Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Lent lilies and mouldy dough

We’re very grateful to Jan Cooper, of Sandwich, Kent, who sent us the following in March 2017:

I was born in Tricketts Cross, Ferndown, east Dorset, in 1944.  What a varied but of country that was!  River,water meadows, old gravel pits grown over, woods of oak, birch and also pine woods stretching onto moorland.   We called wild daffodils [Narcissus pseudonarcissus] Lent lilies.  We had them all over our property!  One morning we woke up and every single one was gone!  A little while later an old woman came knocking at our door with a huge basket of them, asking if we wanted to buy a bunch.  It was that this moment my father exploded!  He had had all his chickens pinched a couple of days before.

Many years ago my long dead mother had a friend who was a local junior school art teacher.  She was almost white blonde I remember with an interesting history in that her mother had been washed up on a Northumbrian sea shore in the mid 1800s as a small baby and found by fisherman.  They also found wreckage from a Norwegian boat, but no survivors.  They took the baby to the local farm and she was raised as the only girl in a farming family of all boys, so she was highly prized!  Maybe she married one of the brothers, as Irene recalled growing up in the farmhouse and seeing her mother making bread and always putting a lump of dough on the mantelpiece alongside other older lumps, shifting them up each time, so the new piece went nearest the central clock and the oldest lumps at the very ends.  These were old and green, and when the boys cut themselves on the farm they would come and pick a piece of dough from the end and rub it on the injury.  This was, of course, well before antibiotics as we know them were invented.

Image:  cultivated daffodils, Pavilion Gardens, Brighton, East Sussex, March 2015.