Wednesday 26 December 2018

Still MIA, mired in more goop, and completely depleted! A patchwork post from me this time...

The Monochrome Paint Tray
Goodness, it is a long time since my last post, but - much like the Brexit talks - I seem to have been on a runaway train of (in my case home improvement) setbacks. The sloping floor issues alluded to in my last post got Very Slopey Indeed, and that floor had to be ripped up not long after it was laid, after being declared 'failed'. Cue purchase of new floor, more goop (brown this time!), another 12 hours straight of fan whirring, more floor laying, and a post mortem with the supplier of Floor No 1, the technical niceties of which I will spare you. And the final upshot of which is some way off.

There was additionally a fair old smattering of plumbing and joinery problems following on immediately behind, though I am thankful that Floor No 2 is showing no signs of legging it on its own, like the last 'floating jigsaw' disaster. If someone offers you a 'click-style' floor Be Very Afraid. I can see that this post may be becoming quite Capitalised, not far off the texts from my sister-in-law's brother, who has his phone settings weirdly turned in such a way as to Capitalise Every Last Darn Word.

The 'before':

That's a big sink!

More 'before':

The blue fishing net is for rescuing mice!

No sooner had the workmen gone off for Christmas, when I succumbed to some kind of winter vomiting bug, which lasted two full days and nights and then a bit, and completely kiboshed my Christmas prep and any social plans last weekend. I was weak and nearly delirious by Christmas Eve from not even keeping water down, and the doctor called me in for tests, to see if I might in fact have food poisoning rather than the Norovirus, say - only I had a very similar 'do', you see, earlier this month. A friend kindly ran me there, as I would not have passed the: 'Are you too ill to pick up a twenty quid note from the bottom of the drive?' test, never mind make my own way to the surgery.

I turned a corner finally on Christmas Day itself, but lost a couple of days and all their concomitant Facebook posts and depressing news bulletins, crowds in Asda, futile hunts for cranberry sauce at this very late stage, seriously discounted Christmas cards, and what have you. Moreover, I was meant to be on stuffing and veg duty in a combined effort Christmas meal with two friends, but by the time I felt more myself, the shops were well and truly closed. I felt decidedly sheepish showing up to the meal without having contributed to its making after all, but that is just how my recovery worked out, honest!

Oh, and I did manage to spritz on a bit of By Kilian's Amber Oud on Christmas night, as I promised Undina I would. She has kindly given me samples of this at least twice now. ;) And if you haven't already seen it, Truffle makes a cameo appearance in the latest post on Undina's Looking Glass, as Undina celebrates Rusty's 10th birthday and features a gallery of other pets in Perfumeland. I must say that Truffle looks particularly imperious in the photo Undina has chosen. The highlights for me in her post were Rusty powering through the paper hats, and a little dog with unfeasibly huge ears. But yes, I did wear my designated scent last night, and very wintery and comforting it was too.

Source: Lucky Scent

But generally of late perfume has been a little distant from my mind. I am not ready to park Bonkers - though the thought has certainly occurred to me - but I shall be in this distracted phase for a while yet, with the French house completion in the early New Year (whee!), and a lot more work to be done on the utility side of this multi-tasking utility/shower room. The other wall is a truly fantastical tangle of cables and pipes, with random bits of wood here and there and splodges of white and red paint (not pictured ;) ).

The 'during' (snatching a brief window of opportunity between Floors 1 and 2!):

The 'so far' (skirting boards and window sills, mirror etc to come, plus a few remaining fixes / bodges here and there, the need for which I am hoping you won't notice):

Now in 1995, it so happens that I did a research project on applications for curved glass of various kinds, and predicted that the curved shower enclosure market in particular would be huge...and was proved right! I was even offered a full time job on the back of it, though I didn't want my life to be all about glass any more than I wanted it to be all about coleslaw a decade before. And now for the first time, 23 years on, I have such a shower of my own...;)

Going back to the time when I was ill, Nurse Truffle kept up her usual devoted vigil, spending a good 90% of her time night and day either in or on my bed. She only ever does that when something is wrong with me, because as we have discussed in previous posts, Cats Know. There I go again. Italicised caps, no less. The downside of her coming and going at will is that the white duvet cover is now well and truly decorated with muddy paw marks, and despite three washings I cannot get the blessed things out. I may need bio rather than non-bio washing powder, come to think of it. Anyway, I do kind of forgive her, as she was so attentive, washing my eyes, nose, and cheeks periodically as she saw fit. Here she is, checking out the clean sheets post-recovery.

Echoes of The Handmaid's Tale?

