Monday, 13 September 2010

Fragrance Blotters Revisited - A Surprisingly Flexible Friend

I plan to post Part Two of the Bonkers Rail Trip later this week, though work and preparations for a visit from my brother and his wife have rather overtaken me for the moment. So this is just a quick line to mention an innovative and unexpected use I found for a perfume tester strip at the weekend, while madly cleaning the kitchen in anticipation of my brother and his wife's visit...

Yes, I reached for a smelling strip from my recent German sampling session for the very specific purpose of reaching elusive bits of encrusted foodstuffs caught in the interstices around the fridge shelves. In theory these heavy glass sheets can be removed, giving you complete access to the rear wall and sides of the fridge. However, as with metal oven racks, I find that once you take the shelves out they are the very devil to shove back in. The degree of aperture is awkward and there simply doesn't seem to be enough manoeuvring space for the re-insertion procedure without taking the whole door off or guillotining yourself at an angle of 45 degrees.

But a tester strip is firm and slim enough to slide down behind the shelves and fetch out those little specks of food that resist capture by all other means. Flushed with success, I began to wonder to what other handy uses I could put these versatile bits of paper (preferably unused strips, obviously, but there is always the unperfumed end if needs must).

Well, obvious applications would be bookmarks, by which I mean in a conscious "place recording" sense, as opposed to slipping the strips anywhere into a book to preserve the integrity of their scent, as discussed in my earlier post on this topic.

Then I have often resorted to tester strips (some of which will inevitably be lurking at the bottom of my handbag at any given time) to scribble notes on, though space constraints make this a far from ideal format. Why. only the other day at the Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof I managed to transcribe the whole of the contents page of "Bass Professor" and "Bass Quarterly" on to two thin and rather flimsy blotters, to help Mr Bonkers make an informed choice when asking me to custom purchase a copy of either magazine (he went for both).

Now if the strips were a bit wider - more like the ones in Chanel boutiques, or possibly even bigger still - they could be perfectly serviceable for capturing spiders, along similar lines to the hotel barman last week with his tooth mug and paper coaster.

And I wouldn't completely rule out flossing with them, but the wide gauge is probably only suited to a couple of my gappier molars. Hmm, looking at that picture, I can see a new use for a business card, which I usually have on me as well...

Also, I have eaten yoghurt on work trips with the back end of a toothbrush and even a comb (less successfully, it must be said). Tester strips as cutlery might be pushing it a bit, for knowing my luck I would get a mouthful of yoghurt, soggy card and the latest Opium flanker (of which more anon).

Photo of Maria Shriver from


  1. You always do find the most obscure 'particles' to clean those nooks and crannies ;-i

  2. Ah yes... in extremis - and not lately, I hasten to add - I have been known to floss with hair or toe nail clippings, but decided not to mention it for fear of losing my entire readership at a stroke...

  3. As the Brother's Wife in question, I am flattered by all this anticipatory fridge manicure. I'm more of moulds-are-part-of-the-ecosystem girl myself.

  4. Hi Brother's Wife!

    Yes, this was the first time the fridge had been cleaned since its purchase, and it was indeed in honour of your visit! Visitors are great for prompting a temporary surge in housekeeping standards...

    : - )

    Actually, there was a little mould on the gruyere, which I was concerned you might notice....but if so, it sounds as though you took it in your stride.