Wednesday 27 February 2019

Home Foul Home! A tale of supposedly spliffing sofas and frighteningly fetid footwear

Well, there's me waxing lyrical in my last post about the fragrant sillage of my house guests, when all hell breaks loose...Oh, the latest chap to stay borrowed my shower gel - a manly green coloured hotel freebie - which isn't the same thing at all as scenting the house with something he had brought with him. ;)

Yes, the first (allegedly) malodorous incident turned out to be a whiff in a pan - well, no whiff at all really. My good friend Kate, known as 'Crafty Kate' in our crafting circles, is a home interiors magpie who has an eye for - and is passionate about scooping up - a bargain. Her house is already filled to the gunnels with an eclectic and quirky assortment of furniture and artefacts she bought for a song, so to satisfy her ongoing acquisitive urge she has now taken to searching for items for her friends - often unprompted, but very often things we never knew we really needed till she drew our attention to them. And thus it was with a little two seater sofa she spied up in The Potteries for £20. Sort of mid-century, but with rolled arms that nodded more towards retro styling. Neutral beige woollen covers that had the odd grubby mark whichever way you turned the cushions. But hey, £20! First of all I had to clear some space in the bay window of the front room, which necessitated the re-homing of a very tall elephant's foot / pony tail palm with my neighbour two doors down. She was absolutely delighted, and has put the plant in the exact same spot in her bay window. With that I donated a lightly used tub of Oreo ice cream, of which she said her two little boys would make light work.

And so it was that Kate turned up yesterday with the sofa, which she had collected in her work van. I did pay her for the cost of borrowing the van and something for her time, in case anyone thinks I am a complete freeloader. 'Free loader' being the operative term! The first thing she asked was whether I had any Febreze or other deodorising fabric spray, as she reckoned the sofa smelt 'a bit 'erbal'. This being code for...well, you can guess what for. I said I didn't mind a bit of 'erbal actually, given that you only have to walk down my street to - perforce - end up 'passively spliffing' in the ambient air at several points. Anyway, I gave the sofa a good old sniff, but frankly I didn't detect any smell really, other than a sort of 'old wool' one, which was not at all objectionable.

A displaced pink chair, formerly in the window!

So we moved the sofa to one or two places in the room, and after Kate - and another friend who had taken custody of a throw K had also hunter gathered on the same trip! - had gone, I spent the next hour and a half rearranging all the furniture some more. And then some more again. I have put a throw over the little sofa for now, partly because of the grubby marks, which I may address at a later date, but also because the simple addition of another fabric made it fit nicely into my scheme.

Hall of shame...

So that was that...and then the same morning I smelt the most potent pong at a specific point half way down the hall. It made me catch my breath, it was so unpleasant, in a rotten egg / sewage kind of a way. I puzzled over this long and hard, looked under the hall furniture for a possible present from Truffle, rang my friend Gillie to ask her about the likelihood of a localised gas leak, and generally fretted a lot, thinking my house was unsafe, smelly, or both. And then something made me pull out a trainer (as in the shoe, not a fitness professional house guest who forgot to check out ;) ) from under a chair, and I suddenly spied a dark furry mass nestling inside. Nestling, and oozing...Having tossed the mouse, I examined the dark patches its partly decomposing body had left behind. Too extensive to disinfect/sterilise and wash in the machine, though I did have a go. Before tossing the wet trainers as well. Luckily, a cursory rummage in my T K Maxx receipts - yes, I really do have a separate folder for these! - revealed that I had only paid £12 for them in the first place. But still, it was a stomach-churning episode, second only to the discovery of an even more decaying mouse corpse in the loo once.

