Jan 152015

To See Ourselves As Others See Us……23 Sept 2012-lecture-herbal-talk


Is not always very flattering!


Being an Herbalist may not always be a hugely lucrative vocation, and I do supplement my income with a variety of fill in positions, but really, things are not that bad! They’re actually pretty good! Very positive, and life is good!

However, this morning, after a night shift fill in at a local winery, while I was minding my own business, making use of the fact that I was already in town to do some shopping, I was almost ……….almost, taken for the perpetrator of a break in!Sad-uncertain-face

Well actually, my poor little car was investigated as a suspected getaway vehicle!

But I guess as I am the owner and driver…..


How this turn of events came about was all quite innocent on my (or our, – my and the Echo’s) part.

I wanted to get some hooks for a project I am working on at home and also a couple of large bags of potting mix to fill a half wine barrel I am replanting.

So after work I nipped down to the shopping centre to save a trip back in later on. It is a 15-20 minute drive from home, so I always get as many jobs out of the way as possible in the one trip.

As I knew I wanted potting soil I parked my car near the rear entrance of the high wall surrounding the garden center. Leaving it as far out of the way of any through traffic as possible, but close enough to carry out the heavy bags of potting mix.IMGP4166

Doing this also meant I was inadvertently near the rear of the adjoining row of shops.


I finalised my purchases at the hardware store and garden-center and went back through the garden center with my receipt to collect the potting soil.

The garden centre lady checked my receipt and the young man assisting her said he would get the potting mix for me. I went with him to check we had the correct ones, and then he opened the back gate for me and kindly went to get the bags.Rpm60Lpottmixlg1

As I came out the gate I saw two police officers, a man and a lady with all their guns and torches and whatever else they have hanging off of their belts and pockets (all that stuff must weigh a ton!) checking out my car and peering in through the windows.

My first thought was – Oh I wish I’d got to cleaning it on the weekend! It’s very dusty and messy inside! – And then, as probably should be a first reaction, “What’s happening, what’s going on?”

Seeing me, they came over and the lady said jokingly, and laughing, “Ahhh! Here’s the dodgy lady owner!… The dodgy lady from Keyneton!”

(Which of course let me know they had already checked out the registration. So they knew who I was though they probably couldn’t pronounce the surname! But dodgy!? Really!? Was this because they knew I was an herbalist? Did they know I was an herbalist? Does everyone think herbalists are dodgy?! What did she mean?)

The male officer then laughed and said, “It’s just parked in an unusual spot.”Police-officers-male-and-female

(Which immediately made me feel guilty and think perhaps it was actually illegal to park there and I was going to get a fine. Authority figures always make me feel as though I’ve been caught doing something wrong!)

“We’ve had a break in and we thought it might be a getaway vehicle.” he added.

“Oh, goodness!” I said, relieved I wasn’t in trouble, “I’m just getting some potting soil.” I indicated behind me to the open gate, and right on cue the garden center man appeared out of the gate way carrying the two heavy bags.

I unlocked the car and opened the hatch for him and as the police officers were walking away I joked to them, “Being almost mistaken for a criminal is the most exciting thing that’s happened to me for months!”

They laughed and the garden center man smiled “Almost!” he said.

“Yes” I agreed “almost!”


I guess I don’t look very much like a criminal type. Everyone seems to think it’s so funny!

I’m not quite sure if that’s not a little bit disparaging. Well not really, I would hate to be constantly suspect or wrongly accused of anything.

The way some people are sent to jail for years and then found innocent! – It would kill me through frustration!


I hate not being able to explain myself so that I am believed.

I don’t know how they stand it! Poor things!


But somehow, being considered laughable as a break and enter type also makes me feel rather dull and middle-aged and “tame”. Which of course I am I guess, sad but true!

Herbalist-mortar-pestle-grinding-macerating-preparation-herbal-apothecaryHowever, I can comfort myself, only partly true!

My life and what I do is definitely not dull and boring compared to most people’s days! Fairly tame perhaps, but very useful, interesting, practical, almost magical actually and satisfyingly “out there”!



So… that was it. My recent brush with the law.

And none the worse for it thankfully! Though I might have to wash and vacuum my car later.

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