December Reflections 14: floral


Several years ago I did a 101 in 1001 list, to end on my twenty-fifth birthday, and did 47 of those 101 things in those 1001 days. Then, when that came to an end, I set myself another list. I abandoned that attempt with about a year left to go with the realisation that:

I want to give myself room to grow, and to give my goals time to happen when they want to, not to force them. Some goals need me to be in a different place, a place I couldn’t imagine when I wrote the list. And I never quite accounted for my tendency to develop wild obsessions at a moment’s notice…

So I’m going to quit. Or, rather, I’m going to keep the list as an aide-memoire, but lose the time limits and the sense of obligation.

On my first list, begun in 2007, ended in 2010, I had ‘Become a competent cyclist’. In my mind that was going to involve me riding my bike round and round the park until I had learned to signal without falling off. What actually happened was that in 2012 I acquired a tricycle, then another, better, tricycle, and cycled to work most days. Then I spent 2013 riding my bike round and round the park until I had learned to signal without falling off. Then, in 2014, I moved to Cambridge, where everybody rides a bike, and so do I. 2007-10 just wasn’t the right time for that goal.

If I had been putting a list together last year or the year before, it would probably have included ‘learn more about perfume’. There were three main obstacles to my doing this:

  1. not knowing where to start
  2. perfume being quite expensive
  3. disliking the loud, headachey, crowded, over-scented environment of department stores

Then one of my internet friends posted about The Perfume Society‘s Niche Collection Discovery Box, which contains fifteen perfume samples, with online ‘smelling notes’ so you can begin to sound intelligent, for twenty quid. And that solved all three problems, so I bought it.

It arrived on the 3rd of December, when I had a stinking cold, so I couldn’t get started immediately. I got my sense of smell back on the 6th, and started investigating the contents of the box. So far I’ve discovered that I really like Molton Brown Re-Charge Black Pepper, that Ruth Mastenbroek Dagian mostly comes across as slightly sour grass clippings on me, and that I don’t like oud quite as much as I’d have thought I would.

Then on Monday I was catching the train home from work, as usual, and stopped half-way across the concourse of King’s Cross station to see what was going on with the Citroën 4CV van. It turned out to be Atelier Cologne selling perfume. The assistant gave me the pictured sample as I passed by, and then asked if I wanted to try some… Well, I had the best part of half an hour before my train, and we had great fun spraying samples on slips of paper and smelling them. I ended up really liking a fabulous spicy rose, and tempted to go to their shop to try an incense scent they didn’t have on the van…

So it seems to be the right time to get into perfume. The other thing that I’ve wanted to do for ages, and now might? Learn how to ice skate. When I first wanted to learn to skate, there wasn’t a rink near me. When I lived in Guildford, and there was an ice rink, it didn’t occur to me as a possibility. Now? An ice rink has opened up three miles away from me.

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