And on that unsavoury note, I will dream of more Airbnb guests coming, bringing fragrant bodycare products with them to fumigate the house...;)

Sunday 17 February 2019

Serendipitous and subliminal sillage surprises, and functional fragrances punching above their product category

Apologies for another long hiatus between posts: if this keeps up, I will have to google the plural of hiatus to see if it is in fact 'hiati', and take great care not to get it muddled with the disaster-torn island in the Caribbean of the same name. In my flimsy defence, I was laid low by a flu-like entity for a couple of weeks, hard on the heels of the two sickness bugs I had in December. And I have also been busy lately with an unexpected flurry of work, which unfortunately overlapped with the most acute phase of the aforementioned viral entity. (Not a good combination, and one I hope never to repeat!) But more of the work would be great...;)

Now somewhere in that mix was a smattering of Airbnb guests, who were most congenial company, and two of whom are coming back soon. I have now had enough people to stay to start noticing a rather interesting phenomenon, of which more anon. The first point I wanted to explore is the smell of a house - any house. I couldn't tell you what my own house smells like - in a general, ambient kind of way, I mean - but I do know that when I step over the threshold into other people's places, such as the friends whose cats I feed, their homes have a completely different scent. I would love to do a blind test, whereby I am guided into one of these houses at random and asked to guess where I am purely by smell.

So that is definitely 'a thing'. And what I have also noticed, when I have gone into the bedroom where my Airbnb house guests have been staying, is that that room invariably also has a (new) smell of its own, most likely that of some toiletries they brought with them, with my money being on shower gel. On quite a few occasions now my nose has encountered a pleasant trail of scent, whether in their room, on the landing, or in the bathroom itself, that can last up to five days after the people have gone. Sometimes it is a sort of fruity, tangy fragrance - I spied a bottle of the Body Shop's Satsuma shower gel in the bathroom once - while other times it is more of a fresh, clean scent that I couldn't really place or describe, other than to say it is agreeable, and 'other' than how the room smelt before.

And my enjoyment of guests' (presumed) shower gel sillage reminds me of a recent post by Odiferess, in which she laments the explosion of new releases in the so-called 'niche' perfume market, dismissing many of them as cheap dross. She goes on to say that there are bodycare products that can easily hold their own with these pretentious perfume parvenus. And I couldn't agree more, indeed even before I had the experience of catching residual wafts of guests' toiletries, I had already been revelling in the scent of my own current shower gel, a bracking - bracking?...okay, bracing and cracking then - citrus and cardamom combo from Champneys. I cannot recommend it highly enough, especially at the price. The addition of cardamom is a nice counterpoint to the lemon and orange bouquet - or do I mean fruit bowl? - which could otherwise have lapsed into something blowsily generic. I am not a natural shower person, but I really could see myself turning into one with the enticement of this gorgeous product. What do you mean, I could just squirt some shower gel in the bath? I read labels, me. And for the record, I am not the sort either to defy social mores by having pancakes on Ash Wednesday.

Odiferess references the Elemis line of spa products - as Champneys is of course - which is another fine example. I have already blogged about the truly uplifting scent of my Label M hair mousse, into whose pot I could just bury my nose and inhale deeply, even if I have now reluctantly concluded that it makes my hair far too sticky to actually use. ;)

And finally, on a side note, I knitted a scarf as a Christmas present for a friend, who mentioned after wearing it for the first time that it smelt 'quite strongly' of perfume. I was taken aback to hear this, as I had smelt nothing myself, and had also knitted the entire thing on my lap, which is self-evidently unscented. Transfer of perfume from wrists to needles also seemed a bit of a stretch, so the only other 'transference occasion' had to be during the few seconds I tried the scarf on myself when it was finished, to check out its looping capabilities. For I cannot swear I wasn't wearing perfume then, albeit I would have applied it many hours earlier. The good news is that the scarf is washable(!) - and that the smell may wear off of its own accord eventually. Though I know perfume impregnating fabric can be pretty tenacious.

So there you have the guests may not know that their shower gel sillage lingers in the atmosphere after they leave - not that I mind at all! - while I had no idea I had 'knitted' my perfume into this scarf. Plus I have no idea what my house smells of generally, though if you have been there, you may do...!

Do you have a favourite bath or body product that is 'almost as good as perfume' - if not better in some cases...?