life's work of paintings in one go (76 at the last count!).
But sadly, my mother died 13 years ago today, when she was 78. She had really hoped to make it to 80, but it was not to be. I miss her as keenly now as if it were yesterday. In a post in 2010 on Bonkers, I wrote about my mother's death and reflected back on her "scented past" - pretty threadbare basically - and not helped by a thoughtless Christmas gift of Rochas Byzance from me. I thought it worth linking back to it on this, her "anniversary", as Bonkers was even smaller back then, and some readers may have missed it. Apart from anything, it is notable for being a rare example of a Bonkers post written in a sombre and largely unfacetious tone.
Since I wrote it, I sought out a purse spray of Lenthéric Tweed, which is the perfume I think she wore of her own accord. I certainly remember seeing a chequered tin of the talcum powder, and had a notion that my mother also owned the perfume. I am not sure of the exact vintage of the one I managed to find on Ebay - it may not be quite old enough - but it certainly doesn't smell contemporary. It has that forbidding, rather manly, chypre quality to it of its Lenthéric stable mate, Style, or perhaps of Cabochard. I say "chypre" - Fragrantica describe the base as "oriental" - and looking at the notes it does seem to have a foot in both camps. I couldn't find a single "proper" review of Tweed, which in itself may be significant.
Middle notes - ylang-ylang, jasmine, lavender and orange flower
Basenotes - oakmoss, patchouli, sandalwood, benzoin, vanilla and vetiver
Hmm, the notes do look a bit austere to me. I was going to say "dog's breakfast", but that might sound disrespectful. I sprayed it on last night and again this morning, and it wasn't for me. I could imagine it being the signature scent of a very strict maths mistress with her hair scraped back into a bun, if she wore any perfume at all. Though that wasn't my mother at all - quite the opposite. I don't mean she couldn't count or anything - I am talking about the severity aspect. There again, Tweed does smell outdoorsy and a little masculine, and my mother loved the rugged scenery, rough fabrics and sludgy colours of the West of Ireland, which I think it does rather conjure up. And I am probably being unfair to it - Tweed is just of its time, and that style was simply too green / sharp / mossy for my taste.
So I guess I will just have to accept that I have this passionate perfume interest now, and I also have many happy memories of my mother. However, good - and genuine - perfume memories of her may forever elude me.
Photo of tweed fabric from harristweedshop.ocm, other photos my own