(1937-11-10) Help to Relax
Details for Help to Relax
Summary: Vanessa comes to the Apothecary and Niamh to get help with relaxing in order to sleep.
Date: 10 November 1937
Location: MacDiarmarda Apothecary
Related: None

MacDiarmarda Apothecary (#1058R) Diagon Alley
Sat Nov 10, 1937 ((Mon Oct 29 18:01:30 2012)) (B,2 SE)

It is a fall day. The weather is cool and fair.

Built in the late 1700s, MacDiarmarda Apothecary has been in business from the building's inception. Windows line the walls facing the street, a fireplace creates a cheery atmosphere within. Shelves line the walls from floor to high ceiling, dusty wooden boxes of who knows what are held there. There is a large library ladder on wheels that helps the proprietress gather ingredients that may be out of her grasp normally. A counter stretches across the back of the store, a door behind it. There are two work areas, one next to the other. One is purely a 'cutting up' and preparing area, the table showing marks from use over the centuries. The other is the actual creating of a potion area- cauldrons, distillery and various sources of heat.
The store's interior is packed full of goods, with barrels of Purple Toad Warts, Flobberworm Mucus, Leech Juice and other large quantities of potion ingredients on the floor. Shelves that line the wall are filled with jars and old wooden boxes that contain Knotgrass, Aconite, Newt Eyes.. and many, many other herbs, roots and powders. Bunches of feathers, fangs and claws hang from the ceiling, and in some cases the unwary customer may knock into them. The combination of smells coming from all these different ingredients PLUS the age of the shop itself, creates an overall.. stench of bad eggs and rotten cabbages that permeates every corner of the room.

Saturday afternoon.. and there is actually more blue sky than there are clouds. The fireplace is going, a cheery warm fire giving the room an extra glow, supporting the gaslights that hang from sconces around the room. Niamh is sitting on the floor with a cardboard box before her, lifting small phials from the container, unwrapping each delicate glass and setting it on the floor beside her. One after another.. deliveries are like Christmas! So, on one side.. glass.. and the other side, tissue paper..

Vanessa slowly pushes open the door, and peers into the shop for a moment before she comes in. Seeing Niamh looking like a child unwrapping her christmas packages, she giggles slightly. "I'm not bothering you, I hope."

She really does feel like a kid at Christmas- on the floor with her goodies all around her? Looking up and around at the door, she smile warmly and shakes her head before she gets to shoving the tissue paper back into the box. "Oh no.. not at all.. just unpacking a shipment. I'm gettin' some lovlies for the holidays. Some of my customers are gettin' tired of the regular phials an' want something a bit fancier." Shifting her butt around the box so she can see Vanessa, her brows rise, "How are ye?"

Vanessa enters carefully, making sure to stay well clear of the lovely phials. "I'm doing quite well, actually. How about yourself?" She does look around, somewhat curiously.

Niamh gathers them together like a child possessive of her toys, and puts them back in the box, one by one. All blues first, then yellows, reds.. and begins to rise, wiping the dust off her skirt. "Good to hear.. glad ye are doin' well. An' I'm fine. Better'n fine, actually, truth be told." Her Irish lilt sounds.. bright, cheery. It's a fine day today! "I.. just need t'get this up and off the floor an' I'll give ye a hand with what ye may need. I found a book for ye that ye might be interested in."

Vanessa smiles. "Oh! I'd love to see it. I also came in to see if you might have some mint and chamomille. I've been having a little trouble sleeping from time to time, and thought a nice, soothing herbal tea would help."

Niamh moves the box to the counter before she slips under her counter to pick out the book. Placing it on the top now, it's title A Modern Herbal is stamped in rich gold lettering. "That is what ye want.. I'm sure." Now, however, she listens to the 'complaint', elbows leaning upon the countertop, her head canted up to look at the woman. "Trouble sleepin'.. is it because your mind is running fast? Ye can't get comfortable?"

Vanessa nods. "Very much so. I start thinking about something, and no matter what I do to try and sleep, I just can't get to it. It's not so bad on the nights when I don't have to go to work the next day, but if I do have to be at work, it's incredibly inconvient."

"Well, what do ye do?" Niamh's got enough information to begin to set her herbs up, and she casts questions over her shoulder as she moves. Everything she needs is at eye level, so it's easy and quick. "Makes sense that ye are a bit stressed a'fore work.. particularly if it's not an easy job.." Returning with a few containers, she opens one and sniffs it- mint!

