Anyway, back to that fragrance we smelled at first light on that September morning in 2011…
Jonathan’s blog, written in April 2014, with Cass’s comments in lady-like pink, and Jonathan’s rebuttals in manly blue.
On our quiet mountainside, the simple, gormless, puppy-like excitement of a new discovery can fill weeks, even months, so I can’t say that we exactly leapt into positive action after we first smelled our wild mountain herbs. Speak for yourself, I was deep in active thought. Okay, ‘deep in active thought’ it is – and most often, if I remember correctly, staring out at the mountains while listening to our new theme tune (click to have a listen): Wide Open Spaces, by the Dixie Chicks.
First there were a few days of wondering if we’d ever smell it again. It’s not every day, you understand – all the elements need to be propitiously aligned (is that what elements do?): sun, humidity, the herbs themselves, a breeze from the correct quarter, etc.
Then, having realised that it wasn’t an olfactory hallucination, there followed the days of simply enjoying it – smiley face if we could, frowny face if we couldn’t. These were days punctuated by one or other of us scampering in to tell the other that it was there again, and today it was better than ever. Ah, simple pleasures! And for once it wasn’t an unspoken battle as to who should get up at first light to let the dogs out.
Next, because such is human nature, came the days and weeks wondering how we could somehow capture that smell and bring it inside. The act of leaving all the doors and windows open (and doing some encouraging wafting didn’t work at all) Oh! I thought that was your own special flamenco. It was as if the mountain fragrance had a mind of its own and was tutting: “oh, no you don’t; I will reveal myself only when and where I care to.” So how was it to be done? I really wanted the house to be infused with it, but preferably at a less brutal time of day. More of an evening gal, our Cass.
Now… Cass likes her smells. She loves the smell of things like clean sheets and clothes dried on a washing line it’s just good sense, as well as the smell of all the various unguents and emollients that crowd her side of the bathroom. She’s never happier than when she’s doing that thing, particular to woman, of dripping something onto the back of her hand, smoothing it in, then sniffing it. And she specially loves a smelly bath fragrant bath! Por favor! “Smelly” is for feet so I think at this stage we were imagining bath oils; the easiest way to capture a fragrance using essential oils. But, in fact – ah, the irony! – we don’t actually have a bath here. Or we didn’t. We do now. But anyway, at the time it forced us to think beyond bath oils. And Cass’s other favourite thing is scented candles. Thinking back, I can only imagine that the reason scented candles weren’t our first thought was that they aren’t a big thing in Spain, so she’d been without for some time. *SOBS* But anyway… duh! Scented candles, obviously! Put it down to over-excitement.
At about the same time as we started to think of making our own scented candles, we also started to notice how many other fabulous, intoxicating, smells FRAGRANCES! Okay fragrances, FRAGRANCES! there were all around. Fragrances peculiar to Spain, and mountains, and our new life. We realised how much they were creeping into the way we described everyday things; “Just past the dip in the path where you get that heavy fig scent, but before you get to the jasmine.” Sometimes I would simply stop in my tracks and marvel. Simple pleasures, as the man said.
And all of this coincided with us feeling that there should probably be more to our new life in Spain than simply watching the shadows change on the mountain, some of our friends were mentioning this too; our conversation was apparently becoming, er… limited.
So the next step was to investigate the possibility of turning all of these various thoughts and inspirations into a small scented candle business. We had both started small businesses before, and worked for ourselves, and been freelancers, so we felt we knew a thing or two about uncertainty and risk, but also about freedom and fulfilment. Speaking for myself, also about failure, bitterness and twistedness, is that a word? but hey, I’ve got a short memory. Nevertheless, we were reluctant, having just started our adventure in Spain, to jump straight into something that might hark back to our old London lives. We’d just have to make sure that didn’t happen.
So, almost before we knew what we were doing, we’d come up not only with an idea for a small business, but also with a business ethos: it had to be enjoyable, personal and, above all, it had to be the best. Oh God… was that… a Mission Statement?! It can be an unspoken mission statement, but if I ever catch either of us calling it that out loud, I will smack.
We congratulated ourselves on this giant step forward in traditional style (peach daiquiris, almonds, olives)…
before remembering that the next step is actually to get on and do it.
Gulp… (that’s a fear gulp, not a daiquiri gulp!) (It’s both)