Behold my brother Esau is an hairy man but I am a smooth man.
Genesis Chapter 27 Verse 11
On my first return from Blighty on my first ever posting abroad in 1977 I was stopped at customs at Washington Dulles Airport. I placed the two cases in front of the customs official and he put a hand on each . Limey he enquired and I nodded. Then let me tell you what you have in these bags. He proceeded to list probably 30 different brands of English food from Jacobs cream crackers to Walls sausages to HP brown sauce. Annoyingly he was right about them all. It is illegal he said to bring any of that stuff into the US of A but I am assuming they are for personal so on your way.
Over 30 odd years abroad I have reduced that long list by learning to do with out them and using local foods more. My list is now three; Ryvita , porridge and Marmite. In fact now it is just one as I have found porridge at Dok and prefer Wasa to Ryvita anyway.
So in my bag on Saturday evening was just a solitary bottle of Marmite. Have you noticed how Marmite is becoming a noun in the UK being used to describe two opposites that people feel very strongly about. It comes from their advertising of love it or hate it I guess.
Last year there was one other item on the list Tesco shaving gel. I was fed up with paying way over the odds for Nivea and Gillette down here and found Tesco own brand far better at about £1 a can. That all changed at Christmas when my daughter gave me a shaving brush and shaving soap as a present.
Now before all you ladies switch off let me remind you that most of you if not all do quite a lot of shaving in your lifetime too and indeed the BBC Radio 5 mens skincare expert is a girl one Salli Murphy. She tries all the men products on her legs . I know this as I was listening to her whilst sitting in the car park known as the M1 motorway just past Luton last Wednesday.
When I was young on long journeys my mother would play a game called I Spy with us two kids in the back. Something beginning with L and we would have to guess what she had seen with her little eye. Sitting on the M1 it seems the game has changed. The government now play it. I counted 14 cameras on one gantry alone and almost every 250 feet there was at least one camera focussed on the motorway. What on earth are they all for ?
Anyway back to the shaving soap and my wet shave. I had until that present at Christmas seen shaving as just a chore , something you did every morning as quickly as you could. Then rather than gel I was mixing and brushing with my badger hair shaving brush and started to think about it differently. I found ( as I do ) a website called Badger and Blade and they had this on the top of the site
The average male will shave tens of thousands of times in his lifetime. Unfortunately, for most men, this is a chore to be endured, or at best a nuisance. The enlightened gentlemen at Badger & Blade see it a different way; this is a time to slow down and savor some true “me-time” in our busy schedules. A few minutes of working warm, scented lather into your face, followed by a smooth face dying to be touched by your significant other. Isn’t that worth a little effort?
Yes I thought how true and then my shaving soap ran out. I looked around the various supermarkets trying to find more and eventually asked my barber who I am giving English lessons to. He kindly gave me a sample by a company called Proraso and the rest as they say is history.
Boys and girls this stuff is fabulous and very retro as well
They even do a shaving foam in a 500 ml can and it is superb and cheap as well as being 100% Italian. So even old Esau would have enjoyed a shave with it and maybe then his brother Jacob the smoothie wouldn’t have stolen his birthright .
Thanks for the facebook get well soon messages. I did today manage to gather enough strength to turn on my mobile phone which was on airplane mode since Saturday. Imagine my surprise when I saw I had two messages from Easyjet. Ah ha I thought compensation for my near death sickness experience. But no it was to tell me that there were problems at Gatwick and my bags might not have made the flight. Pretty impressive really and a first from an airline in my experience. I almost forgave them for giving me the plague ( more research has shown the true nature of what I really caught that Geraldine keeps disparagingly calling a common cold ). Actually I do forgive them as my bags certainly didn’t miss the flight and in fact were the first two on to the carrousel at Bari. Now that was a first in years of flying around the place.
Go on here it is the sermon by Alan Bennett : My brother Esau