Daily Archives: March 31, 2010

Grow your own drugs: tips from a man who knows his onions

The title of this programme sounds a lot more titillating than the content transpires to be. We’re not really given lessons on extracting mephedrone from plant food, or tips on the best way to grow dope in your airing cupboard. Nonetheless, I learnt a few things. For a kick-off, I’d never heard of an ethnobotanist before, which is what James Wong is. He seems a nice enough chap, but I have serious kitchen envy. His (if it is his -now I know Nigella fakes her kitchen, I’m always suspicious) is a huge barn-like affair, with glass ceilings.

Like many children, I used to love concocting potions, and Wong is a grown-up doing it a lot more skilfully, though it still looks fun. We’re in an era where there has been a backlash against claims made for alternative or ‘natural’ remedies. Wong is careful with what he says his plant remedies can do, but he’s a boy who knows his science, so it’s not all airy fairy either. We get the proper names of the chemicals in plants that have anti-inflammatory or antibiotic properties or whatever.

We meet Gemma who suffers from dry skin and Wong shows her how to make a batch of moisturising cream from the water used to boil oats mixed with eye of newt and toe of frog. Ok, honey, beeswax and almond oil. He says he could have used lard. Anyhow, it works, she tells us a few weeks later.

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Holby City: Choose your Valentine

Imagine Dangerous Liaisons remade with Connie Beauchamp in the Glenn Close role. Not such a stretch, is it? It’s a tad harder to think of Elliott Hope as John Malkovitch though. I was reminded of this film while watching last night’s Holby.

Over a surgical procedure, Elliott and Connie debated which was the better of the two Dr Valentines, Penny or Oliver. Elliott, of course, champions Penny. Despite her faux pas with Scott James, Elliott likes her warm heart, her try-hard attitude and her lovely red hair (he didn’t mention that, but how could you not love Penny’s hair?). Connie, meanwhile, prefers Oliver, who is pushy, ambitious, cocky and attractive. Just Connie’s kind of guy, once she’s knocked him into shape.

So Connie proposed a little bet. She bet that Penny wouldn’t be able to handle a day’s responsibility without letting Oliver take over and make all the decisions for her. Elliott quoted Che Guevara at her, something about plodders being winners eventually. Connie quoted back. “You only get one shot,” she said. “Make sure it’s between the eyes.” And the author of this quote? “Connie Beauchamp.” You’ve got to love her.

Much of the episode, therefore, consisted of Oliver and Penny being sent on various errands, and it looked as though Connie was right. Penny defers to her brother if there’s a big decision to be made, and he blagged his way into scrubbing into an operation that Penny had been promised, and took the credit for some research that she’d done about which heart valve should be used. The cad!

He got his come-uppance, though. All episode long he was hankering after a new nurse who wore red Doc Marten boots with her uniform (unconventional!), but she dumped him later in the bar because of his behaviour to Penny, leaving him with a bruised ego and a hefty champagne bill.

Now, a bit of a shock revelation.

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