Wednesday, March 08, 2006


There is nothing - nothing - more disgusting than the grey goo behind the sealant (hah!) between bath and tile. I was less revolted last week with the honest ordure of the sewage pump (and I was down there in heels and my good black suit).

It is all now scraped, sluiced, scrubbed and dried as far as I am able, and redeemed by the smell of pine disinfectant. It makes me feel that chaos has been returned to order, granny is in charge, and there's a big brown pot of tea, a comfortable chair by the fire, with good, wholesome food at a set table. Dettol however is ill-lit hospitals, sickly lino and pale green gloss walls, and scrubbed young nurses who should be pretty but are not.

Bleach is a cool laundry with blazing sun outside - must be a hangover from my youth.
Furniture polish is:
lavender, clean houses I have visited
Pledge, the suburbs, everything beige
that posh wax in a tin, is it Sheraton? - country houses

I love the smell of a man in freshly ironed shirt, with a hint of starch. And all soap should smell like L'Ombre dans L'Eau.

My granny's house always smelled deliciously of tea, just like the Cutty Sark in Greenwich. Pine trees are Toulon at dawn, when the train pulls in. Seaweedy low tide is Saltcoats, Rose Bay and here.

One of the up sides of California is the seasonal waves of scent- mimosa is over now but I have just had the first heavenly whiff of pittisporum I planted. Even the pansies seem stronger here. I have lemon blossom and honeysuckle too, though they are badly beaten down by the rain. It was warm enough for me and Caroline to sit outside to pick apart the root ball of her Bonsai white pine, yet is meant to be 30F degrees tomorrow. The world has gone mad.


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