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  • Writer's pictureThe English Translator

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

Updated: Apr 11, 2021

Seventh writing prompt – 12 December 2020

The gauntlet was thrown down by The challenge to pick a word from her teabag of the day courtesy of her tea Advent calendar and to write for a whole 15 minutes to see what you produce. I duly took up the challenge and am now presenting you with 5 minutes of unedited, undiluted insert epithet here in the comments. Please note: these are random musings and no facts have been verified! Seventh writing prompt – 12 December 2020


Today’s teabag was about baking but the main ingredient was stinging nettle.

The word that struck me the most about today’s teabag (well, actually two words: rolling and turning) was rolling. It took me back to the seventies and my wicked new yellow Puch bike. A name I could never say at the time (not sure I can today without swallowing my tongue). Easter holidays were well under way and a couple of friends and my good self decided there could be nothing better than to cycle from Morecambe to Aysgarth where my friend’s aunt lived. A mere 5 hour trip. It was that glorious year of long hot days filled with nothing but sunshine and happiness. I must have been around 14 at the time and thought a quick trip over the border into nearby Yorkshire sounded just the ticket. So, we packed our provisions on our trusty steeds and off we set.

These were the days when GPS hadn’t even been a twinkle in a navigator’s eye. It was a time of stopping and starting and whipping out the ordinance survey map to make sure you didn’t end up on the highroads of Scotland. We were making good time and it was a pleasant cycle, although my legs certainly felt the hills and dales around Ingleborough but being in such open terrain had one major disadvantage. No shade. We all got the most tremendous sunburn known to man. And, two of us had red hair so you can imagine the blistering and bubbling skin that was to come. We, on the other hand, were blissfully unaware.

At some point later in the day, we arrived in Aysgarth. I remember my bemusement upon ringing the aunt’s doorbell and having it opened by the very same person who had just waved us off 80-90 km ago (that’s 50-60 miles in old money). The aunt was the spitting image of my friend’s mum, mainly because she was an identical twin. When you don’t know, it’s hard to figure out how to act around what you perceive to be a carbon copy. She was familiar but not. It did my 14-year-old head in with the formalities of it all.

Anyway, what has this to do with rolling (and turning) I hear you cry. Nothing really, it’s just a little bit of background information for you because I know you like that kind of thing. Okay, now imagine the heat of the day has now made itself felt and our poor little achy legs are all inflamed. It’s common knowledge that when you’ve been got by a stinging nettle, you rub a dock leaf on it. So, it seemed like a good idea to do the same thing with sunburn. After downing about a gallon of water at the aunt’s house, we ventured into the woods just round the back and spied what we thought was something similar to dock leaves. It smelt a bit funny and as I bent down to take a closer look, I fell head over heels down a steep hill, rolling and turning in a frothy sea of green and white until I reached the bottom in a heap of funky-smelling messiness. I had just come up-close-and-personal with wild garlic. Nice. And that, my dears, is why I know exactly what allium ursinum looks like.

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