Friday, 29 June 2012

Cuvée Coincidence: A Vintage Bottle Of Corbières With An Unexpected Bouquet...

In the run up to the move, ongoing chaos continues to reign at the outgoing Bonkers Towers. Anyone who thinks I am exaggerating and that I most probably have everything under control should take a look at my desk. But I did say I would try to maintain a skeletal blogging schedule in the coming weeks, so here is my latest tenuously perfume-themed post...

People say that pet owners end up looking like their animals, or perhaps they already did to start with. This is particularly true of my friend Clare, who sports an identical corkscrew fringe to her cocker spaniel Meg. To be honest, I don't think I bear much of a physical resemblance to my cat, other than a few random brown splodges on my cheeks or a bit of a rheumy eye from time to time. Charlie Bonkers wears integral kohl eyeliner for instance, which is a look I can only work in a very dark place, ideally after a few drinks. Ditto, any of those False Lash-Volumising-Million Perkily Kinked Spider Leg-type mascaras.

Now Charlie Bonkers is additionally profoundly deaf, with a collapsed ear (unrelated to her deafness), five teeth, a sparse showing of whiskers - all but two of which are on one side of her face - and a bald and "floating" chin, so-called because there is a disconcerting amount of "travel" in the skin around her jaw. So yes, I would venture to say that I have a fair way to go yet before I resemble my own (admittedly rather elderly and decrepit) cat.

But if you also find you don't bear a marked similarity to your pet, don't be dismayed. For starters, in some category of household goods or clothing or other there is bound to be at least one, if not numerous products named after you. Yes, only the other day I encountered one such piece of furniture - why, the comprehensively labelled "Vanessa Traditional Solid Mahogany Large Extendable Oval Dining Table" in question even sported authentic stumpy legs! Then there is a Spanish make up range called Vanessa (or used to be in 1983 when I spotted it), and a pair of patchwork leather bendy mules bearing my name, made by an Austrian bendy mule and clog company I once interviewed.

And if I didn't feel sufficiently commemorated and immortalised by these Vanessa-themed consumer items (there were others, but I'll spare you), until the other week I was the proud owner of a vintage bottle of Corbières called Vanessa (a happy find by my brother and his wife on holiday in France). I say "until the other week" because Clare and I have since gone and drunk it, toasting the fact that I had sealed the deal on the new house.

Anyway, it was only on the day we downed the wine that I noticed on the label on the back of the bottle the following lyrical - and for a fumehead rather fitting! - description of the wine. Here it is in French along with my rendering in English:

"Un charactère certain
Non dénué de charme
Un goût de femme
Au délicieux parfum"

"A certain character
Not devoid of charm
The taste of a woman
Wearing a delicious perfume"

So yes, in more ways than I could have imagined, this celebratory bottle and its synaesthetic bouquet really did have my name on it... If turning into a bottle of wine makes me a LUSH, bring it on, I say! Plus there may be another Al Pacino film in there somewhere.

Oh, and I really did mean that about my desk...

Photo of Clare and Meg by Clare Chick via Flickr, other photos my own


  1. About the closest I've come to resembling the family pet was my brief stint as a (dyed) ginger. I've had a long succession of ginger tomcats and while I did have one tubby chap, none of them has mirrored my own ample proportions. And I have no desire to scratch the wallpaper or bring dead birds into the house.

    However, my family does have a penchant for dogs, specifically labradors and I have been likened to them in my friendliness, enthusiasm for food, greed, cunning opportunism where food is concerned and fondness for curling up somewhere warm for a snooze whenever possible. However, I smell a whole lot nicer than most dogs. (Except, yes, for that warm patch behind their ears. Granted.)

    This makes up for a lack of Chateau Jones wine, Jones dining tables and Jones make up. Though there is a Bond No.9 called Great Jones, which tempts me. :)

  2. Hi Wordbird,

    I love the comparisons of you with your ginger cat and labradors! And let us not forget that you describe yourself on Twitter as "lightly foxed" AND "dogeared". (Or something along those lines... : - ) )

    There may be a dearth of Jones merchandise, but there was almost certainly a bendy clog called Lisa - I certainly clocked one called Leonie. And hold on - you are of course a sofa called the Jonesy, available in three sizes and as a chair.

    I should perhaps clarify that Cuvee Vanessa didn't have anything like Chateau status - it was a regular Appellation Controlee which happened to be old - and good! : - )

  3. The poem is very fitting.
    My cat (May she rest in peace!) and I were a study in contrasts - she was black, I am white, she was highly energetic, I prefer the couch. But we loved each other anyway. :)

    And btw, my husbands desk has been looking like this for the past five years, and he is just about to fix it, as he doesn't get tired to assure me. ;)

  4. Hi Olfactoria,

    I love the contrast in colour between you and your late cat. Charlie bonkers was in fact chosen from the litter more or less on those grounds - his brother being a more dramatically marked mackerel tabby - and may have suffered lifelong psychological damage from this slight.

