Monday, 9 January 2017

The Scent Crimes Series: No 17 - Mistakenly thinking gin and scented bath products are interchangeable

Well, thank you for all your feedback on my last post about the 'direction of travel' of the blog. Ooh, how I hate that phrase, whether or not it happens to be a direction that is also 'going forward'. And it seems that travel as a topic is okay! Yes, it was great to hear from so many people all at once, including a few back channel: it galvanised and re-energised me, and confirmed that the blog is in a broadly congenial groove rather than in a rut. And also that some people are still having technical difficulties when they try to leave a comment, for which I can only apologise. I am sorry that I don't even know what to suggest to get round the problem, though in my experience commenting from mobile devices can be more hit and miss. And copying your comment beforehand is a wise precaution to preempt that very understandable phenomenon of 'eaten blog comment rage'.

One of my several gin accessories

Now I had planned to write a post featuring a miscellany of Truffle's winter antics this time round - but something came up yesterday, so I thought I would get that off my chest first. You see, one of my more novel presents this Christmas was an empty gin bottle. It is porcelain rather than glass, with a charming monochrome woodcut design on it, possibly involving a weasel**. The idea seems to be that you decant some gin you already own into it. Or maybe make your own and pop it in there. The bottle has a pump mechanism which is also novel, as personally I don't mind pouring my drinks of whatever kind.

My small but select gin family

The friend who gave the bottle to me apologised for the unusual nature of her present - I would say 'gift' to mix things up a bit, but I hate that word with nearly the same passion as 'gifting'. If you ever catch me saying 'gifting' on here in an absent-minded moment, please come round and shoot me. But back to the bottle, which was bigger than my friend imagined - it would contain at least a full bottle of gin, possible of any denomination, including the 1 litre size I rarely buy, in case people think I have a 'drink problem'. My friend thought I could deploy it as an ornament in my new bathroom, on account of its neutral colour scheme. With the added bonus that a gin bottle positioned at the end of the bath or even - more discreetly - in a corner of the room, would be a bit of a talking point when visitors come.

New bathroom decor spoiler alert!

So I tried the container in various spots around the bathroom, but felt that on balance - quite literally in some ledge-type locations, which were too narrow for it to perch safely - it was on the large side. Plus I am reluctant to start filling up this minimalist, supposedly zenlike  and calming space with too much bathroom-related tackle, never mind potentially controversial alcohol-themed accessories. But my friend had certainly sewn the seed of finding a bathroom-related purpose for the present, so I kept thinking along those lines. Finally I came up with the idea to decant large bottles of bubble bath into it instead - those big plastic ones that aren't pretty enough to display, or whose packaging has a clashing colour scheme - and squirt a bit into the bath via the pump supplied. For easy access, I could store the gin bottle in the airing cupboard, so it would be nearby, but not taking up space - or connoting a dysfunctional relationship with Mother's Ruin.

So I reached for my bottle of Abahna Jasmine & Orange Blossom bubble bath, which has nice packaging, but whose dominant colour is unfortunately bright pink, which won't do at all in there - because the designated accent colour is in fact blue - and poured the whole lot into the gin bottle.

And pumped. And pumped. I know these things take a bit of priming, so I primed a bit. And pumped. And pumped some more. And nothing, but nothing came out.

A sample of my gin glass collection - please don't buy me any more!

So that's torn it. I probably couldn't even wash the bottle out now and put gin in it, even if I could get my head around the concept of a pumpable alcohol delivery system. I could perhaps remove the pump and POUR the bubble bath into my bath. That is probably my best bet, so as not to waste a quality T K Maxx bargain.

And the moral of the story is that I should have known about the variable viscosities of different liquids. Meanwhile, I am thinking it would make a nice lamp, if I could figure out how to affix all the electrical gubbins to the top.

Whoo - I see someone has already done it!!

Source: Bee and Anchor UK's Etsy shop

Are there any electricians out there?

Have you ever pumped gin into your glass?

Or used a present for a lateral thinking kind of purpose that you have later regretted?

How are you on viscosities?