Vanessa smiles. "I'm a nurse in one of the Muggle hospitals. And it can be stressful indeed, although less so when I'm assigned to the pensioners than to the treatment wards." She smiles at the smell of mint, even as she starts to flip through the book.

"A nurse?" Niamh begins to set her herbs out and pulls them into little piles; chamomile, of course, mint, some ginger, and perhaps one or two that Vanessa may not immediately recognize. "My brother Keenan's a healer, so I know your pain." She's sympathetic, certainly. "I'll set this as a tea. Ye steep it for no longer than 3 minutes.. aye? If longer, ye'll have a longer nap, an' if ye need to work, that won't be good." Next, of course, she needs the tea ball, and pulls it from a box that sits in front of her register. "There's nothin' in here that ye can't or shouldn't have." Okay, maybe one.. or two things. "It shan't give ye bad dreams. Simply give ye a chance to rest your mind.. an' give ye a chance to relax to sleep. No drivin', if ye do.."

Vanessa nods. "Does he work at St. Mungo's? If so, I might be getting the chance to meet him. Ranjali Winterthorne has offered to give me a tour of the hospital." She nods as she listens to the instructions. "No more than three, then, unless I want to sleep longer. So I'm guessing five is right out, then?"

"Aye, in Potions. It runs in the family on my mum's side. We've always done potions, an' he's no exception. Nor I." Niamh's proud of her heritage, Irish though it may be. She's not heard of Ranjali Winterthorne, however, and she shakes her head, "I've not heard of her, but that means nothing. I'm not there. I simply give them a hand when asked, an' keep myself well stocked." Setting the herbs in small packets, she pulls a bag out from underneath as well as her wand; makes it easier to transport the goods. With a quick wave to ensure the herb's safety and quality, she sets everything inside. Laughing, she shakes her head as she puts the wand back. "Aye. Five is right out. No more than three. Only when ye need it. It's not addictive, so ye won't have any concern there."

Vanessa nods as she continues to flip through the book. "Well, if potions run in your family, I guess it was more than natural for you to open an apothacary." She smiles, and then reaches for her purse. "How much do I owe you?"

Niamh grins and takes a step back, looking up in gesture. "Open, nothing. This was my gran's back when. An' my great-gran's. I inherited it. Mum didn't take it because da wasn't right about it." As she said, a line! As for how much? She returns to the counter and presses her lips together; she knows Imperial currency as well as wizard. "One pound even." Canting her head, "Alright?"

Vanessa shakes her head. "I can't just take your book. If it's been in your family, it must be important to you." She closes it, and sets it down, then turns to the tea. "So One Sickle Nineteen?" She grins as she gets out the coins. When on Diagon Alley, she does her best to use Wizarding currency.

"No.. this one's a new one. Published in '31. Nineteen-thirty-one. Ye are fine with it." A laugh sounds from the potions mistress, however, as things get translated over. "Save yer sickles. I know the muggle hospital doesn't pay ye in such, an' there's no need to go to the bank on my count. I take both. I just send the Imperial notes to my da. Easier to spend for him."

Vanessa giggles, and puts back the wizarding money, then gets out a pound note, shrugging. She does take the book, although she still looks up at you, surprised. "Thank you so much, Miss O'Shea. I'm very flattered."

Niamh shrugs lightly, and smiles warmly. "You're very welcome. I ne'er turn away someone in need, an' knowing you're a nurse.. ye truly need," and the smile turns towards a grin. "I'll keep stock on hand for ye now, and all ye need do is come in an' I'll have it pulled an' ready for ye." It's what she does with all her customers, actually.

Vanessa smiles, as she nods. "I'll make sure to stop in regularly. I mean, I've seen at least a couple of other shops, but I don't think I'd feel particularly comfortable patronizing them. Your shop is…Well, to be honest, it's homey. Welcoming…"

Niamh leans on the countertop again, her smile still playing on her features. "I can tell ye why, if ye'd like t'know. An' it's not conceit on my part either." Her accent is a singsong, "It's because we can cater to all.. squib, wizard.. an' technically, if it's brought out of the Alley, muggle. An', it's a healer's shop.. not just an apothecary where ye walk in an' walk out again. I want t'be sure that ye get what ye need. I'm not a healer, no.. but I do know aught of it.. an' my brother is always around t'ask, or to offer advice." She shrugs lightly again and straightens, "Broom shops an' pet stores are just for wizzies. Not for 'regular folk'." Strange that a wizard would call those not so 'inclined' regular folk, but she does. "See? No conceit. Nothin' about how nice I am, or how handsome my brother is now that he's shaved his whiskers.."

