Scentwise, the trip started on a very positive note. The woman in the seat behind us on the plane was wearing Mitsouko--probably the parfum, judging from exquisite mellow sillage. If there is anything that can overcome the extended olfactory nightmare of an 8 hour flight, it's Mitsouko. I was almost as lucky on the trip back. Sick as I was, the smell of jet fuel and plastic food was killing me, but there was a young woman across the aisle who kept topping up some gentle sandalwood/vanilla thingie, and it was actually very soothing. Of course, she was engaging in just the sort of behavior that gives perfume freaks a bad name, but I'll always be grateful to her.
I knew there was a Penhaligon's in Glasgow, so I hit it the first day there and dropped some of my mad money on a bottle of Lily and Spice (smells just like something else I can't put my finger on, but I loved it so I caved); a little silver compact filled with solid Bluebell (quoth the very cute SA: "Kate Moss loves this"); a men's sampler with Endymion, Quercus, etc.; and a women's sampler that I wanted mainly for the Malabah. I'd never sniffed it before and I thought I loved it--but yesterday it smelled god-awful to me. Weird how that happens. I'm hoping I'll recover my desire for it, but meanwhile I do love the Elizabethan Rose, which is just the sort of pure, fresh rose that never fails to make me happy. The SA really was very sweet, and could not quite wrap her head around the idea that I was buying all this stuff for myself. She insisted I take some wrapping paper and ribbon "in case you decide to give something as a gift after all." Dave suggested that perhaps she hadn't met a lot of perfume addicts.
That's hard to believe, though, because Glasgow actually seems to be a very perfume-friendly place, at least in terms of scented bodies per capita. I kept getting whiffs of what I'd swear was Daim Blond, and Light Blue is as ubiquitous there as it is here. The overwhelming preference seemed to be for light chypres, or the drier fruity/woody scents. Florals not so much, and I didn't get smacked by a heavy oriental even once. The department store sniffing was quite civilized, as it always seems to be in Europe. They just put the stuff out on the shelves and let you sample unmolested. I didn't have to fight off a single sales zombie during my two outings. The selection was good, too. Even the rather dowdy House of Fraser had several Serge Lutens testers out (Gris Clair, Douce Amere, can't remember what else.) The crappy exchange rate made it easy to resist buying anything I could readily lay hands on in the US, but there was plenty of temptation.
Okay, enough perfume. I promised pics. Again these are all by Dave, I didn't touch a camera the whole time we were there. These first three are Edinburgh: looking down the Royal Mile at St Giles' Cathedral (note the traffic cone on David Hume's head); the dog cemetery at Edinburgh Castle (the highlight of Dave's trip); and a shot of the city taken through one of the cannon ports at the castle.
Here's my favorite place in Glasgow, The Necropolis, a 19th century cemetery that sits on a hill behind Glasgow Cathedral. It's vast and rather rundown and completely irresistible. They were doing a citywide light show a couple of nights when we were there, which was nice but was put to shame by the sight of the full moon rising over the Necropolis with the headstones in silhouette. The huge monument in the first pic is (who else?) John Knox. The woman in the second pic is yours truly. Dave always takes a picture of me in every cemetery we visit--one of our slightly warped romantic rituals. The last two are different views of the city, both taken from the Necropolis: grimy Glasgow and pretty Glasgow. That's Glasgow Cathedral in the pretty shot.