Tuesday 11 January 2022

Sweet as, x2

With thanks to Destination Queenstown for this famil

Today I felt like a scientist, except that I was doing something pretty frivolous. It was fun, though. I went into Queenstown again - boy, parking is challenging here - and went to Miller Road Fragrance Studio to create my own personal perfume.

It's a remarkably precise and fiddling process. I sat down in front of a rack of five shelves holding around 60 little dropper bottles, each filled with a different scent. They were grouped according to their function in making a perfume - base notes to top notes with carefully graded stages in between - and I had to sniff, select, and combine to gradually build up my perfume, literally one drop at a time, carefully recording my choice of ingredients as I went.

Of course I rapidly entered my standard wine-tasting panic, where I immediately forget the previous one with each new glass that's presented; but Mallory was very patient and helpful in guiding me through the process, and managed to (mostly) dissipate the anxiety. It took ages, though it didn't feel like that at the time, and eventually she presented me with a 30ml spray bottle of my own totally unique and personal scent, labelled with a name I chose: Felice. (Though someone later suggested Pamfume, which I like better.)

I was very pleased with the result, and am glad the recipe is recorded so that I can re-order it any time. Excellent idea, and a fun activity, especially for groups and couples.

I rushed off then for a bite of lunch at Yonder, which is an appealing little café/bar whose sweetcorn and jalapeno fritters I can thoroughly recommend.

Then it was on to the next thing: a honey workshop at Buzz Stop outside town. It's in a little cluster of shops that include a potter, florist, baker and a make-your-own jewellery workshop. Also the City Impact Church, but we won't concern ourselves with that. I browsed around the café/bar/shop till Nick greeted me and a local couple, and togged us up in proper overalls with gloves and netted hat. Then we went out to the garden to the beehives. 

We sat and quietly sweated while Nick, his overalls tied around his waist, hands, arms and face bare, opened up a hive and took out a frame. Of course bees were swarming (not literally) everywhere, but apparently it's all about being cool with them. He certainly didn't get stung as, with a splendid backdrop of blue sky and mountains, he told us all sorts of interesting things about bees - no bee has an enviable life, particularly the incel drones - and got us up close to them, before leading us back to the workshop with one of the frames.

There we took turns at melting the top wax on the frame, and scraping it off to expose the honey, then fitting the frame into a spinner. We held a jug under the tap at the bottom while it spun, collected the honey, poured it into a little jar and screwed on the top: our personally-manufactured (well, packed) honey. And the proof was the sticky label Nick printed out with our own photos on. It was fun, entertaining and really interesting, and how wrong can you go, with honey? Especially when it's also made into very drinkable red mead - so nice, I even bought a bottle. I know!

We ate that evening at Ivy and Lola's, on Steamer Wharf, sitting outside. The food was very nice, though the menu, as elsewhere, was quite short, perhaps because of staffing problems thanks to Covid; but, also as elsewhere, everyone was very friendly and welcoming. It was really lovely to sit out near the lakeside, with a constant stream of relaxed people wandering past, everyone in a good mood - and who wouldn't be, in that setting?

I had a longish walk along the lake afterwards to where I'd had to park the car, and it was a delight - lake, mountains, boats, sculpture, sunshine, kids climbing trees, people using the public bbq or just lying on the beach reading. Gorgeous.

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