About Geanina

Good day, well met!

I'm Geanina, the Merry Tudor.

I am a stillroom historian, forager and geography teacher based in London.

I'm fascinated with the stillrooms of the 16th and 17th century, where the scents of roses, herbs and spices filled the air and the maids and gentlewomen used skills and recipes passed on from one generation to the next.

In the stillroom, medicines were prepared for the household, herbs were dried, cosmetics concocted, aromatic waters were distilled and foods were preserved. 

 

Join me on my journey through the wonderfully fragrant Tudor stillrooms and gardens!

 

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Growing up in Romania

All my grandparents were farmers and village people. As I was growing up in the 80s and 90s, just before and around the collapse of the USSR, life in the country was hard, you had to be versed in the art of self-sufficiency, as the most modern aspect of home life was electricity. 

There were no indoor taps, toilets or heaters, instead there was water to be carried from the well with a bucket, fire to be made every day and food to be cooked on a wood burning stove. 

There were many animals to tend to, from dawn to dusk: cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks, geese, even a horse for a while.

 

And then there was the farmland - it needed so much attention!

I remember whole long days spent in the fields with my grandparents and aunties, harvesting potatoes or filling up sacks with wheat grains or weeding the corn field.

Wanted a nice dress or a take away? Well, you couldn't just rush to a store as such places didn't exist, only in towns and cities.

 

Villagers were making cloth from flax or hemp fibres and turning them into smocks or skirts, complete with the finest embroideries. They were making thick coats and hats from sheepskin, suitable for facing the harsh Siberian winds and blizzards in winter. Absolutely everything was hand crafted at home. 

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My grandmother Maria (on the right) and her sister in the 1950s

There were cool rooms in each house where all kinds of pickles, homemade cheeses, smoked meat and sausages were kept as there was no fridge.

We all knew the plants growing around us, including us, the kids. We knew which ones were poisonous and which ones we could eat. We used to snack on sweet acacia flowers or mallow nutlets and we knew to squeeze the yellow juice of greater celendine onto warts. 

And although village life was hard, I've always felt happiest when closer to the land, the rivers, the trees and the meadows, and every year I was so looking forward to returning to the simple life in the little village in the hills.

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My mum and her 5th grade classmates, harvesting onions. Practical agricultural work was part of the school curriculum.
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