    When your husband has got round to tidying his desk could he come and do mine, please? In fact, if he gets the bit between his teeth on the decluttering front, he is welcome to help me sort out all the boxes I will be living amongst shortly in lieu of furniture. Or possibly on, even.

  5. Cheers to sealing the deal on the house. That poem on the bottle is certainly apt. Will you be buying yourself a new perfume to celebrate the move as well?

    Over here at APB Cottage (we aren't grand enough to be a Towers), there are no pets, so I'll probably end up looking like a piece of furniture or something. :)

  6. Hi Natalie,

    No, I shan't be buying myself a new perfume to celebrate the move - my recent gift bottles of Nuda and Juniper Sling and a big decant of Brulure de Rose from Olfactoria will do the honours nicely.

    I have, however, treated myself to a pair of perfume-themed items to mark the occasion, to be featured in a later post. : - ) The maker has discontinued the line, but happened to have a couple knocking about at home which she agreed to sell me.

    I don't think I am grand enough to call myself Towers either, but Bonkers is no stranger to irony, as you know!

    And speaking as someone who has googled drop leaf solid oak tables *solidly* since Tuesday (and found one today!), I would say that looking like a piece of furniture is something to be aspired to.

  7. I hope you preserved the label. Right? You can frame it and use as a kitchen decor.

    I think what Rusty and I have in common is shedding ;) Unfortunately, my hair doesn't grow with the same speed as his.

  8. So pleased you have sealed the deal on the house, what a relief! A fitting celebration bottlw of wine too. I couldn't believe that poem on the label! It has to be a good omen.

    I have rotten pet allergies so won't have any for the foreseeable but something that did concern me growing up was the great number of dogs with my name compared to the much smaller number of humans :)

  9. Hi Undina,

    I did preserve the label, and it will go in my box of perfume-related memorabilia!

    Charlie is a terrible shedder, especially at this time of year. Of course Rusty is long-haired so it must be even more of an issue.

    My hair comes out in the bath most times I wash it - I recently learnt that it grows in cycles, with differing levels of fall-out at different times. : - )

  10. Hi Tara,

    Yes, it is only just over a week till the move now...

    Based on my extensive cardboard box gathering missions I can reveal that you are also a major fruit importer used by Asda. : - )

  11. Oh, my, the dog/human resemblance is uncanny! I look nothing like my dogs, but I'm told I share personality traits with one of them. I'm pretty sure this information was passed on in the spirit of cautionary tale, not flattery! I applaud you for showing your desk. I'm away from home, so at tidy one for now. The novelty! I left my home office in an unprecedented state of chaos. Wishing you all the best with your move and this whirlwind of change, which I'm sure has its ups and downs. The Corbières label is certainly a good omen!!!

  12. Hi Cheryl,

    Clare and her spaniel are two peas in a pod, aren't they? : - )

    Now I am curious as to which unflattering canine trait you display, hehe.

    I did tidy my desk after that photo was taken, but after 10 hours decluttering today - some of it a work-in-progress *on* the desk - it isn't a pretty sight again...

    Thanks for the good wishes for the move - these past two months have been a bit of a rollercoaster all right!

  13. Marie in Denmark2 July 2012 at 09:07

    About the desk: A former co-worker (some 10 years ago)had a desk that was insanely chaotic at times. Above his desk he'd hung a sign that said: "If a cluttered desk signifies a cluttered mind, what does an empty desk signify?" So, there! At least there's stuff going on in our minds (not good at tidy desks myself).

    Interesting - and quite flattering - product names, I have to say. I've only come across one product with my name attached to it, the (in Denmark) famous Marie biscuits (Marie kiks, in Danish - I'm tempted to add a c to that word). And then there's the Danish expression for "cry baby": "Cry Marie" ("tude Marie")- not liking that so much.

  14. You could have titled this "In Vino Veritas -- Verse Verifies Vanessa's Voluptuous Vocation" :-)

    Meanwhile, the advantage of my cat-sitting a number of very different cats is that I am unlikely to grow to look like any one, though I agree the shedding seems to be taking hold.

    As for clutter, I used to have a boss who believed in one file on the desk at a time and nothing left on the desk at the end of the day. He despaired when he looked at my desk, but I reminded him that my administrative job requiring multi-tasking gave him the luxury of a clear desk.
    Truth be told, I do have a cluttered mind, and that's OK.
    (I will have to make a copy of Marie's colleague's sign.)

    And while I wouldn't call the very necessary fabric swatches and furniture catalogues on your desk clutter, I do wonder about the number of phones. ;-)

    -- Lindaloo

  15. Hi Marie,

    Oh I feel so much better about my clutter in that case. : - )

    "Marie kiks" is a fine example of a product named after you, "cry Marie" not so flattering, I agree...

  16. Hi Lindaloo,

    I am going to have to get a notebook to record all these wonderful alliterations of yours - they brighten my day immeasurably!

