70. Ouds (Guest) 


I recently stayed in a beautiful Air B’n’B on the Scarborough Bluffs in Toronto. The property was exquisite and the company delightful. Since returning to Toronto, I have visited the lovely owners of this wonderful home and it was during this visit that I asked them to pen me a story of a great guest they have had – myself not included of course – and this is what they returned to me. 

When I received the request to book from Nick, who described himself as a vegan and ‘a dedicated campaigner for humane education and a greener world’ I was a bit worried that he would give my omnivore ways a rough time. I really had nothing to worry about though, as he was truly pleasant, and definitely rates as one of our most interesting guests we’ve welcomed. 

During his stay with us he joined us daily for our morning walk along the lakeshore and chatted about his interesting life. He showed us how to eat stinging nettles without getting stung. Nick also liked to peruse the food markets and often came back with interesting toothpastes of unusual flavors and various types of spice mixtures and salts, smoky alder wood salt, etc. I also like to try different salts and spices so we shared our salts with each other. 

On his second day with us, I gave him a lift downtown, and he told me all about his essential oil collection which he called ‘ouds’. These are plant and wood oils, often used in perfumes, often very rare and often very expensive. He told me that he carried his vials of ouds with him and promptly pulled a little box of vials out of his knapsack. So at every stoplight, he would open a vial and hold the glass rod that was in each, under my nose and asked me what it smelled like and then told me what each was and where he got it. This has to me my most fascinating drive and certainly one I will never forget.

(Photo – Eli Woodbine, Canada, 2016) 


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