Excellent Iain, very informative and very well written.Sotd - Saturday the 1st of December and yesterday - the 4th
View attachment 39896
Napoleon on Saint Helena - Franz Josef Sandmann - 1820.
Saturday the 1st -
Razor - Mergress (1.5)
blade - Aussie Spoiler vintage (23)
brush - Yaqi 24mm white silver tip
soap - Squadron Group Captain's Blend - tallow
post - witch hazel
a/s - Extro Tabacco
balm - Floid
scent - Creed Tabarome edp.
Razor - Mergress (1.5)
blade - Aussie Spoiler vintage (24)
brush - Semogue 1305 boar
soap - Stirling Nag Champa - tallow
post - witch hazel
a/s - Vitos Tabacco
balm - none.
Result - job done - very nice indeed.
Saturday - I had to go - to borrow a phrase from R - @Blackmass - 'out out,' - full fig required - the birthday party of a close work colleague - I needed to be well shaved - smelling nice - and find a shirt not made by Rohan. A crucial shave - no time to cut yourself up a treat - if you had told me a year ago - that I would confidently pick up the razor - with a blade on 23 uses - I might have suggested you were mental. Paint me purple and call me Susan - the blade is still going a treat. Slight dragging against the grain under the nose - but still better than a Feather on first use. I hate Feather blades actually - if you fancy that sort of thing - then try the Kai option - better - but not by much. I wanted to use the Nag Champa again on Saturday - but it is quite strongly scented - I didn't think that turning up smelling like Jerry Garcia's back pocket was a good option. I will try to track down the matching balm though - the Stirling soap base for me - is exceptional. It's the castor oil included - I think - my skin just loves it - the Extro and Vitos after shaves mentioned above - also contain it. Happy face - happy me. No such constraints with the last shave - Nag Champa ahoy! There you go - a tale of two shaves - how long will the blade last? Who knows - enjoy your shaves gentlemen - yours - I.
Yes, well - I seem to remember a long time ago - in a galaxy far far away - mentioning civet coffee - probably the most expensive beans you can buy - properly wild-sourced ones will set you back at least £500 a kilo - I have had the pleasure of drinking it - it is an exceptional cup of coffee. A close second - in terms of value - and scarcity are those that come from Saint Helena - the island - most famously - where Napoleon was exiled after Waterloo. If you are not familiar with the place - it is a seriously remote island in the Southern Atlantic - the tip of an extinct super volcano - a result of plate tectonics. In the middle of nothing - seriously - the dot above the letter 'i' in the word shit. Nearest land masses? Four thousand miles east of Rio - and two thousand miles west of Africa. First discovered by the navigator Joao da Nova - in 1502 - despite his name - he was actually Galician - it was fairly common at this period for captains to sail under an assumed flag - not the one of their birth - see - Magellan, Columbus and Cabot for comparison. Drake bumped into San Helena during his - accidental - circumnavigation of 1577 - 1580. Initially the Portuguese, Dutch and Spanish sniffed around the place - but it fell to the English. Why was this isolated rock important? Simple - if you were rounding the southern tip of Africa - the trade winds would carry you - roughly - towards it - the first chance to take on fresh water - before the long loop up towards the northern Atlantic. Initially unpopulated - animals were introduced - for food - sick sailors were left there to recuperate. A population developed. Named for Saint Helena - found on the anniversary of her discovery of the 'true cross' in Jerusalem - most famously Helena - was the mother of Constantine the Great - the Roman emperor who brought Christianity into the empire. Debatable as a point - not her being his mother - the cross bit - but this is the position of church orthodoxy. Amazing what travel souvenirs you can find if you are the mother of the emperor? Quality. So - San Helena - if any of you have heard of it - that's probably because - that was where Napoleon was exiled after Waterloo - 1815 - his final exile. Previously - stupidly - they sent him to Elba - in the Mediterranean - just next to Corsica - where he came from. An elementary error - my dear Watson. It did on the other hand give us one of the most satisfactory - palindromes in English - 'Able was I ere I saw Elba.' So - coffee from San Helena - remember that? It was once stated - that all the beans from there came from plants that Napoleon brought with him - a Bourbon varietal. Regrettably not true - it was introduced some time before by the British East India Company - volcanic soil being the best environment for growing a quality crop. In fact - about the only thing Napoleon - had to say about the island - positively - was the quality of the coffee. So - I get to the point of this narrative - a friend of mine - a fellow photographer - was working for Greenpeace - the boat put into San Helena - to pick up fuel and water - before heading further south to fuck with - and annoy - the Japanese whaling fleet in the far southern ocean - Antarctica. He's a big history buff - particularly Napoleon - a once in a life time chance to visit Longwood House - where the emperor died. Saint Helena is not the sort of place you visit everyday? He pitches up - a fair distance from the port - at the door of Longwood House - now technically owned by the French government - I shall shift to imagined dialogue - based on his narrative -
'I'd like to see the place Napoleon died.'
'We're shut - it's Tuesday - we're always shut on a Tuesday - come back tomorrow.'
'I can't come back tomorrow - my ship sails at midnight'
My mate - adopting his finest educated Glaswegian passive aggressive tone of voice - 'you are fucking shut? Shut? How many tourists do you get on this god forsaken rock each year? Can you tell me?'
Much arsing about - then he was given the keys - to have a look around. Keys to be returned to the French custodian when he had finished.
I couldn't help not put shit on his strawberries - as he told me this - the actual house Napoleon lived in fell down shortly after he died - what you will see today is a reconstruction - the only original part is the steps leading up the front door. Such is tourism.
@TomG @Barry Giddens