for the love of three oranges








It’s curious.


It has been almost a year of perfume on the Black Narcissus, but also my life. Strangely, you have been privy to it. The extremities. The pain. The pleasure. It has been like a diary. Have you felt voyeuristic? Put upon?


I near the end of term. Just two more working days next week with the odd lessons here and there but now the evaluations are over -I GOT THROUGH IT, people!- I have retreated into total dreaminess and cutoffness. Any infringement on my utterly willing loping off to my spaced out inner world feels like a cut through a membrane I really want intact.


I am wearing more perfume to work than I should be. Fuck it. I am wearing it. Nuit De Cellophane. So perfect right now but I made it even MORE perfect: crisp, clean, the clasp of the mind-imagined mandarin made more air-slicing and contemptuous, lovely, with my new hand perfume. A jar of new vaseline filtered with 25mls of pure essential oil: blood orange, Chinese mandarin, and Japanese iiyokan ( the most fragrant of peels); a salve that will infuse further as the winter progresses,become more potent and cleansing, and which I will deport into little transparent containers and give away as gifts. The heart of the Orange. The three, complementary oranges that swirl and fuse with each other and embellish and farther the perfume to delicious effect.





In these times, when antagonistic and inflammatory actions endanger our civilization for transparent and selfish, hollow victories, and the world feels like it is sliding towards World War III, I require my protections, my vitaminized disappearance into sensory delights. Farce, Tragedy, Lyrical Poetry, these were the oranges of Prokofiev’s peculiar opera, a story of romance and trickery and hypochondria.




I need my wits about me.









Filed under Flowers

16 responses to “for the love of three oranges

  1. Vintage Neil, this piece.

    Love the ideal of essential-oil-infused vaseline. And oranges. It’s like a healthy, protective infusion of vitamin C for the soul. Must try it myself.

  2. I loved this post and am happy you survived the year and are wearing more perfume to work. Since I have had a new boss for the past year and 4 months, I am also wearing more perfume to work as he wears fragrance as well. My past boss hated everything I wore and constantly put me down for wearing perfume. Also, I am I was happy to be privy to your experiences during the past year and am glad the year is almost over.

  3. rprichpot

    Discovering your blog was one of the highlights of my 2017. I love your writing, sensitivity, taste, erudition, choice of illustrations. I look forward to each and every post.

    When I started at my current job it was a fragrance-free zone. I paid no heed. Now, two years later, my boss is wearing scents (often those provided by me) and so are many others. I’m glad I could brighten the place up.

    This post reminds me of my time in the Maurice Sendak-designed production of Love For Three Oranges. What a great and whacky score, full of flatulent contrabassoons. I love the photo you chose of the production with the cacti and the Fabergé orange.

    So you see, your blog touches me on many levels. I wish you a blissfully restful break from work and the happiest of holidays. I thank you for your wonderful blog and look forward to the gifts you will bestow on us in the coming year.

  4. Please tell me how you infuse vaseline with essential oils. That sounds like a great idea. Do you use it as a lip balm?moisturizer? And with all that citrus, it doesn’t burn your skin? Sorry, 20 questions here. The world IS crazy.

    • And so is this, probably, but I have been doing this for years, even decades. I can’t imagine not having the scented vaseline, to be honest – usually it is lemon, which I love, but as a way to boost or complement a particular perfume you can do it with other oils too – in this case I was suddenly in a very orangey mood (this one was very extravagant and expensive, actually!). As for skin sensitisation, that would depend on whether you are allergic to any particular oils. I personally do sensitize to orange oil in the bath so never use it for that any more, but the blend eventually becomes so scented that you just need a tiny touch of it on your hand or lips to get a deliciously fragrant effect, and I LOVE watching people turning their heads and wondering where the invisible oranges or lemons are coming from.

      In truth, this one has probably slightly too much oil in it as it has become a little too liquidy: essentially you just pour in the oils and stir and stir until it is distributed evenly through the vaseline. You can use it straight away, but it definitely takes time for it to fully become scented. Give it a try. For me, it is not only about the smell, but also the germ-busting aspects as well

    • I am surprised I haven’t written more about this eccentric habit of mine more, actually, but one thing that is great about it is that you get extra mileage and appreciation of your scent. If I am wearing Shalimar or Vol De Nuit, for example, when I have a dab of lemon , it immediately brightens the aura of the entire scent but also makes me aware of the middle and base notes as a contrast with the sharp citrus in the air. The other day, on a crisp December sunny morning, the jasmine/osmanthus mandarin of the Lutens, given a sudden lift by the oranges on my hand, honestly gave me a scented moment of something verging on ecstasy

    • Oh, and last thing – never as moisturiser, no. Only perfume. For moisturiser I use an unscented Shiseido skin milk with frankincense oil in it. Perfect. Or else just Virgin Coconut Oil.

      • Chocolate Marzipan

        And virgin coconut oil blends beautifully with other oils as well. I make a homemade deodorant with vco, baking soda, lavender and patchouli and it smells divine and works extraordinarily well.

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