    It is the shedding season, for sure. Charlie aka Fur Indoors is "pussona non grata" on most surfaces at the moment - except her cardboard box of which I posted a pic yesterday on Facebook, and which I long since gave up trying to keep clean.

    How mean of your boss to upbraid you for an untidy desk, when you are in fact relieving him of a sizeable quantity of clutter-engendering work!

    Ah, the phones... The white one - and its associated line - are going. The new house will be relatively phone-lite, I can assure you!

  17. "Pussona non grata" will be going in *my* notebook. :-)

    -- Lindaloo

  18. I wish I looked as good as my Golden, but my hair is not blonde or dramatically gorgeous like his. I suppose the way I most resemble Charlie is our similar all-or-nothing personalities. He's either right in your face at the door, doing the I-lovelovelove-you retriever thing, or collapsed somewhere fast asleep. Likewise, I'm either talking someone's ear off ad nauseam or not answering my phone because I don't feel like being sociable. (Or flipping between too much time on the internet or going cold turkey for a while ;))

  19. Hi Dionne,

    Ooh, I know just what you mean about the "all-or-nothing personality" likeness - and your dog is also called Charlie I see!

    I think we - and our respective pets - may be quite alike because I go through phases where I fully engage with all the social media for example, and others where I daren't so much as look at Twitter for fear of being sucked into its vortex all day long!

  20. That desk is messy? My house is in that state and it's fine by me :-)

    I hope I don't look like our pets! We have two, African dwarf frogs.

    Now never mind the mess as you'll be in it for the next few months :-)

  21. Hi lovethescents,

    LOL re your dwarf frogs - I didn't see that one coming as a pet people might resemble!

    And you are so right about learning to embrace should see the rest of the house now. I have laid waste to most rooms in my packing frenzy. : - )

    And to cap it all, I have a rush work project on after months of unemployment - so my desk has reached previously unknown levels of disorder!

  22. My step-mom definitely looks like her sheltie - it's really kind of cute! I'm in search of a pet and I'll be interested to see if I end up looking like it ... or if it ends up looking like me! And I'd say at this point, it's a good thing you don't resemble Charlie Bonkers! ;-)

    Good luck with the move!

  23. Hi Mrs Scents,

    You could always choose a pet who already looks a bit like you - give yourself a headstart, say? : - )

    A mother who looks like her Sheltie does sound rather cute!

    And resembling Charlie Bonkers unduly is probably not a great thing - not least because she sleeps most of the time, hehe!

  24. You can always organize the disorder later. As for the rubbish, you know exactly what to do with that ;-i

  25. Hi lovethescents,

    You are absolutely right of course. With this work project on at the moment there simply aren't enough hours in the day and something has to give!

  26. Hope you're settling into your new digs, V. Your wine seems like a good omen, and a good way to celebrate your new home.

    As for looking like my pet, I wish I could be so lucky! I have a beautiful mixed siamese seal point/persian cat named Cleo with big blue eyes. She's exotic and graceful, and I'm completely pedestrian :D

    Don't stress about your desk, in terms what others think. Now, if it makes you nuts to see it, then by all means, tidy it. I was stressed about work, and came home and immediately reached for the vacuum and then dusted my apartment. When the going gets tough, this tough lady cleans. It makes me feel better about my environs, and it's one thing I can control in crazy times.

    When things settle, I look forward to hearing more about your perfumed adventures, or SOTD/SOTE. . .I've been curious about Nuda, but it's not widely available over this way. I'll keep a look out, you make it sound wonderful. Juniper Sling is fun, biting, refreshing, and would work well in the crazy heat here. Enjoy your new FBs!

    My new craze has been orange and orange blossom. Tonight, I'm sampling Tauer's Orange Star. Interestingly bright orange, then soapy, then the Tauer incense base. I dabbed my sample and it is HUGE. I cannot imagine this sprayed, it might do some serious harm, but then I'm an underapplyer in general. Ok, blabbed enough. Just know that I wondered how you were faring. . .and wish you well!

  27. Hi HemlockSillage,

    Thanks for your lovely newsy comment, which - together with this morning's somewhat surreal experience in a furniture store - prompted me to pop my head above water long enough to write a quick blog post!

    As I mention there, I should have moved by now, but things were delayed till next week, and it is in fact a sudden work assignment that has kept me off the blogosphere radar in the last fortnight or so.

    Your cat Cleo sounds very beautiful and I am sure you aren't as mismatched as you claim!

    I have done serious amounts of cupboard emptying in recent weeks, and have found it therapeutic, yes. I shall carry on packing up my office in a bit. It is never endless, but this is a relatively large house, and I have been a home owner - and thing accumulator! - for over 25 years.

    If you would like me to send you a sample of Nuda once I am settled, I would be happy to oblige - just PM me on flittersniffer at gmail dot com.

    I did not get on with Orange Star sadly - it is everything you describe, and I found the soapy aspect particularly challenging!