I love soap. Solid bars of soap. I just do.
Why? Well, it’s much more ecologically sound, for a start. And I like the feel of a brick of soap in my hands – though I hate hate hate soap residue on my skin. And it’s old-fashioned, it has a heritage.
I can remember several soaps. As a Brownie, we made bizarre things for the bazarre – bars of soap decorated with pastel netting and pinned in beads and sequins. It smelt overly floral. I bet they were really cheap – that’s not the kind of soap I mean. But scent memories are so strong.
Coal Tar soap is the smell of my grandparents’ outside toilet. That and Izal toilet paper. Imperial leather (did you leave the label on or take it off?) – until I did dermatology, and got warned off it because it’s very drying. Pears soap, with that slightly spicy smell (have some in the bathroom right now)
In India we had some sandalwood soap – from a little wooden shop that sold everything by the side of the road. It was a brownish colour, with a slightly grainy texture, but it smelled good.
Italian soap. I like the posh stuff that comes shaped like a brick. It takes ages to smooth those corners down, it’s almost too uncomfortable to hold properly. It lasts forever. It smells amazing, comes in a pretty paper wrapper. People buy it for me for Christmas and birthdays. But, in Italy I’ll happily buy from the local shop. I had one soap that “foamed like champagne” – and it really did – and one that was scented with citronella. Now I always take citronella scented soap on holiday as part of my anti-insect campaign.
I’m not an old lady yet, though I know soap is an old lady thing. It’s an everyday pleasure. I usually have a little stash of bars of soap – I like to choose which I’ll unwrap next. You have to appreciate those small pleasures, you should plan for them. They’re important.