Scent and Memories

This morning, before I took my vacuum cleaner to my cleaning job, I put a tissue soaked with violet scented oil inside the bag. When I turned on the cleaner I was immediately taken back to the Christmas when I was ten, when I was given my first bottle of cologne. It was named “California Poppy”, so not actually anything to do with violets, but there must be something about the scent that is similar.

It made me think about how scents and smells are so important. I remember when my babies were born, having to hold them and smell them. When they were a little older, the smell of Johnson’s baby powder was one of my favourite smells….and still is.

I was in a strange town once, about six months pregnant, and got stuck outside a launderette for about twenty minutes, pretending to be waiting for somebody. The combination of the smell of a hot wash, and the lamb stew they were cooking upstairs in the flat above the shop had transported me back to my Nana’s house. She used to take in washing, and on the days she was washing, lamb stew would be put into the oven, ready for that evening.

Lilies and their beautiful scent are a reminder of the wonderful day in 2005 when I got married.

Unfortunately, since they have changed the way they resurface roads, one of my favourite smells has gone…remember hot tar? That smell takes me back to Germany when I was a little girl, when I would hang around roadworks with my friend, who loved the smell as much as I did.

Now, the smell of freshly roasted coffee is wonderful, but when I was younger, I could use it as a pregnancy test, as immediately I conceived, the smell would make me feel really sick. Immediately the babies were born, I was back to loving it again.

They say that scent is an important part of attraction between people. I used to think it was pheromones, but I heard the other day that it isn’t actually that. I haven’t ever been aware of someone’s natural scent being attractive…actually have never noticed it, but I have experienced the opposite. I was in a long queue in a newsagents one Saturday, and had to walk away because I couldn’t bear the smell of the man in front of me. He didn’t look or smell dirty, he didn’t have B.O., and he wasn’t wearing any scented toiletries, he just had a smell that was unbearable to me.

When I go into our spare room after the door has been closed, I think of my parents. The sofabed smells like their house, even after all these years. I’m grateful for that, I hope it never stops smelling like that. It probably isn’t even noticeable to anyone else.

I’m so thankful for the ability to smell all these things, I hope I never lose my sense of smell.

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