**Oh I say, I was right about the weasel!

UPDATE: I am happy to report that I have now got the pump working! I thought to turn the bottle upside down and that helped coax the bubble bath up the plastic tube. Then when I turned it the right way round again, it was still working. I wonder whether I should have used liquid soap rather than bubble bath to start with, as soap is less thick and gloopy - I think I will next time, as it may have better flow characteristics.

A lamp waiting to happen


  1. getting Abahnaat T.K's .Holly would love that bottle .

    1. Hi Angie,

      T K's is a treasure trove of so many good brands - now even Penhaligon's pops up there from time to time. I can see how the bottle might be Holly's thing. ;)

  2. Hey Vanessa,
    Please tell me your drama with the words gift and gifting? Though everything else in your piece is interesting I could not stop wondering why you've taken against these seemingly (to me anyway) innocuous words?
    Portia xx

    1. Hey Portia,

      D'you know I am not even sure why I have taken agin 'gift', say. I guess because 'Thank you for my gift' sounds a bit twee, like the verbal equivalent of antimacassars or crocheted toilet roll holders. Then 'gifting' is one of those annoying nouns that have become verbs - I believe it is called 'verbing' - like 'to inbox' or 'to weird' someone, 'to transition' or 'to trend'.

    2. While I'm with you on "gifting," I have absolutely no problems with "gift." Oh, and I'm still struggling with commas and periods inside quotation marks ;)

      Is it a good time to ask you about your feelings about "journey"?

    3. I think 'gift' is possibly more common / normal in the US. Over here it sounds oddly formal to me, almost like the commercial word rather than what people would use to each other. The way I might say: 'What's for pudding?' but not 'What's for dessert?' And I could be totally out on a limb here, even amongst my fellow countryfolk!

      And haha, it is never a good time to ask about my feelings about 'Journey'. I don't suppose they will change any time soon. ;)

    4. :))) I wasn't inquiring whether your feelings have changed, I thought that maybe you could shed some light on their origin.

      "Pudding", eh? I would not have even guessed what you were asking :)

    5. Ah, no idea other than possibly a kneejerk reaction to its overuse on shows like The X Factor. The contestants were just taking part in the show as far as I was concerned, but were routinely described as being on a 'journey'.

  3. Don't mind "gift" so much, although it's always seemed a bit pretentious to me (sort of a biblical, Three Wise Men context) as present is just fine, but definitely dislike "gifting" because it is not a real word!!

    I think you are better off without big, heavy objects in your lovely new bathroom as they can do dreadful damage when you drop them ...........


    1. Hi Jillie,

      Yes, twee and a bit pretentious maybe - like Hyacinth Bucket, if you are familiar with that comedy character, though I am probably far too sensitive in this regard. But I see we are as one on the 'verbing'.

      The bottle is quite hefty, it must be said. I was deliberately careful during the 'photo shoot' in the bath, mindful that ceramic fixtures can easily be scratched. I think I might try it in the kitchen as well, where size and space are not an issue.

  4. Fun post, V. That was an original present idea. Shame it was larger than expected. Fancy finding someone had already turned it into a lamp?!
    I hadn't heard of the brand Abahnaat but will look out for it now.
    Intrigued by the blue accent colour and can't wait for the "big reveal" - unless you don't like that expression either :)
    Looking forward to Truffle's winter antics.

    1. Hi Tara,

      I love the bottle, I really do, though it would be great if it were more petite, as most things in the bathroom have had to be the compact rather than the normal sized version.

      I am going to update the post as I have now got the pump working!

      Oh, the brand is Abahna - Angie just ran the word on accidentally to the 'at' in 'at T K's'. ;)

    2. It is! Just got to find the best place for it to live.

  5. I'm almost upset that you made that pump to work: I think that the lamp idea is just perfect though then you'll need a taller nightstand (or whatever you call that thingy next to your bed - I start being paranoid about the differences in the U.K. and the U.S. English ;) ).

    1. D'you know, I was equally happy about the lamp idea, and I take the point about the taller bedside table. Birgit used to call them nightstands in her series of posts about what people put on them, but she had adopted US spelling more generally for OT. Please don't be paranoid though - I find the differences between US and UK English endlessly fascinating!