"Expect an arrival of soap," I was told.
"For soap bags."
Oh, right. Remember? I am making soap bags. I haven't managed to get around to any fancy knitting stitch bags yet. I am simply making plain bags with flowers. Mm... I hope they will sell. If they do then the proceeds will go into the scholarship fund.
But soap itself?
My first acquaintance with soap was almost certainly Johnson's Baby Soap. It was probably the only thing available to the mothers of babies back in ancient times. I think it is still around. It was supposed to be "gentle on the skin". What do they use now? I haven't bathed a baby for a long while now.
I moved on to Velvet I think. It was what my mother used for clothes and kids. Our necks were scrubbed as firmly as the collars of the Senior Cat's shirts.
Occasionally there was Lux or, much more rarely, Lifebuoy. Lux is still available. I have been known to buy it in moments of desperation. Lifebuoy seems to have disappeared completely. Perhaps we should have bought more of it?
There was Solyptol too. It was green and smelt vaguely of eucalyptus and other such things. It was regarded as the sort of soap you used if you had been gardening or - perhaps - cutting up onions. I think that is still around.
And then there was Solvol. Ah yes, Solvol. It was used by the Senior Cat and both my grandfathers to remove grease from their hands. It was like washing with sand. You can still buy it.
I think I was in high school before I actually saw an amber cake of Pear's soap. Oh I had seen it advertised but English friends had a cake in their bathroom when we went to visit. They gave me a cake later. The Senior Cat likes it now.
I can remember my maternal grandmother having a round pink cake of soap. It came with a small spray bottle of perfume that was supposed to be like apple blossom. We were not permitted to use it although we were allowed inhale the scent.
And I remember my paternal grandmother having similar round cakes of soap. Hers were usually scented lavender. When we were small she would help use wash our hands with that soap. It was something special.
"Give it a little rub. It will clean your hands and it will smell nice too."
It did smell nice. It felt good too. It was smooth and soothing. Washing your hands felt good with that soap.
On occasions I have had soap given to me. Fancy soaps given to me in fancy boxes. It always seems a shame to use it when it often smells so nice...especially the lavender or the rose scented soaps.
Now we use Pears or environmentally responsible vegetable based soap that comes in a variety of scents. I bought a dozen of the latter at half price and it will take a while to work our way through it. They are 100gm bars.
And, in my underwear drawer I have a round cake of lavender soap which smells just as it did when my grandmother helped us to wash our hands.