Happy hols. It’s Boxing Day here (named for when the servants of the rich used to have the day off after working on Xmas and were given their Christmas ‘box’) which is a day off in a week that few people will be working here. It used to drive me crazy that all the European et al clients were relaxing the week between Xmas and New Year but the one American client was working, of course. So, because I did shifts for them, I was working too. No longer, as I resigned from that client at the end of 2021 – and certainly no regrets.
I ended up spending an hour at the walk-in centre nearby on Xmas day due to very painful chest cold. Otherwise, Hannukah and Xmas have been very pleasant. I think my fave gift is a mini olive tree. It tends to be warm enough here that it will mostly live outside.
(This is my amaryllis for this year. The low bloom is done. The second stalk is
now two-foot high and hasn’t opened yet. I buy a ‘holiday’ bulb
each year. When it’s done it gets planted in nearby field.)
In any case, the next time I write will be the new year so I thought I’d do my review now.
A number of things stood out for me on various fronts. Maybe you’ll recognise or agree with a few.
In the latter half of this year I have gone on fairly endlessly about By Kilian Dark Lord. I tried this on paper during a rushed-off-my-feet visit to London over the summer at Harrods and have been obsessing about it ever since. I will definitely be trying on skin in the new year as early as I can manage.
This is a perfume where the noir name actually fits the fragrance. It’s a leather scent to the max. Finding a sample has proved close to impossible. Nothing on the sample sites here and while eBay has it the seller is in the US and postage is silly money (on top of silly money for a few drops of juice). For sure I will write about this when I do finally get to sample on skin.
My other fragrance standout for the year is recent. I read about Lush Turmeric Latte about a week ago and immediately ordered it unsniffed. Lush does some perfumes that get serious plaudits but I haven’t tried anything of theirs for ages even though there’s a Lush shop in the closest decent-sized town.
Anyway, short comment on this I read said gourmand – ie, vanilla, turmeric, milk. I’ve had a turmeric latte once and it was fine. I am big of chai lattes. This starts with that weird, scratchy thing turmeric has going. It then does what it says of the package: slightly Middle Eastern spicy, slightly sweet, milky. It never gets too sweet – comforting, a bit weird, very pleasant. For £30 for 30ml well worth it.
I don’t currently own a telly and haven’t for several years. If I want to watch something at this point I do it on the computer or the iPad and mostly that’s fine. I’m not anti-television – I just got rid of an old one and a new one is fairly low of my list of needs. I got twitchy when Gardeners’ World finished for this year but that happens every year. However, about a week later I noticed the BBC making noise about a new series called The English. Touted as a Western but different the write-ups were strangely fulsome when you could find them – ie, for something that was supposed to be a big deal the commentary initially was oddly muted.
I finally carved out an evening to watch the first episode and that was it: hooked and binge-watched the rest. Emily Blunt and Ceske Chase (the only thing I’d seen him in was a Twilight film which isn’t much of a recommendation but he’s a revelation in this) — the protagonists, an English ‘lady’ and a Pawnee man — are remarkable whether on their own or together. This has all the trappings of a Western but stood on their heads. Beautiful, weird, beautifully acted, appalling. The last TV series I watched was a French police procedural, Spiral (Engrenages). In any case, I will watch The English again – because it needs rewatching for all kinds of reasons.
As I’ve said in the past, I read for work but I also read for relaxation etc. Most of the non-work reading is fiction – in fact, I’d say 99%. I follow various series, I like mysteries, crime stuff, a large dollop of magical realism in anything.
However, a while ago a friend recommended Empire of Pain, the book about OxyContin, Purdue Pharma and the Sackler dynasty. I hmmm’d etc and always found something else.
About a month ago, for no reason I can’t remember now, I finally ordered Empire of Pain. The friend who recommended this said it took her a while to get through it, that it was ‘dense’.
Uh, what? How to describe this if you haven’t read it? History, social commentary – what happens when you are amoral and driven by greed and self-aggrandisement. It reads like a novel in that the author writes beautifully and is a spectacular scene-setter and narrator. I sometimes thought that was a negative because he made something appalling so compelling.
But in the end the awfulness does come to the fore. Perhaps that doesn’t sound like much of a recommendation – and this is a thoroughly enraging and depressing book. But it is so worth reading and it is definitely an object lesson.
So, that’s me for this (almost) past year. How about you? Things that had an impact? Recommendations?
Pics are Pexels and mine