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Friday, November 03, 2006

Please Mum, I need a drink.

There are strange ways that superstitions arise. Some must arise from actual events and others from more fanciful and imaginative musings.

The Marula tree has a fruit which is high in Vitamin C. The fruit is used jelly and jams - as well as potent base for an alcoholic drink. When the fruit falls into the water it can ferment and become a potent drink.

Elephants, so the legend goes, have been known to imbibe a little too much and then stagger away from the tree. There is sometimes great damage to fields and crops. Can you imagine the sight of these huge animals wandering aimlessly as they try to come to terms with the effect of the alcoholic stimulation? The problem is that an elephant drinks around 150 litres a day. They would need to drink vast quantities of fermented marula juice before it would affect their bodies.

We do sometimes need to remind children to drink - because they can feel dehydrated so quickly - and we don’t want that to happen in the middle of the examination. Remind your child that while an adult is encouraged to drink around two litres a day on a `detox’ diet a child walking towards an examination needs much less.

Oh - one more useful fact - baboons too like to eat the marula fruit. They grab great handfuls and literally stuff their mouths.

Very few parents in the leafy suburbs of England, however, will be faced by elephants, marula trees and baboons.

The modern parent has to cope with different pressures. The next time the family is shopping in one of the major supermarkets keep a close watch on your `pre examination’ child. If you see an intelligent head bent over a selection of jam jars be very careful.

There may be a myth circulating among Year 6 children about the virtues of marula based jam. Preserve the myth - it may actually help on the day. Suggest to your child that a couple of mouthfuls of water before an examination may help.

As a parent all you need to do is simply forget to put a few marula seeds or nuts into the `examination lunch box’.

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