medlars and rosebuds, Autumn's last offerings

The back walls of the glasshouse were white washed whilst I was in Prague, and now look fresh, clean and wholesome. Already I'm imagining a row of big fat shiny blue Chinese pots, filled with the glossy leaves that seem to mark out citrus trees in the nursery. Frances Mayes writes about fabulous Scicilian lemons, the Meyer lemon? I need to reread.

I pick the last of the season's rosebuds, and stash them into my pocket. I shall make rose petal bathing salts, adding some lavender seed heads and leaf trimmings. One of the loveliest things about Prague was the swishy hotel, all glass doors, thick, heavy bed linen and a marble-rich bathroom complete with toiletries from the White Company. How cool is that? Well, not as cool as the range of bathing salts for sale in Prague's vast number of Manufaktura stores. Bath salts? Isn't that a bit "granny?"

Not after smelling this Dead Sea salt enriched with melissa and calendula flowers; cedar, ginger and oak bark; or simply lavender flowers. I couldn't choose between them, so bought all three. And having trolled all around Prague each day sightseeing, it was bliss to return to the hotel, drop some ice cubes into a tall glass and top up with something lovely from the guest's honesty bar (how cool is that!), run a bath and sprinkle in the bathing salts and just float away.

So here's my version of Prague's bathing salts;
Take a kilo bag of rock salt from the Camargue*, that you bought in Cora during the summer. Empty into a large ceramic mixing bowl and add the rose buds and rose petals from the garden, together with any late lavender flowers and a couple of good handfuls of lavender leaves snipped into shards. Mix and mix with your hands and gently decant into bowls or an old white ceramic salt pig. Arrange bowls on window ledges around the house, and place the salt pig on the bathroom shelf, easily reached after a day spent in safety boots. Lovely.

* Of course you don't have to use a particular type of sea salt, just one that you enjoyed buying and use about the kitchen. The coarser the better.

No comments: