We're surrounded by empty suitcases. The washing machine has been whirring away for hours. There's a heap of unopened junk mail in the bin. All this means we're back at Maison Persolaise. Or at least our bodies are. Our souls are still about a thousand miles away, where the air is a blanket of warmth and the sea puts the world's diamonds to shame.
But I don't want this post to sound maudlin. Yes, coming home after a magical get-away can sometimes lead to feelings of despondency, but today I want to write about gratitude. I have just had one of the most wonderful, most relaxing, most downright unforgettable holidays ever, and that is at least partly because of perfume. Whether I was doing my best not to shatter the silence in a tiny village in the Auvergne, or trying to tune in to the Russian being spoken in Cannes, or endlessly buying bottles of water in Cremona just because I love saying, "Acqua minerale, per favore," at some point, things would somehow return to the subject of fragrance. We'd turn a corner and I'd find a tiny perfumery with interesting-looking wares. We'd wander through an antiques fair and, sure enough, there'd be at least one person selling old miniature flacons. We'd get together with friends we hadn't seen for years, and someone would say, "Ummm... you smell good."
I am very fortunate indeed to be consumed by a passion that provides so many opportunities for meeting delightful people and making enchanting memories. As blog readers and writers, we're all incredibly lucky to be able to come together and exchange views and ideas on our fragrant obsessions. So although, in my heart, I'm still lying on a beach and looking into the eyes of my precious Madame Persolaise - the best travelling companion anyone could ever ask for - I realise that I must also be thankful for this present moment in time and for having the chance to sit and write these words to you now.
This sense of gratitude leads me to want to share some of my summer with you. One way in which I can do that is by telling you about some of last month's scented highlights, and I promise I'll do my best - day job permitting - to bring you up to speed with what I've been up to. There's so much ground to cover: the friendliness of the staff at Tanagra in Nice; the discovery of several vintage treasures at Profumeria Ideal in Venice; the chat with Guillaume at Bouteille in Cannes; the discovery of a veritable Aladdin's cave of different perfume blotters at Scentis near Grasse; the (largely comical) attempts to translate my perfume vocabulary into French...
But another way in which I can share the holiday is by conducting a give-away of samples of some of the goodies I was able to find during my foraging. And that's exactly what I'm going to do... in a few days' time. I had originally intended to open the draw today, but I'm hosting another exciting give-away on Wednesday and I thought it would be better if the two didn't clash. So take today's post as something of a teaser and come back after about a week for a chance to win a few interesting little tidbits.
Meanwhile, I need to do some more unpacking,