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Reading Aloud 2

Mrs Rivers

Pension day yet again and I went to see Mrs Rivers.
She told me about a group of Parish Councillors who had been to see her for some reason or other. One in particular had caught her attention. Not in a favourable way, mind you, for he wouldn’t stop talking. ‘Fancy insisting on holding the floor all the time!’ She was indignant and I could see why. Everybody should have a chance! And she went on and on, from Parish Councillors to Iceland to musicians to family business to food problems, and so on. I could hardly get a word in.

Eventually she asked my opinion on her herb tea. She had served me a cup of that, her own produce, made up of herbs from her garden. A vegetarian friend of hers had given her the idea. She had taken a bit of everything and as a very individual touch had added a … geranium leaf, a scented geranium, please. She had no idea what sort of condition her tea would be good for. Neither did I. She did think it was better than ordinary tea. ‘I’ve become converted to herb tea,’ she chuckled. ‘Normal tea is really not at all good for you,’ she went on. She had quite reversed her opinion from a few years ago when she first knew me and asked me surprized: ‘What’s wrong with tea?’ I was into herb tea then.

What did I think about the flavour of her herb tea, she wondered. Did the geranium leaf have an impact after all? Some herb teas can taste of straw, she told me. I was thinking to myself that this was a remarkable comparison and said that hers tasted very nice, a blend of flavours, I couldn’t really tell which was which. Her vegetarian friend had praised it, too, she said and questioned me about this famous Dr Nessie who used nothing but herbs in his therapy. Did I know what herbs exactly he used and what they were good for? I was afraid I couldn’t give her much information, being somewhat out of touch with Dr Nessie.

Soon after leaving her I began to develop a headache. I didn’t think it was the herb tea. I did try a cup of normal tea to see if that made any difference. It didn’t.