No one was actually sure if she was actually British at all.
It might just have been that she was bossy, boozy, a bit of an intellectual bully and bloody well bizarre.
What everyone knew was that the tweed wearing battleaxe had definitely worked across ‘The Pond’ as a biochemist or arboriculturist, well something botanical, anyhow.
And if you dared ask her about that smell that stood five feet before her it was so bold, she’d reply
“Brewers’ Yeast: for the vitamin B. Keeps everything ticking along under the bonnet.”
Which apparently was British: meaning the engine under the hood was running okay.
But you know, all the same, the accent wasn’t right: more Bryn Mawr than Blighty if you ask me.
There was certainly still a little of that lab about her though, some people said she experimented to this day in an outbuilding round the back, away from prying eyes.
Yep, it definitely wasn’t just the sour fragrance of fermentation, there was a sort of organo-chemical kick that she carried along with her too.
I don’t know, maybe the aroma of asparagus maybe the smell of passing water after eating asparagus.
Either way it was an unwieldy sort of a waft.
She’d bought the farmstead up near the woods, a damp spot nobody else much took a liking too, because it reminded her of that unspecified ‘home’ of hers.
She lived self-sufficiently, after a fashion, collecting wood for the fire, scrapping off the bitter moss and leaving the fuel to dry in an old barn.
Sometimes as winter approached and it got too wet up there for safe storage, she made her own charcoal to see herself through the cold months.
She never asked a soul for help.
She relied on no one except herself.
Her garden was immaculate, her pride and joy, but she grew nothing she couldn’t eat, or so she joked.
All the same a woman who took eggs and the like up from the village, her only concession to community, the nearest thing to a friend she had, said there were often cut flowers in there.
Carnations or geraniums mostly, always red, like the out of joint lipstick she wore sometimes, mainly on her teeth. Blooms in a plain vase on a bare table in a cold kitchen, where hearth and stove were rarely lit.
Over chamomile or sage tea she gave nothing much away to her confidant, apart from that infamous aroma, deepened inside the hut by the patchouli oil she burnt. Only that when she went off in that station wagon of hers it was to teach science at some delinquent school across in the next county.
They only called her in when things were really bad.
“Never blame the children’ she said ‘it’s always the parents, that’s why they are, we all are, as we are.”
“They fetch me in when the adults need the fright of God put in them .”
She smiled knowingly and sighed.
‘The good Lord knows the smell of me would scare most people in this state from fifty feet out’.
Aromatics Elixir by Clinique is one of the most disgustingly delectable fragrances ever committed to scent.
Everything is absolutely wrong with it.
It is too sharp, too bitter, too sage, too hard.
It has too much oakmoss, too much darkness in the patchouli, too chemical an edge to the aldehydes, too much dirty wood smoke.
Too much everything and then some.
It really is the tough spinster with a terrible past who lives on the hill.
But it is unspeakably wonderful at exactly the same time.
It works precisely because it shouldn’t
Just as according to the rules of physics the bumble bee shouldn’t fly so according to the teachings perfumery this fragrance should never take flight, and yet the scent soars.
Rules 0. The Clinique All Star Bumble Bees 2.
Oh and as for the regulations concerning men’s and women’s perfume? Late goal.
Anyone with a personality as big as this bold old gal has earned the right to fill a room with it.
I make that a three nil win for Bees and Elixirs.
The Perfumed Dandy.