|Shangri La by Hiriam(!) Green ;)|
My friends on Facebook will recall that my Elderly Friend has a time-honoured tradition of pressing a random selection of gifts on me just as I am about to leave. The other day she added a new twist to this custom, by giving me a large slice of M & S Apricot Roll (highly recommended if you do not eschew sugar and/or ultra processed cake) and a pair of old curtains for me *to dispose of*. She recently gave up driving, so is more constrained in terms of carrying things into town to a charity shop, for example. I mentioned that there was a textile recycling container at the tip, and that I would take the curtains there, together with a motley collection of other items earmarked for recycling, from three bits of sawn off downpipe to an outsized cardboard box, a couple of beaten up plastic drawers that used to hold cassettes, a black bin bag full of said cassettes(!), a mouldy old blanket which proved to be the "canary in the boot" that signalled a leak beneath the spare tyre, and some broken fairy lights.
Having got rid of everything in its appropriate receptacle, I returned to my car, noticing as I did so that someone had shoved a load of books in the paper bank reserved for things like old telephone directories, junk mail and magazines. I had a little rootle around and rescued four of the misplaced titles, including a hardback by Compton Mackenzie called The Red Tapeworm with an interesting dustjacket - a third edition from 1955! (Which looks like it might even be worth something...or more than the nothing I paid for it, certainly.) Hmm, I see it is a satire on the economic measures imposed by the UK Government in wartime, so it might be hauntingly topical as well.
Now next door to the tip is a large charity warehouse, so I usually reward myself for my green compliance with a rummage in there, and this visit did not disappoint. I came away with two framed prints (one antique!), a monochrome teapot with a nod to Mary Quant, a tea caddy, a mug, and a book by Julian Barnes - a snip at £15 for the lot. Back home, I made tea with my new accoutrements and knuckled down to the task of integrating this latest clutch of books.
|Sancho and the Duchess (engraving by R Staines)|
This proved to be no easy feat, as my sitting room is already brimming with tottering tsundokus - like my father before me, I do suffer from a touch of bibliomania - and I spent an hour or so emptying out knick-knacks from shelves in a bid to free up more space for the even greater surplus. Having integrated the vast majority of spare books, I only had a few small format ones left, and set about looking for any kind of receptacle or nook where I could stash these. My eye lit upon several decorative boxes on top of a bureau, the largest of which I thought might serve my purpose. I fetched all three down and opened them: the smallest was home to half dozen highlighter and marker pens (so that is where they went!), while the other two contained perfume samples.
|The juice has done a runner!|
What was odd was that ALL the samples in one box had evaporated! I don't know if they had had very little perfume left in them anyway, or whether the seal of the box was defective, or what had occurred, but they were empty. Forgive me for the trivial comparison, but to chance upon so many expired samples in one place had a whiff of the Jonestown Massacre about it, as though the vials had collectively agreed to lie down and give up the ghost at the same time. And I must confess that at this relatively jaded stage in my perfume hobby my first thought was relief... Here were twenty or so scents with which I no longer had to engage...and yes, I know that is ungrateful of me. I did duly sniff all the vials, mind, to remind myself of how they smelt - there is invariably a trace of fragrance left around the nozzle - but I think I will chuck them presently.
|"I was here first, you know"|
Top notes: citrus notes
Heart notes: peach, jasmine, rose, iris, spices
Base notes: vetiver, oakmoss
Well, how beautiful is this? Shangri La is classed as a chypre, and I was initially reminded of Mary Greenwell Plum and 4160 Tuesdays Goddess of Love & Perfume: after a juicy citrus opening blast, Shangri La also showcases a luscious fruity floral bouquet including peach, with oakmoss in the base. The texture is unctuous and rich (Think Patou Joy if you are not familiar with the other two) without being cloying, though it might still be a bit full-on for some until it has settled down. A number of reviewers have compared Shangri La to Mitsouko, with caveats of course, given the latter's status as a towering behemoth of the 20th century. Shangri-La is more cheerful, and less overtly retro, austere, and "dusty" to my nose. It is also twisty turny in its development: at times faintly spicy, or powdery (thanks to the iris?), with bright darts of peach and jasmine periodically peeping through. Whatever facet greeted my nose, it was just gorgeous, in a wistfully vintage way, and I don't say that lightly.
And so, speaking of things being twisty turny, this is the story of how a pair of old curtains and other detritus eventually led me to Shangri La...a tender ray of sunshine for these dark and ominous times.
|Still no room for the last few books...|