The ground floors of department stores are bright, white and overpower you with a nauseous mix of perfumes. On board the yacht I have a stomach of iron, but I was not looking forward to hunting for my sister’s favourite perfume.
A young man, with more make up than the girl assistants, came skillying up.
‘Good afternoon Madam, may I help?’
For a moment I was so fascinated I could not answer. He looked like a beautiful slender doll, high cheek bones, rosebud lips, hair spiked immaculately and dressed totally in black. His charm was enough to make me, in my jeans and anorak, feel I was as entitled as any other woman to grace these hallowed halls of beauty. He laughed when I confessed my predicament. I had forgotten the name of the perfume.
‘Can’t you phone or text her?’
‘She’s just started a three hour exam and I’ve got to get back to the harbour while the tide’s high.’ I looked at the shelves full of elegant boxes, none of the names jogged my memory.
‘Treat yourself instead; what do you miss most out at sea?’
I was talked into buying an expensive tiny bottle.
In my cabin I cautiously removed the delicate stopper, sniffed and was transported to a walled garden I had visited as a child. A summer scent never recaptured until now. How was such a scent created? How did the young man choose so perfectly?