Monday, January 24, 2011

Body wash

Right, I have before me two small plastic squidgy tubes each containing 30 ml, which is not very much at all, of Relaxing Body Wash and Hand and Body Wash respectively and it is required to discuss these items.

The Relaxing Body Wash is sold by Crabtree & Evelyn and if you are a Foreigner, the bottle helpfully translates matters into Gel bain douche relaxant so you know what to do with the stuff. And it contains the following:
Water (aqua)
Sodium laureen sulfate
Cocamidopropyl betaine
Lauryl glucoside
Fragrance (parfum)
PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate
Algae extract
Spirulina maxima extract
and that isn't even the half of them. We haven't even got to sodium chloride (salt) or citric acid (vitamin c) yet, and there are some truly joyful ones like Butlyphenyl methylproprional, and yes it's Butly and not Butyl, at least on the bottle, if you can call a plastic squidgy thing a bottle. There are a total of 27 ingredients of which I recognise just four, and none of them - the bottle tells me - have been tested on animals. Well thank *uck for that. It's hard to imagine an animal breeding station large enough to provide enough specimens for all these chemicals.

So. What I want to know is this.

Why is the stuff Body Wash? In what way does it differ from Hand Wash? Do the germs pollutants grit grime oils and odours of the hand differ in some measure from those of the torso? And if so, surely there are aspects of thorax and abdomen that could be explored by the specialist cleansing chemist? I am moved to suggest that Crabtree & Evelyn are missing a trick. What with the advent of recumbents we now have a need, for example, for an In Between The Shoulderblades Wash, which will very probably require perhaps a little more Linalool and the removal of Isobutylparaben from the formula. I should not like, after a sweaty ride up the valley where my shoulderblades have been pressed against the top of the seat back, to subject them unnecessarily to Isobutylparaben in the shower. Not if it hasn't already been ascertained by the Crabtree & Evelyn that Isobutylparaben is perfectly safe, at least on the shoulderblades of a few laboratory animals, before it purveys it to mine.

Oh! - Wait! - Hang on! - it's the eco.fresh Hand and Body Wash that isn't tested on animals.

So the Crabtree stuff is. Rejoice! I'm alright then! Fifty-eight rats have been subjected to Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben and all the rest. My shoulderblades are going to be just fine.

Anyway. The burning question remains.

Whatever happened to soap?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Stoat skin

Summer and one tires of mowing the lawn. Others keep a dog and walk it daily; I keep half an acre of greenery short. Interest is added by virtue of having to dodge John's sea salt and stoat skin, and all the fallen apricots. The salt is acquired as sea water and poured onto a green tray where it evaporates in the middle of the front garden; the stoat was acquired only the once when he found it, fresh road kill, on his bike ride. He brought it home and asked for a lesson in animal skinning. I hadn't grasped that the stoat is related to the skunk until inadvertently snipping through a small innocuous white gland near the tail, but my taxonomic knowledge grew very quickly thereafter. Instant nausea. Just as well I didn't pick up the stoat I saw last year with a view to playing a small joke on Willem, who kept a daschund called Chester. I had planned taking the stoat in a box and saying 'I found Chester run over.' Willem has a keen sense of humour and would have laughed uproariously. Colette (Mrs Willem) would not; she hated Chester in proportion to the number of times he pissed in the bedroom. She wanted Chester dead. And in fact she got her way and saved me the stoat joke because Chester, poor chap, ran out of the house under a car. In fact it may have been because Chester looked like a stoat that he got run over: your New Zealand driver will always run over stoats and possums, and you can generally tell an overseas driver by the fact that his tail-lights come on when there's a hedgehog in the road. To everything there is a morality but there are no absolutes, and the running over of stoats and hedgehogs is mitigated by the eating of kiwi eggs and weka eggs and Californian quail eggs by stoats and hedgehogs. - In fact only the kiwi and the weka are native-and-preserved: the Californian quail was introduced specifically so people could shoot them, but nobody ever can. A Californian quail is about the size of a plump blackbird and about the colour of a guinea fowl and sticking out of the top of his head is a single feather, a plume, that looks as if it ought to have been in a BBC costume drama. And he always goes everywhere with his wife and fifty or sixty exceedingly tiny children, all of whom run at a speed that makes Sebastian Coe look like a member of the House of Lords. The Californian quail has legs about a quarter of an inch long and to see him run - and he always does run - makes you revise your ideas about short cranks, because you can't actually see his legs move. They're a blur. Eventually they vaporise, of course, and then he has no option but to fly, and his wings are wired up to his leg neurones so his feathers are a blur too. And if ever you meet a man with a gun who can shoot a miniature pea-hen with an ostrich feather stuck in his hair who runs like a McDonalds wind-up toy and then turns into a hummingbird, I authorise you to shoot the man instead. But you won't find one. He'll be laughing too much.

Summer, so one keeps one's eye out for the first recumbent-or-Bob-Yak-struggling-up-Takaka-Hill. It was yesterday, as a matter of fact. It was a recumbent and not a Bob Yak. Summer always produces a few in Motueka: the Bob Yaks spontaneously generate themselves in Nelson and trek over here, but the recumbents are always from Picton and always on their way to Invercargill. This betrays lamentable navigational skills because Motueka is a bit out of the way, and certainly by the time they've done Takaka Hill (894 metres) and found that there really isn't any other road connecting Golden Bay with the rest of the country and so it's got to be back over Takaka Hill (894 metres again) they begin to see the value of map-reading skills. The recumbent was a short wheelbase and very probably an early Radius, very probably a Hornet, but it might have been an HP Velotechnik Street Machine. But anyway it was red. And heavily laden. And almost certainly ridden by a German. Even though he had all his clothes on he was probably German. I know he wasn't a New Zealander because there was a hedgehog on the road and he didn't run it over. (Though maybe that was to do with Mr Larrington's P*ncture Fairy.)