Là où l’air est doux

After Louis Catorze’s biopsy confirmed that his skin problems are due to an external allergen, I decided that beeswax candles should become a permanent fixture here at Le Château. Have a look at this link if you fancy finding out more about their air-purifying qualities: https://candles.lovetoknow.com/Beeswax_Candle_Health_Benefits

We usually get our beeswax candles from Cocoa the babysit cat’s mamma, but her beeswax is a very precious, seasonal, small-batch product. So, because her candles aren’t available all year round, we tend to save them for special days. And, after a number of hits and misses with other ready-made beeswax candles, I decided to have a go at making my own for everyday use.

Now, I had some reservations about doing this, for the following reasons: firstly, and most significantly, I don’t have a great record of handmade things turning out well. Secondly, many years ago, I had a horrible work colleague who made candles, and this was a hobby that the 25-year-old me regarded as deeply uncool. Whenever she was mean to me, my friend Jamie would attempt to cheer me up by saying, “Don’t be upset. She’s an idiot. Plus she makes candles for fun. FOR FUN.”

(Incidentally, karma gave her a hefty slap around the chops during one summer heatwave. All her carefully-crafted candles, stored away in her hot attic, melted together into one massive, waxy lump, resulting in inconvenience and mess for her, and the biggest laugh imaginable for me and Jamie. Revenge isn’t always a dish best served cold; sometimes searing heat will do just fine.)

Never before did I imagine I would now be doing that very same deeply uncool hobby. But here we are. And it’s all Catorze’s fault.

Cat Daddy: “You’re making candles? You used to ridicule your friend for doing that.”

Me: “SHE WAS NOT MY FRIEND.”

Cat Daddy: “And you laughed at her when she put her candles in the attic and they all melted.”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets, then giggles from me]

Oh, come on. Anyone who claims not to find that funny is either a liar or dead inside.

Anyway, pictured below is my first attempt at a rolled candle using a Lammasy harvest-coloured natural beeswax sheet. Also pictured are the ten wicks that I ordered, which I imagined would be, erm, approximately as long as an average candle, but each one turned out to be 5 METRES LONG. So everyone I know will be receiving handmade beeswax candles for birthdays and Christmas for the next 734 years. Whether they want them or not.

It’s hard to know whether Catorze approves, as his “I approve” face is the same as his “Just go away and die” face, but I shall assume the former even though it’s most likely the latter.

So far I have used about 20cm of wicking. Only another 49m 80cm to go.
Beeswax sheets. Weirdest things ever.
Quality control test, part 1.
Quality control test, part 2.

I know that you don’t need to be told about not leaving pets unsupervised with burning candles, but it’s worth repeating. Especially if you have a pet who is known for doing exactly the opposite of what you want.

La douce flamme

As if Mother Nature flips a switch the moment the calendar changes from May to June, hay fever season is now upon us and I have gone from having zero symptoms to moderate ones. Cat Daddy doesn’t know it yet but we have invested in a ton of allergen-busting beeswax candles, because we had used up the ones left over from the time that we thought Louis Catorze had hay fever when, in fact, he had a blade of grass stuck up his nose. (If you missed out on that joyous tale, here it is:)

https://louiscatorze.com/2017/07/02/saint-jerome-et-le-lion/

We have also bought of those electric rechargeable lighter things for our beeswax candles. It’s much nicer to use than the old-style, nail-splitting, blister-giving, butane-filled monstrosities and (we hope) less wasteful than wooden matches. And poor Catorze is terrified of it.

Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: he won’t even flinch at loud rock music, other cats, dogs, foxes, marauding youths in Hallowe’en costumes and (we imagine) masked men wielding bolt cutters, but he is scared stiff of the rather pleasant, gentle fizzing emitted by this device. He can hear it from wherever he is in the house and runs for the hills.

I now turn on the kitchen taps to drown out the sound. And, as I am using both electricity AND water when lighting each candle, the electric lighter is no longer the eco option that I had hoped, even if I do catch all the water and make use of it. 

But you know, don’t you, that you would do exactly the same, if not more, for your feline overlords’ comfort? So, for now, both the candles and the water-bearing shall continue. And, with any luck, the purifying powers of the beeswax candles will benefit Sa Maj as well as us.

Here is the little sod after the last candle-lighting, having fled upstairs and taken refuge in, erm, a bag: