I find myself back in England.




In the grim rain, yesterday, such a cliche of my country, the continuing 36 hour day of one minute closing the door to our house in Kamakura and the next dragging my suitcase up the stairs to my parent’s house and looking out onto their garden (see picture).



Immediately handing out perfumes for my mother, then going to her collection upstairs and of course spilling some of the carefully sourced vintage (because it is her favourite perfume of all time) Van Cleef First eau de toilette bought by Olivia for her birthday or Christmas, all drenching its beautiful, pristine green jasmineness into my pyjama trousers, positively symphonic in its aldehydic majesty, but not what I was hoping to wear to bed (the room I am writing in this is still very filled with its luscious smell). You forget, sometimes, that perfumes are not always vaporisateurs, but dabbables….




What’s very strange about this rather impulsively decided on trip is that it was supposed to be in August. That was when Duncan was hoping to come back initially as he gets more holiday, but I knew, instinctively, and categorically, somehow, that selfish or not, I HAD to come back now, to be with my family and friends in the flesh, not just on FaceTime, in the spring holidays to absorb the Englishness and all the green and whatever else might possible occur, so he will join me later. But having been on a kind of institutional Japanese conveyor belt of trauma and its aftermath  – surgery, rehab, clinics, back to work, entrance exams, deep in me, psychologically and emotionally (and physically it has felt to me) I simply had to get myself OFF this charred and bruised continuum and just come back here (home?) for a while – it felt like an emergency. Though I may be a disenfranchised citizen now, with no right to vote (in either country), and no access to health care here, the trees are enough, it’s all in me, what I like and what I don’t, the air, the changing sky – you can’t ever get away from your home country, its light and its heart, no matter how long you live somewhere else.







But listen to this.







After I had booked the holiday and had the tickets all set, last week, completely out of the blue, I had  an email from my literary agent in London saying that a publisher is potentially interested in my perfume book idea (finally!) I am going for a meeting with them next Monday. Just now, at this particular time, while I am actually in England.




Then, not only am I am going on some kind of perfume speed dating with Personaise at Selfridge’s next week, but we are also going for a private meeting with Christine Nagel  AT Hermes, in Bond Street, later TODAY to get a sneak pre-view of the five new perfumes she has created for Hermes (people, how exciting is this?!!), (just got up and am drinking coffee and when I finish this I will hop in the shower, spruce myself (what to wear, what to wear?!!!!!) and get on the train down to London Marylebone.. ).




Before THAT (and again, all of this happened after all the dates were already set and unchangeable ), I get another completely unexpected email, perfectly timed, asking me to be a judge at the Fragrance Foundation at a hotel today in Mayfair, choosing finalists and the winner of the Best Independent Perfume ( the very day after I arrive! when in fact, I was supposed to be at my students’ graduation party – they expected me there and it was very naughty of me to have to excuse myself, and I did want to go there and congratulate them – we had some excellent results this year – but something in me knew that I wanted to get here, instead, as soon as possible; if I had not followed my impulses and gone against what I was supposed to be doing I would have missed both that and Hermes and would have been gnawing my fists in frustration). Somehow my partially psychic instincts knew all of this in advance – I don’t believe that it is coincidence.




The excitement is great. And I can tell you, after all the difficulties of last year, all of this is EXCEEDINGLY WELCOME.






Naturally, I will be keeping you all abreast of what happens, but is all this not bizarre?



Filed under Flowers

26 responses to “IN THE GARDEN

  1. Aida Spinazzola

    As perfume aficionada I have been reading your blog for a long time now.
    You write so beautifully…
    Happy for you that this “non coincidence” happened. The universe aligns with our deep desires for things to happen. Keep us posted, it will be a joy reading you.
    Warm regards,

  2. Bee

    Wow – talk about getting your ducks in a row! The universe wants you to have a book deal and I heartily second that motion. What a wonderful bouquet of perfume events – and a day out with Dariush is always a joy. Have a wonderful time here in soggy UK and I hope you feel re-energised & renewed by it all.

    • Thanks very much. Yesterday was the full grey wet suburban misery but the sun is a boon this morning! And yes – me and the Dariush are becoming very good friends indeed these days and it will be lovely to have someone I know at such prestigious events!

  3. OnWingsofSaffron

    It very often boils down to this: trust your intuition, instincts, gut feeling, whatever. I really hope that your meeting with the publisher turns out to be successful. Best of luck!!

  4. rprichpot

    A date with Persolaise? Be still my heart! ❤️ Have fun.

  5. Filomena813

    This is so exciting…I am so happy for you and us as a book from you is something l always hoped for and I am sure I am only one of the many. Enjoy your time in England and I look forward to your hearing all about it.

  6. Filomena813

    This is so exciting…I am so happy for you and us as a book from you is something l always hoped for and I am sure I am only one of the many. Enjoy your time in England and I look forward to your hearing all about it.

    • The book thing…..who knows? I would love to do one, just to have created one, but I doubt that I would be able to be as FREE and myself as I am on The Black Narcissus. What do you think?

  7. KitKat

    I kept reading incredulously with progressively more incredulity and widening of the eyes. Surely at least one of these things (the stunning Nagel meetup) owed to some groundwork and not total serendipity? (Though i suppose some would say serendipity always operates with groundwork in the background).

    First is a very hard one to try to get to sleep in. I would be too distracted by its persistent (some might say aggressive) spring-like aldehydic high pitch. Excellent when you’re walking purposefully on a sunny day with flowers blooming nearby…perhaps in England’s green and pleasant land. Enjoy your stay.

    • Well I booked my plane tickets back without any of this on the schedule! I got an email the day two days before asking if I would like to judge as I won the Jasmine Literary Award in the past, and it turned out that Persolaise was already going to Hermes so asked if I could go along too; my literary agent literary got in touch out of the blue as well and again, it so happened there was something in London the next day as well (again with Persolaise); the timing couldn’t have been better. Shame it is so COLD and rainy here though……kind of missing Japan already.

  8. MrsDalloway

    That is awesome! Glad you’re home and the stars are aligned.

  9. I have to dash, but had to read this and had to quickly and briefly reply. Darling, you deserve all this mad synchronicity and I’m over the moon for you. xoxoxo Keep us posted. And congratulations on all of it . . . with more good things to come. I feel it in my bones.

    • Thanks Robin. It is amazing when one minute you are feeling a bit hopeless (as I have/had been, in truth- I was wanting to come back here to recharge my love batteries, essentially) and then you get some nice boosts that you weren’t expecting.

      • Spectacularly nice boosts.

        Amazing in and of themselves, but heavenly (and exquisitely timed) considering how difficult a go you’ve had of it with knees, work, mood et al. Batteries drained. And what a way to recharge them. I was happy all day yesterday thinking of how much you needed — and deserved — all of what’s happening.

  10. Tara C

    Wow, what synchronicity and following your gut instincts won’t do for you! So envious of your meeting with Persolaise, he has such a beautiful voice I lie on the couch listening to his perfume videos and it zens me out. Have a fabulous time!

  11. How absolutely wonderful that the stars were in alignment and fate smiled upon you. This is all such terribly fabulous news, not to mention well deserved also. I really hope everything goes perfectly and you have a great time in merry old England.
    Oh, I also would love to know which fragrance choices you made for each event.

  12. Exciting times! Please keep us updated.

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