Smells…

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Since giving up smoking, my sense of smell has come quiveringly out of the corner of my nasal passages, raising its little head enquiringly, yet hopefully…

Smell is such an evocative sense and one that I tend to associate with memories past and present…An early one for me is the enormous lavender bush we had growing beside the pond at the cottage where we used to live when I was little. A heady, wonderful perfume that floated on the air like tangible lilac ribbons. The tiny flowers seemed brimful of perfume that spilled over enticingly, so bees, big fat furry bees would loiter casually amongst the stems, headily drunk and so complacent that I, as a little girl, would stroke their wonderful stripy fur and marvel at its softness…

Another smell memory: both my grandparents have passed now, my grandmother, just two years ago, but I have fond memories of staying at their bungalow in the Welsh countryside. At six o’clock in the morning the heating would come on, and the smell of gently heating house would enter my bedroom, the raffia mats in the kitchen, the toasting smell of the special bread Nan used.

I think I inherited my love of perfume from her. My grandad used to travel a lot on business and yet without fail, he would always bring Nan some perfume. The classics, of course, like Chanel – Chanel No. 5 is my all time favourite – and also the Bentley of perfumes, never mind the Rolls Royce, Joy. (Also my Nan’s name.)

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Joy’ was created by Henri Alméras in 1929 for couturier Jean Patou. It is apparently one of the most expensive perfumes in the world, around 10,000 jasmine flowers and 28 dozen roses are required to make a 30ml bottle. Summer in a bottle, magical and picturesque – as a very special treat, Nan would dab a little on the inside of my wrist – “Never too much darling, a lady should be scented, not overpowering – it’s vulgar.” ‘Joy’ will for ever be my Nan.

Later on in my life, I lived somewhere where there was a dog food factory, a maggot farm and a sewage works. My sense of smell, already somewhat traumatised, went into permanent hiding.

However, as the days of non-smoking pass, I am finding continual olfactory surprises. My mother was slicing cucumber the other day – I was standing, usefully, watching her, when suddenly I was aware of a wet, green, fresh smell. Cucumber!

My cat, Charlie, smells delicious. Her fur is scented with a combination of grass, my hand cream, and some indefinable essence all her own. My mother’s dog, Erin, smells of warm leather.

Living in a house with two sons and my partner, aftershaves and deoderants were all a messy scribble in my nose… but now I can identify Firetrap from Polo, Kouros from Beckham…

I wish I could bottle the smells from my childhood… the golden days of summer, when the sun shone and the sky was bright blue and the Earth gently baked…

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26 thoughts on “Smells…

  1. “I wish I could bottle the smells from my childhood… the golden days of summer, when the sun shone and the sky was bright blue and the Earth gently baked…”

    This is amazing dear Samantha, I think as you about smells… and fascinated me your words. Thank you, Love, nia

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Fabulous! I have just finished week six, been keeping it quiet as don’t want to be one of ‘those’ ex smokers who suddenly grow halos and stand in a pulpit haha. Can’t stand being near people smoking now, not through cravings but the smell of it!

    I have very fond memories of scents of childhood around my grandparents (loved the pantry jars and the garden!!) and I am also a lover of perfume…one of my indulgences 🙂 I always know when my grandparents are around me, if it isn’t the Robin or white butterflies it will be the aromas of the place I called my sanctuary 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Chickens. I only met my father’s parents a couple of times when I was very young, but the smell of a chicken coop takes me right there! I heard this week that your body starts to change for the good ONE HOUR after you stop smoking. Amazing. Keep going! I’m off to find a bee to stroke….

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes they did – maybe I should have made it clearer that I didn’t have chicken-scented grandparents! Sad lack of bees to be found at the moment. I may have to make do with a dust bunny.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. We love th smell of Lavendel…in fact all the scents of the flowers. Granny loves it when I come out of the garden and smell like furresh grass, just like your kitty 😀 You’re getting deeper into the smells after a while, we are sure of that 😉 We loved what you wrote about putting the smells of your childhood in a bottle…if only we could…sigh… Pawkisses for a Smelly Week ahead 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah yes – memories – quite apt I should read your blog the day after posting my own account of memories triggered by smell … And I love the final photo of freesias – I favourite of my mums, and one flower I live for its colour and perfume

    Liked by 1 person

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