When Pamela’s first child was born, a friend of hers gave her an ointment based on coconut oil, comfrey and ginger, telling Pamela that her father used it when someone got hurt, because of its calming and healing properties.

It actually proved very effective, and when the container was almost empty, Pamela told Barbara that she was keen to try and make some more, because she wanted to keep something natural in her bag to use on her little girl, if and when the need arose.

Because the ointment she had received as a gift had a slight drawback (coconut oil melts at temperatures above 20 degrees and is thus not always possible to carry around), they decided to try to improve the formula.

They spent a few days enthusiastically and relentlessly researching, in an effort to try and develop an ointment with the same basic properties – but with some added ingredients that would make it more efficacious and give it a more wide ranging action.

Everything was ready. Different ingredients (all natural and in the main organic) were on the kitchen table, as well as books on essential oils and some recipes for home-made ointments they had downloaded from the internet – all different, one from the other. Thanks to Barbara’s extensive knowledge about the properties of the ingredients, they decided to try and invent something totally new.

The kitchen became a veritable experiential laboratory and Barbara and Pamela delved deep into an adventurous and exciting game.

Initially they they made up the proportions of the vegetable oils and the beeswax (the foundation of the ointment), looking one another in the eye and allowing themselves to be inspired. Then, starting from the properties that they wanted to give the ointment, they chose the essential oils, the other ingredients and in the same way, the quantities.

A meticulous written record was kept of all the different stages, with the intention that this was to have been the first of many recipes that would allow them to achieve the desired result.

Eventually, after 4 hours, their work finally drew to a close and there were lots of lovely jars all filled to the brim and lined up in a row on the table. The time had come to clean and tidy up the kitchen (which, by now, was an absolute mess).

As they put away the different utensils, Pamela trapped Barbara’s pinkie in a cupboard door! A few seconds passed before they realised what had happened, and when they reopened the door the finger had already become bruised and purple. She looked at her in the face, and handing her a jar of the ointment said straightforwardly: “Let’s try it!”

The effect was astonishing and the consistency was so perfect that they they decided there that the recipe did not need improving.