No one could pretend it was anything other than a slapdash attempt at a sophisticated summer picnic.
Nothing quite worked, things were just not right, or just not there at all.
Like The Pimms: a great jug of sweet herbal cocktail that came mixed with over-sugared sparkling iced tea instead of the intended tart homemade lemonade.
The Pimms, that arrived in a too heavy to lift crystal decanter that looked like it had actually been lifted from an exhibition of inappropriate wedding gifts circa 1893.
The Pimms that had, floating forlornly amongst its half melted heart shaped ice cubes, great long sticks of celery instead of the more usual cucumber, refugees from an abandoned idea for a Bloody Mary. And much too much mint.
Oh The Pimms. My goodness did everyone have to acclaim, salute and surrender to The Pimms.
The Pimms you see was to define the picnic as a party.
The Pimms was a marker of all things civilised and smart and a step above the few sandwiches on a lawn of a normal picnic.
Ah yes, then there were the sandwiches, or rather then there were not sandwiches. The sandwiches, along with everything else savoury, had been left behind in the car to sweat it out on the back seat in the early summer heat.
The odour of fermenting spicy Southern fried chicken if not actually present seemed to pervade one’s consciousness.
It was, apparently, ’much too far’ actually to go back and fetch any real food, besides if anyone wanted something un-sweet, they could fish out a stick of the unfortunate celery from the vat of saccharine tea and sympathetic booze and have a munch.
Alternatively, there were cakes.
Lemon cup cakes to be precise, frosted with icing, a whole lot of mint icing.
Cakes that were in fact 80% sugar coating and 20% cake.
They were, truthfully, enough to tip a diabetic over the edge at fifty paces.
Nobody mentioned the combination of lemon and mint, it seemed best not to.
All of which left things uneasy and slightly queasy but bearable.
Then she arrived.
Ten years their junior, ten times their volume in appearance and audibility.
She smelt of poorly knocked off classic perfume and overpoweringly of the gum she incessantly chewed. Sugar free and good for ‘her hygiene’ she insisted.
As she turned towards you to offer her latest pearl of wisdom on the misfortunes of an unfamous celebrity the huge fake mint of her mouth furniture, a ghastly too sweet to be sugar aroma became instantly and nauseatingly enveloping.
The only hope was that another guest or The Pimms would take her attention away.
When her focus shifted, however, the relief was a false dawn, a waft of bitter, salty dried on under arm sweat and cheap jasmine deodorant was your reward for having paid her too much heed.
And so it went on: a cycle of menthol, passed its peak perspiration and the great glugs of cocked up tea and vodka cup cocktail that she wound up slurping direct from the decanter within forty five minutes of arrival.
The horror was complete when, cakes devoured and The Pimms and all guests exhausted, she passed out with the words…
“I met a Kardashian at the opening of a K-Mart once…”
Then all that remained was to transport her, en masse, back to the car where now soured slightly spicy Southern fried fowl and a ride home awaited.
Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea is an unpleasantly sickly absence of taste where a good scent should be.
It manages to coordinate a collection of apparently innocuous notes into something cyclically banal and mentholatedly nauseating.
Opening with a big metallic straight-from-the-tin note of readymade and heavily sugared ice tea with something distinctly alcoholic, intended perhaps to lend a touch of racy chic, only a zest of lemon and undefined citrus provide all too brief relief.
The tea persists well into an elongated heart that is the strangest part of the whole affair, for this is where the mint note, a chewing gum confection of an aroma with an anti halitosis fennel, appears, then disappears and then reappears almost literally ad nauseum.
This compositional quirk, which might be interesting or exciting were the note beautiful or even bearable is rendered irritating to the extreme by the plastic, mouthwash like quality of the odour.
Then yet another transformation, as in late dry down the mint and acid elements dissipate and a rather salty, perhaps too salty, amber appears with a distinct artificial oakmoss structure underlining it.
Any sense of hope is misplaced for this oakmoss has a bitter unpleasant spice and lacks any power.
Indeed, the best thing that can be said about this Green Tea is that, the Wrigley’s moments apart, it stays relatively close to the skin throughout and is almost instantly forgettable.
Notwithstanding this lapse in silage, the longevity for something that comes across as a near tea cologne at the opening is reasonable.
For once this staying power is actually a negative, for this is a scent that is by turns offensively inoffensive and firmly rooted in the world of oral hygiene.
Eventually one is left wishing that like a gate crashing guest a summer picnic it would just go away.
Nothing about Green Tea other than its central sweetness would ever have denoted gender and now that men are as sugary toothed in their fragrant tastes as women this is an odour for everyone and no one.