So the time has come to dust off the jar of Gilboy's Leather Balsam which has been in the cupboard for many months.
"Bring me back some of that shoe polish," I kept saying to Simon.
"It's not polish, it's a balsam," would come the correction. I refrained from asking what the difference was. For many months Simon has been excitedly coming home and telling me about the new product he has been creating and how he had finally worked out that he needed to add more lanolin in order to perfect a balsam made from the highest quality of ingredients, the purest of components and that it would revolutionise the way that people cared for their leather.
So, having put our daughter to bed, I looked at the scratched, dirty and dull array of boots and shoes sat sadly in our hallway and decided that the time had come to break out the balsam. Now I am pretty houseproud, at times verging on the edge of OCD. I can openly admit to ironing underpants, I have been known to edge the front lawn with a pair of kitchen scissors and I am one of those annoying people who gives the dishes 'just a quick rinse' before they go into the dishwasher. However, shoe polishing is not my thing. All I've managed over the last couple of years, since leaving professional work, is to give our shoes a cursory wipe. Applying leather balsam to an array of Gilboy footwear was not something I was looking forward to.
Well, let me tell you. I am now a changed woman!
Within seconds of applying the leather balsam to my boots I found that I was actually enjoying the experience. Smearing on this luxuriant substance was becoming highly pleasurable. This sensory satisfaction was up with licking the bowl clean after making a cake (or if you possess a Y chromosome, watching Nigella lick any food item from any kitchen utensil). As I moved on to cleaning my daughter's tiny boots that she wears to nursery, a new sensation started to seep in. As well as finding enjoyment in completing my parental duties, I started to detect a slight smugness. Hmm this was new! Yes I would be the parent who evidently loved their child so much that she slaved for hours over her offspring's footwear to achieve a military grade gleam. Obviously, on later reflection I realised that everyone is far too engrossed in their own children and lives to start measuring their parental efficacy by shoe shine. However, at the time of applying the balsam I was 'in the zone.' I was enjoying the Gilboy's Leather Balsam experience in body and mind.
All I needed was one application of balsam onto my sponge and I could cover one whole ankle boot and transform it from a sorry looking piece of footwear into the nourished and glowing boot that it was destined to be. Simon was right. This isn't a polish. Its a balsam!
A polish needs constant reapplication onto your cloth. This balsam is rich and dense. It soaks into the sponge and glides over the shoe leather with easy strokes.
A polish needs buffing to achieve a satisfying finish. This balsam satisfies from the moment you swirl it onto your sponge. You can feel it being absorbed into the leather and conditioning it instantly. Within seconds my boots were radiant and glowing.
The following evening, Simon and I were heading out and he noticed that I had applied the balsam to my boots. I told him excitedly about what a pleasant experience this had been and how happy I was with the results. At which point he proceeded to take off his shoe and casually buff the toe of my boot with his sock. The shine was instant. Oh what new joy was this? I had been so happy with the result of simply applying the balsam that I hadn't even considered that the effect could be improved by a small amount of buffing.
So, for my gift to Mr Gilboy this Valentine's Day I have decided to write Simon this blog; a testament to his passion, dedication and hard work. Apparently blogs are good for sales and Simon should be writing one each week. However, in between talking to customers, getting excited about new products, drinking beer, running in order to offset the calorific effects of beer, looking after our daughter and being event director for our local Parkrun, blogs are quite a long way down his 'to do' list. Simon is a talker rather than a blogger. He will speak with depth of knowledge and true passion about furniture, beeswax polish and now his leather balsam. I'll be honest at times I find his evangelical enthusiasm for his beeswax based products a little exhausting. I struggle to maintain suitably enthusiastic responses after the first hour of listening to prolonged updates on the development of new products. However, I admire Simon for his knowledge and total immersion in what he does; his determination to make his products the very best on the market and to give his customers a little glow inside when they realise how much love and personalised care has gone into the development and packaging of every sale.
And after experiencing the satisfaction derived from using Gilboy's Leather Balsam, I can confirm that the passion and love for his products is completely justified.
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