BY NICK HAMMOND
WELL, it’s not been a dull couple of years, has it?
That’s the very least we can say about one of the more remarkable passages in my life thus far.
If you’d have told me I’d spend endless months in the shed at the bottom of my garden, concocting stuff, hosting online events, recording audio conversations and creating a podcast while trying to keep my tootsies warm with an inadequate gas heater, I’d have said you were probably a sandwich short of a picnic.
And if I’d have spent any time considering that I would barely leave the village and wouldn’t step on those elevator staircases to board an aircraft for two years, I may even have burst into tears.
It’s remarkable how resilient and adaptable human beings are; while we love a routine and like to settle into comfortable ways, when the world around us changes, we change pretty quickly with it.
One source of income was totally turned off at the tap thanks to our pal Covid – that of the roving reporter, travelling, observing and writing about what I saw – and something else had to take its place pretty damned quick. That something else has turned out to be several something elses and led me off in a myriad of new directions. Life’s exciting like that.
All of which is a rather long-winded way of getting round to tell you how yet another in the growing portfolio of Leggets products came to pass. It fits firmly into the category of ‘never thought I’d be doing that’ and it still makes me chuckle when I think it has actually come to fruition.
It started in the beautiful warmth of an early Summer afternoon in the surprising surroundings of a greenhouse and the feel of the sun’s rays through the glass; that enveloping cocoon of captured heat; the smell of rich soil; and ultimately the incredibly vibrant smell of the growing fruits inside made, for some reason this year more than countless others, a lasting impression on me.
I felt comforted, safe, in a familiar environment surrounded by a smell that immediately produced lots of good memories and I remember feeling so alive and happy just because of that smell. And so, I set about trying to recreate it.
The boring part of a story about creation is the hard work. The endless discussions, the disagreements, the samples that don’t hit the mark, the decisions on colours and branding and pricing and more. But the end result of that momentary lightning bolt in a Buckinghamshire greenhouse is a new Leggets candle, which I’ve cunningly named, er – Hothouse Tomato.
This isn’t an exact recreation of that original smell, but a dreamlike sensory version of it and I love it to bits. An unlit candle on the side of my desk as I write gives out gentles aromas of encouragement and when sparked up it transforms the room and my mood. And just wait until you light it in a darkened room and the warm orange glow sets in!
It’s a rare privilege to be able to use whichever side of the brain it is which controls invention and creativity in a number of innovative ways and while I’m no expert in anything, I have been around a bit and studied a lot of unusual things all over the world with an observant eye, ear – and, of course, nose.
Please give Hothouse Tomato a go – I’d love to hear your thoughts when you’ve had a chance to wrap yourself in its embrace.
N I C K H A M M O N D