Friday, August 03, 2012

tansy ATM gold


I planted this in the herb bed last year and  had forgotten its name when it shot up and flowered this year. It is tansy.  Its flowers have traditionally been used as an insect repellent.  It was rubbed over meat to keep flies off. In the Middle Ages it was one of the strewing herbs used to keep the floor sweet smelling.

At the foot of Mount Sion on the corner of Chapel Place we sit and watch people pass. Instead of coffee it is lemon and ginger tea for me in a smart white teapot. Opposite in the flank of the newsagent which boasts a sub post office, is an ATM. When cards are inserted and money is dispensed the machine makes a contented if monotonous noise like a nest of small birds.

Sellotaped to the counter of the building society is a big gold medal with a ribbon. No mention of The Olympics of course. The name is now copyright and belongs to the sponsor. "It's not real," says the teller, a plump and friendly girl. "It's made of chocolate." It is wrapped in gold paper. No where it seems can you escape the longing for medals.







2 comments:

Lorenzo da Ponte said...

No doubt the tansy has a Latin name which will never supplant tansy in casual speech. Nor should it. I understand the need for Latin names and the way the sequence of words proceeds from the larger to the smaller sub-division. Also I accept their usage by that first-rate communicator. Monty Don, when there's a need to make a precise distinction.

But it seems an area ripe for snobs. Have you ever come up against this or is the subject neither pleasant nor lacking in interest for NTT?

Plutarch said...

Tanacetum vulgare, for the record. One of its old names is artemesia domestica, a reference to its use in the house.