Even though Aggie Smeeton has been dead for almost a century, I wouldn’t describe her voice as exactly “haunting!” In fact the sound she makes when singing, is more akin to a love-lorn cat on heat than the tuneful rendition of what I eventually made out to be Lavender’s Blue! Once the realisation hit me, my hackles immediately went up and I could cheerfully have strangled her had she had something to strangle!
Me: Aggie! I thought we agreed we would only communicate in the virtual world?
Aggie, (chuckling): Oi don’t be knowing what you mean Sue. Oi just be singin’ away to mesen like oi used to when oi were a young ‘un.
Me: Yes, but that song …
Aggie: Oi knowed it be the song your lad be ‘eving at ‘is wedding, but oi don’t be doin’ no spyin’. I do ‘ev heard it ever so many toimes when oi wuz growing an’ that’s ‘cause Lavender do be the best of ‘erbs fer curing all manner o’ ills an’ there weren’t a cottage door didn’t ‘ev a bush on it growin’ near.
Me: Oh, that good eh?
Aggie: Aaarh, deed it be. Old Joe used to mek an ointment frum it which were raight good stuff to put on cuts and grazes. We wuz always gittin’ them one way or t’other, specially the farm chaps, but a little dob o’ that would soon git a scab on it.
Me: So …?
Me: How do you mek … er make it then?
Aggie: Well that be fer me to know and you t’ wonder! Remember oi got old Joe’s book when ‘is story were done and that little cure made me a pretty penny along the way!
Me: But you’re dead! You don’t need pretty pennies where you are!
Aggie: Oh don’t oi? ‘ow would you be knowing where oi be?
Me: O.K. suit yourself.
Aggie: Now then, no need t’ git mardie! Oi’ll gi yer me recipe for sweet dreams instead which yer can pass on t’ yer boy. Not that ‘e’ll be doin’ much sleepin’ on ‘is weddin’ day oi’ll bet!
Yer want 3 parts lavender flowers to mix in wi’ any or all o’ these if you can git ‘em. ‘op flowers, Rosemary, Marjoram, Sweet Cicely and a couple or three drops of lavender oil.
Git yersen a bit of muslin or silk, that be best, and stuff wi’ the leaves. Yer put this inside yer pillow and oi’ll guarantee yer sleep like a babe!
Now then, foller me and oi’ll show yer ‘ow it goos …
Lavender’s blue dilly, dilly, lavender’s greeeeeeeeen …!!!