Touch and Smell

Way back in 2001 when my fave critique partner and I got together, I’d started a spreadsheet for a book with a working title “The Fragrance of Fate.”

This was my research into the sense of SMELL.

Sir Walter Raleigh smelled of strawberry.


The trouble with a computer and/or a phone is that you can see/hear but never taste or smell or touch.

To this day I can remember the smell of Tsar. Our beautiful German Shepherd.

The taste of Marmite takes me back to my brothers and I around the breakfast table before school.

The touch of velvet sends me back on to the stage in a drama class.

These three senses begin at birth. A baby is born and taken to the mother’s breast. The baby feels, smells and tastes. It’s primeval.

Computers are not even half of a whole.

If you hold your lover in your arms and don’t get drunk on their natural scent – they are not your partner.


Love involves all 5 senses and that enigmatic 6th sense.

As Napoleon supposedly said to Josephine – Home in three days. Don’t wash.

Now THAT is Hidden History :o)


This is a smell that was part of my life for a few years.

I was once told as a child that every country has it’s own smell. Well – UAE smells of oud.

Everywhere you go, they burn this incense. I bought loads home with me, along with charcoal blocks. My traveller-in-crime and I even got lost and abandoned in the souk in Old Dubai searching for the best oud. Absolute True Truth.

Recently I came across the product above on ama z on. Nag Champa has been my go to incense for almost a quarter of a century so I knew it’d be good.

WOW. The house smells like the Middle East right now :o)

I’m open to a NagChampa sponsorship vibe – LOL !

Coco & The Duke

Chanel had a real penchant for English Aristo Men.

Boy Capel – who died in a car crash. Several others. But her biggest haul was the Duke of Westminster.

She had delusions of Duchess-ness. Bless her. But said Duke, Bend’or, was a serial husband.

Some say that she REFUSED to marry him……!

Make your own mind up.

P.SS. I’m taking nothing away from Coco. I wear Coco Mademoiselle perfume and admire her enormously.

Coriander : Love It or Hate It?

They reckon that smell preference is genetic. In that case my youngest did NOT inherit my coriander hating gene.

I’ve just cut up a bunch for his meal later and it’s all I can smell now.

Yuk and barf.


The May-Tree blossom is similar. I have hawthorn in my garden and LOVE the smell of it but some think it’s revolting.

Then we have cyanide/prussic acid. Only a few peeps can smell the bitter almonds. P.S. I’ve no idea about that one. Never had the chance to test it out.


Off to wash my hands.


The Romance of The Rose : Brain Killer

Image above of MY IRL bookshelf?

Yes. Not photo-shopped or fake or mandela or…!

This book has killed my brian (!) for years.

It’s dense and tangled and thorny. Fact!

But it is HUGE part of my literature/history/hidden journey.

Allegory can be as confusing as eff.

The Romance of the Rose was written in two stages by two authors. In the first stage of composition, circa 1230, Guillaume de Lorris wrote 4,058 verses describing a courtier’s attempts at wooing his beloved woman. The first part of the poem’s story is set in a walled garden, an example of a locus amoenus, a traditional literary topos in epic poetry and chivalric romance. Forty-five years later, circa 1275, in the second stage of composition, Jean de Meun or Jehan Clopinel wrote 17,724 additional lines, in which he expanded the roles of his predecessor’s allegorical personages, such as Reason and Friend, and added new ones, such as Nature and Genius. They, in encyclopedic breadth, discuss the philosophy of love.

I’m a rose grower. I have about 20 rose bushes in my garden. All but 2 planted by me.

A ROSE by any other name etc…….

Oh. And. DO NOT get onto the book to the left of Romance of the Rose. Delta of Venus by Anaïs Nin.

I’m feeling feisty and tigerish today.

Why is Cottagecore so Gay?


I must’ve been “Gay” all my life and never knew it.

That’s a bummer.

I’ve done ALL that Rowan describes, all of my life.

OK. That’s me out of the wardrobe.


I’m also a huge Agatha Christie fan and she uses “GAY” to mean happy & “QUEER” to mean strange.

BTW : When I was 6 years old and we had to live with Nan for a while before moving to Scotland, I gathered all the fallen petals from her roses and squished them into a jar of water – to make rose water.

I made a jar full of stinky sludge :o)

The Spice Trade

The History of the Spice Trade is a fascinating subject.

I’m not “up” on all that but…

…I’m an almost life-long proponent of the health benefits of spices. And – quite by accident (?) – my entire upbringing has been filled with foreign foods. Mum made a wonderful curry, every third Saturday night for us. She was never frightened of using herbs and spices in meals.

Her secret bread sauce recipe, that I still use to this day, was always topped off with a good grating of nutmeg.

Plague masks were meant to be full of spices to stop the Plague doctors from being…plagued.

Tonight we are having HOT Chili Con Carne for tea. To blow away the cobwebs. Runny noses and teary eyes incoming :o)

Indian Feng Shui ?

Again – I am NOT an expert here. No qualifications on paper just an almost life-long interest in these subjects.

Feng shui – since my early 20’s.

Space Clearing – since my middle 20’s.

So that’s quite a time to research, on & off.

Today my home smells like an Indian Temple.

I’ve tried many different incenses but I always return to Nag Champa. Oud from Dubai is “the best” in my opinion but I no longer have contact with the Middle East now…and I don’t trust t’internet to sell me the real deal!!!

Say what y’all like about Amazon but I’ve used it since 2000 and will carry on doing so. The Nag Champa they sell there is real. If you buy the certificated stuff. A box with 12 boxes of 12-15 sticks only costs £9.

If they want to sponsor me……. :o)

Calabash Pipe

Grandad George was a pipe smoker. Not a Calabash.

He kept his tobacco in a small, zipped, very worn, leather pouch and sometimes he’d let me fill the pipe with tobacco. He’d even let me clean the tube with a pipe cleaner. He’d blow down it just to make sure I’d done a proper job and then just smile.

I was a born perfectionist who hates doing half a job.

OMG. The smell of that leather pouch.

Our sense of smell is so connected to the part of the brain that stores memories. It’s almost like an electric shock when we smell something familiar…whether good or bad.

I used to wear Himself’s Kouros aftershave as perfume.

Top notes are Aldehydes, Coriander, Clary Sage, Artemisia and Bergamot; middle notes are Patchouli, Carnation, Vetiver, Cinnamon, Geranium, Jasmine and Orris Root; base notes are Civet, Honey, Leather, Musk, Oakmoss, Amber, Tonka Bean and Vanilla.

My favourite essential oils have always included Clary Sage, Bergamot (Earl Grey Tea) Patchouli, Vetiver, Vanilla and Geranium (the woman’s best friend.)

Where was I ?


Groos & Snowdrops

Our garden and the cemetery that borders it are covered in snowdrops.

I love and adore these little flowers. They survive Everything Winter can throw at them and just pop up to remind us all that Spring is about to arrive.

My brother’s wonderful wife planted everlasting snowdrops around our mother’s grave when she was interred. She KNOWS!

You can think and say what you want about graveyards. Ours is beautiful. Yew trees. Daffodils, snowdrops, bluebells and carpets of primrose in spring. It is a living calendar of time.

So :

Don’t Bring Me Down.


Vodka & PotPourri

I prefer moist potpourri. Just my preference.

Mine is housed in huge terracotta Victorian Butter dishes – where they’d hand whisk butter. They usually have yellow paint on the top.

Do what the lady below says and then when you need to refresh it all, spray with vodka and water, add more essential oils and microwave for a few seconds.


Like canopic jars full of herbs and spices – potpourri can last decades.