Vanessa nods. "Well, I truly wish more wizards and witches were like you…like that. Although I have met a number who do look beyond my lack of magic." She smiles, as she looks down. "Thank you, Niamh…may I call you Niamh? But thank you for being so welcoming.

"Aye, please. An' it's good t'hear that they do. Somewhere in all the lines, there are little muggles hidin'. My da is the best man that e'er lived, an' still does, an' he's a muggle. Nay, he's a man. Mum's a lucky woman, an' we're lucky t'have him." There. Niamh puts a hand on her box now and begins to remove the tissue paper once again, setting her glass bottles already unwrapped on the counter. "Well, I hope ye remember it.. an' I'd like t'see ye again darkening the shop, aye?"

Vanessa nods, smiling very brightly. "Well, I definitely plan to darken your doorstep again. To be honest, Niamh, I enjoy just chatting with you. It's sometimes hard for me to be comfortable with talking to someone, but I'm at ease around you.

Niamh grins, "An' ye haven't even had one o'my potions yet. I call that a record." A laugh follows as she's unpacking, setting all the colours together. "It's nice to have someone to talk to, aye. All my friends are workin'.. an' my brother. So it's me, an' the shop, an' those that come in lookin' for aught." She unwraps now, places.. tosses the tissue back into the box, and continues. "An' after hours, occasionally we all go out, but more often, it's to one house or another. Mind, I've been open later now than I've e'er been." Her voice lowers, "My gentleman friend's an Inspector, an' he keeps odd hours. So, I keep the light on an' a pot of tea for him."

Vanessa nods, a smile on her face, "You're fortunate to have a gentleman caller, of course. I've been rather lonely for a long time, but then, having to live as a muggle, it's harder for me, considering everything." She blushes slightly. "If I could find someone special to me, someone who would keep a light in her window and a pot on her stove for me the way that you do, I'd consider myself truly lucky."

Her head tilts, and there's a sympathetic smile that comes from the grin, and reaching out to press a hand on Vanessa's, she'll give it a squeeze if accepted. "Why don't ye contact the Ministry an' see if there's something they can put ye on? I can't an' won't say Mungo's, but maybe something?" She doesn't know, of course. It's not her world, not her experience. Still, doesn't mean Niamh won't try. She takes her hand back and exhales, the smile still playing. "It's been a long time comin' for me. I'm 32 now. Mum thought I'd be married an' kids long before now. Thankfully, the brothers have that taken care of." A quiet chuckle sounds soon after, "All that, an' I'm not sure they'll accept him. He's a Scot.. handsome as can be. An' my brother hates him."

Vanessa smiles. "Well, I have to say that he's truly lucky, if he's half as handsome as you are beautiful." She smiles, and thinks about the suggestion of going to the Ministry. "I've actually been thinking about that myself. Possibly seeing if there's something of a position for me in Muggle Relations.

Niamh blushes; the compliment doesn't repel her, and she offers a supportive smile. Raising her hand, she'll put a finger underneath the younger woman's chin. "Ye will find happiness, promise. You are a lovely lass." Dropping her hand once again, she gets back to unpacking her box. "An' I think that may be a good place for ye. I'd definitely encourage that. I'm sorry that I don't know anyone in that branch, though.. not enough that I could send ye with a recommendation."

Vanessa nods. "Well, Ran…er, Miss Winterthorne knows someone at the Ministry that she was thinking of introducing me too. A Miss Cooper, I believe she said…

"Miss Cooper? She's a Hit Wizard." Niamh presses her lips together in a fine line, her head shaking briefly, "I don't know her enough t'be able to say if she can help or not." She brightens soon after, however, and nods, "But I'm sure she'll know who can.. so I say give it a try, aye?"

Vanessa nods, as she collects her potion and the book. "I guess I will at that. And thank you so much for everything, Niamh. I'll be sure to stop in again soon." She is still a bit overwhelmed, but very happy.

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