Tuesday, 4 September 2012

BBC Countryfile & Poppyland Perfume

BBC Countryfile - Filming the re-creation of Poppyland Perfume

Out of the blue one morning I answered a Withheld telephone call – sometimes if I’m really busy I will ignore these and let the ansaphone message take the call as they are often cold callers wanting me to spend money! Naughty of me I know but I do get fed up with having my time wasted five or six times a day.

Hello this is Suzy a researcher with BBC Countryfile – instantly my mind switched to business mode and we had a long chat about re-creating a 1890’s perfume that was created by Daniel Davison in Jetty Street in Cromer. The BBC were going to try and find a bottle of this perfume and see if a recipe existed.

A few days later I heard from Suzy again, a bottle of perfume had been found in Cromer Museum and a copy of the recipe existed. This was sent to a chemist at the University of East Anglia in Norwich and then passed on to me to use in re-creating a modern Poppyland Perfume.

A couple of days later the Director, Becky and her Assistant who had been in Cromer called to see me at Lower Green Farm in Hindringham to discuss the programme and see if I thought a perfume could be made on the programme, hopefully to be filmed outside the old chemist shop in Jetty Street.

 ‘Hows the perfume recipe coming along’ they asked ‘Fine’ came my reply, thinking how surreal is this.

The girls headed back to the BBC in Birmingham to discuss their plans and what might be shown on the programme.

Two days later Suzy rang again:

‘Whats the weather like in Norfolk’ she asked ‘Miserable, wet and raining’ I replied, ‘Oh I hope it gets better by the time we film next Thursday’ she said.

It was exciting, enthusiastically I went into my little room where all my Aroma Natural products are created to begin this Poppyland Perfume. Using the 60% ingredients I knew that were available from the old recipe as my starting point I began to blend in my mind all the essential oils that would work. Several hours later I began to write down different blends and percentages – what fragrance was I hoping to produce. Was it to be spicy, floral, strong, gentle, so many to choose from as we really didnt know what this old perfume smelt like originally and what would a modern version of this smell like?

Each new blend was carefully documented and then tried on friends, relations and neighbours and my poor husband. He kept saying he liked the smell but it reminded him of something he would put on his salad or he would like to eat!! Actually, this was a great help although he thought he was going to hurt my feelings.

Eventually, I knew the aroma I was trying to create –subconsciously, it was always there in the back of my mind – go with your gut feeling Diane I told myself and you will be OK. A few days later I had exactly the fragrance I was looking for – fresh, citrus with deep undertones of wildly romantic Jasmine and Lily of the Valley and of course the Old English notes of Geranium and heady woody Violet Leaf. Each drop, each measurement, carefully documented so it can be created again and again.

Thursday, 12th August I met with the fantastic BBC Countryfile crew, all of them so friendly and completely professional my initial nerves just vanished and filming began. The soundman making me laugh with his jokes as he attached the microphone and the cameraman telling me to forget he is there – easier said than done!  Julia Bradbury was interviewing me and we were blending this new creation together in the sun at the entrance to Jetty Street, Cromer. My husband, daughter and very best friends Margaret and Chris were there to encourage and support me – how lucky I am I kept thinking and after all the rain the sun was even shining.

Becky, the Director was so helpful and even gave Glen a computer so they could all watch what the cameraman was filming. It all went so smoothly and seemed so easy and I was loving every single moment. People were stopping us in the street asking us what was going on, wanting to talk to Julia. How patient and professional this lovely lady is, always willing to stop and have her photo taken with her doting fans – I felt like I had known her and the rest of the crew all my life. 

Finally, the vodka was added to the essential oils to create the Eau de Perfume which was put into a lovely little glass atomiser that had poppy petals floating around in the bottom. Julia stopped people as they passed and asked them to try the perfume and as she did her final piece to camera at the end a bumble bee came down gently hovering over the perfume bottle. Perfect.

What a fantastic end to a fantastic day.

Aroma Natural on BBC CountryfileSummer Special
Bank Holiday Monday, 27th August.
Diane Viall

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