In other Christmas news, ex-Mr Bonkers was on national telly three times in a week, playing bass with Roy "I wish it could be Christmas every day" Wood, my tinsel on him. This means the tinsel has made it onto four out of five terrestrial channels now...cracking BBC2 is proving more of a challenge. This year I have told ex-Mr B he can keep the tinsel, as I don't normally have a use for the big furry red strands he favours.

Live on The Last Leg

And you won't be surprised to hear that I couldn't possibly do any kind of New Year's perfume round up, as I used to do in the old days on Bonkers, because I am barely aware of what is coming out on the market anymore, unless I am sent it, or one of my blogger mates grabs me and says: 'Try this!' Also, most revealingly, I did not jump on my copy of the latest edition of Perfumes: The Guide, as I did with the one from 2008, when I was first mad for the stuff. Instead, I had a bit of a flick through when it arrived, looking up some of my fave fragrances from recent years (such as I could even remember!) and glancing at anything that happened to catch my eye. But since then the book has languished untouched on a side table. I find the plethora of releases frankly too overwhelming, and my own interest has waned, I cannot deny it, from its frenetic early phase. I still love fragrance, I still help friends locally find 'the one' - or one possible 'the one' more like - I wear perfume more often than not, though perhaps a bit more 'not' lately, and it will always be a thread in my life to some degree.

That all said, I do see myself as a fading character - if 'character' is not overstating it - in the blogosphere. Yes, I feel I am slipping away gradually from the scene, and that is okay. There are newer, more passionate bloggers than me taking up the mantle, who have the energy and drive - and who may well have just as much chaos in their home lives to boot, but if so they are better at managing it, haha - or more professional in compartmentalising their lives, maybe. I am not gone yet though, and there are perfume posts I have up my sleeve, it is just that I cannot bring myself to write most of them at the moment. For I like to write about what is uppermost in my mind there and then. And that so often used to be perfume, but it isn't right now...So we will see.

I am not so distracted though that I wasn't very sad to learn of the passing of the great, maverick perfumer, Vero Kern. Val of APJ was her good friend and 'brand ambassador', and will miss her keenly I know. I met Vero just the once in 2015, for afternoon tea at Zurich railway station, and was struck by her lack of airs and graces, and how she ploughed her own high quality and very personal furrow amidst the welter of cookie cutter dross. We spoke in a comedy mix of English and German, and she said that she liked the fact that she never knew whether I would review a new scent of hers or not - and if I did, she knew it might not be till ages after its release - which seemed to amuse her. Of her work, I liked the Mitos best, but am also curiously partial to Rozy Voile d'Extrait, and Rubj on a very 'bosomy' day. I don't have too many of those, to be fair.

Note that I was so overawed to meet Vero that I only took a photograph of her feet and little dog, whose name I can never spell, so always gloss over.

Out of interest, I looked to see what I had posted around this date some years ago,to contrast where I was then versus now. Here is a perfume report from Paris in 2011, for example, featuring JAR Parfums.

Eight years ago I linked to a guest post I wrote for Cafleurebon(!) on perfume gift giving.

While this year I am mired in goop of every hue and throwing up, haha. Which, interestingly, I believe is also known as 'Huey'. Hue knew?

But as Val also says, 'this too shall pass'. She's very wise, our Val.

Thursday 6 December 2018

MIA and mired in goop: a patchwork post from would-be collaborators!

Sorry for yet another hiatus between posts...there seems to have been a lot going on in my life on various fronts. I am still hugely distracted by the home renovations, which have been a case yet again of one step forward, several steps back, with more 'sudden death' least worst decisions at every turn. I said to the tiler yesterday: 'Whatever would you do if I wasn't here? You know, if I was at work?' 'I'd ring often as necessary!' he replied, quick as a flash.

This past couple of days we have had different lots of goop - the 'goop of the day' is pictured below. One lot was black, one lot was grey, yet I was warned that the latter might turn Truffle's paws blue. Yes, it has been a challenge to say the least to keep her off the affected areas, yet it was actually me that ended up prematurely stepping on the floor yesterday and sinking into the quagmire in one particularly slow drying spot. A case of the Hollywood Utility of Fame, you might say. Or maybe not. Then the front room is full of all my laundry paraphernalia, along with the fascia of the shower tray, which must be allowed to rest in state in its natural curved position(!); the dining room is crammed with white goods diaspora, and there is nowhere frankly to be, and to feel comfortable and at home. I tell myself it will be lovely in the end, though my floors are still insufficiently level to meet the spec of the flooring system being used (for a variety of insurmountable and/or unforeseeable reasons with which I shan't trouble you), such that there is a very real risk it will ride up, peel, separate, move, or undulate underfoot as soon as the fitter has gone. Not for nothing do they call it a 'floating' system...

