Some say you can track key moments in your life by the music you heard at that time, that songs and memories are linked. For example “You do something to me” by Paul Weller – the first time I kissed my wife. I say I can do the same with smells – certain smells instantly take me back to places, times spent with people, events happening around me either mundane or extraordinary – all these memories are triggered by certain smells.
Orange scented bubblegum – the memory of thinking I had stood in bubblegum whilst walking down a path at RHS Wisley only to discover it was actually a Philadelphus “Belle Etoile” shrub creating that smell. I bought a plant of my own about four years ago but as yet it hasn’t recreated the same strength of smell for me. This smell means patience to me – as a gardener we have to have lots of it.
Slightly aging carpets, Warburtons white bread crumbs and salty homemade stew – a unique blend of smells which puts me straight back into my Grandma’s house. A very happy place for me so of course a smell I am keen to remember. I miss you Grandma, and I also miss your “fistful of salt” stews, even if my kidneys don’t!
Hot wet dust, made wet by a sudden downpour in a usually very arid land. A smell which conjures up memories I haven’t yet fully processed, of time spent in a country with a job I had that wouldn’t be on my list of “top ten holiday destinations”. Say no more, it’s probably for the best.
A certain chemical / plastic smell – Starwars toys as a boy. A very happy memory and how I wish I could recreate the excitement I used to feel when opening a new Starwars toy.
Blankets and flowers – straight away I’m in the hospital where both my daughters were born.
Incense, dust and “funny vimto” – a memory of going to church as a boy, the funny vimto was the smell of communion wine on the adults’ breath, the incense was because the Priest had a funny metal handbag thing he swung around and the dust was down to the fact that the Priest was far too busy well, Priesting rather than having the time to go round with a can of Mr Sheen and a yellow duster.
Tepid milk, poster paint and wet clothes – Reception Class at the Primary School I went too. I remember the milk used to have pictures of dinosaurs on the cartons and was never what you’d call “fresh”, also the wet clothing smell was because it seems to me it was always raining.
WD40, old leather and mechanical grease – the inside of the 1980s long wheelbase Landrover Safari that I first kissed my wife in. Oh fragrances, You do something to me.