The other thing that has consumed a lot of my attention lately is knitting, which I know is not of interest to some (or most!) readers. I sold quite a lot of my woolly wares at my friend Gillie's Open House pottery event the other weekend, the money from which will come in very handy in the absence of any work at the moment. I went on a wool replacement buying spree after the weekend, laying waste to my PayPal balance, which always feels like free money, and have been gleefully opening package after package of jewelled balls of yarn.

One particular obsession is with the brand Scheepjes, which has named every shade after a different Dutch town. I am slowly collecting examples from every colour family (and part of The Netherlands!) like a demented magpie, leading Tara of A Bottled Rose to remind me that this current urge with adding to my wool stash was 'like Farrow & Ball tester pots all over again'. She is spot on there!  

I still have outstanding knitted commissions - and am always on the lookout for others ;) - all of which has meant that I have not been feeling like writing the blog. Perfume generally seems quite far down my list of preoccupations at the moment, though I do still wear it at least every other day. I have a number of perfume related posts in mind, even, but they are simply not ready to come out...

So then I had the bright idea that I would share with you instead some of the recent communications I have had from companies who write to my blog email address, asking me to collaborate in some shape or form. The inquiries really are quite varied as you will see, and I will try to group them thematically.

Would-be guest writers

"I'm a fan of your site and feel like you cover the hunting space very well. I'm writing to see if you accept guest content."

The hunting space???

Product plugs / review requests 

"Pure Hemp Plus is a range of natural oils and honeys containing cannabidiol or CBD...Might this be something you would kindly consider covering at all? As a how to regain balance during Christmas Party season perhaps, or how to get through ones daily commute?"

I think Val has the drugs angle nicely covered in her Strange Tales series, thank you. ;)

"My name is Kelsey and I work in the marketing department at I'm writing to you because I came across the content on your website, and I really enjoyed your writing style....we have created a guide on eco-friendly travel and how to keep the Earth enjoyable for our children, and our children's children! I was writing to see if you would be interested in sharing this post on your page. You can find the post here:"

I find the capitalisation of CheapOair oddly unsettling, never mind its irrelevance to perfume, though it is true that I travel a fair bit. Also, I have no children.

"I wanted to reach out to you to see if you'd be interested in receiving a review copy of (perfumer's) new book."

You lost me at "reach out".

"We had contacted you earlier because we believe your website visitors would benefit from knowing about Have you had a chance to look at our new site yet? Not only do we offer a database of furniture from major retailers, but we also have a daily updated local Sales Finder to help users find the best deals in their area. You can check out our Sales Finder here:"

My reply: "I am blocked from access to your website, as I outside California. Moreover, most of my readers are. Plus it is a perfume website, albeit the odd reader in California may conceivably be on the lookout for a sofa."

"I hope you’re well and having a wonderful week so far? I just wanted to get in touch as I wanted to see if you were interested in reviewing a beloved fragrance of the 60’s, for any upcoming fragrance features...If you have fond memories of being young and carefree, this fragrance will have you feeling a sense of nostalgia. But also for those who weren’t born in the 60’s/70’s you can also embody the era with the gorgeous scent."

You lost me at "wonderful week". Also repetition of "wanted". And your efforts to cover all bases demographically are somewhat transparent.

Requests for participation on other sites

"Without wasting any of your time, I wanted to ask if you'd be interested in sharing your favourite tip to making money online for a huge post I'm writing."

What money online? Does he mean selling my stuff on eBay?

Unusual invitations 

"We would love to invite you to attend an immersive experience with (perfume brand)."

I am feeling immersed enough as it is, thank you.

"This is just a gentle reminder to let you know that we will be hosting the first 'Third Thursday' poetry reading event in (perfume brand's) 'Poet' store, in Westfield White City this Thursday evening.

Even if I didn't live 160 miles away from White City, I would in principle decline any invitation which was accompanied by "gentle reminders". Also, "first Third Thursday" sounds like a contradiction in terms, though on reflection it is indeed possible.

"Will you be attending Pitti Fragranze this Fall?"

No, and not next year either,  or any year! 

Miscellaneous gibberish

"I went through your blog in detail and found that you are actively creating contents on your blog."

Do some blogs have inactively created contents then? Or no contents?

"I am Jack from Coshow Cosmetics Company, as a professional OEM/ODM cosmetics manufacturer in Shanghai, China. With the best quality products, competitive price and timely delivery have being stable cooperation with some ." (sic, including intriguing ending)

Can you tell I am preoccupied, hehe? ;)

Back to my sloping floor issue...