Alexander Averin

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Delightful Smells

Dear Diary,

I slept through the night last night! I had to laugh to myself when it occurred to me that I felt the same kind of relief that I had done when my babies were small and had just reached the stage when they slept right through.

And so on to smells, Part Two of my homework.

I always tell my children and grandchildren I am a witch as, being very sensitive, I have been blessed with an acute sense of smell. Smells evoke all sorts of reactions don’t they? Memory being a strong one; for a smell can take you back in time, the effect on the brain is really amazing. A fellow blogger reminded me of the smell of gaslights on caravan holidays when she was a child. I knew just what she meant as I had had the same experience. A Sunday joint roasting in the oven can sometimes evoke childhood memories of Sunday mornings and connect me with Two Way Family Favourites on the radio (showing my age now!).

Environments and their scents affect me very deeply. I can be quite perturbed by bad ones.

But for my favourites I shall start with a few smells from Nature.

Herbs are real miracle workers aren’t they, in more ways than one?

My favourite herby smells are:

Rosemary....... has a wonderful head-clearing scent and for me it carries memories of sunny Mediterranean hillsides.

Mint.........especially the one that grows in our garden. It is so vigorous it took over my herb bed and I had to dig it all out by hand recently and move it. Originally it was a piece given to us by Jesse, a dear and elderly neighbour in Sussex, God rest him. It’s a much-travelled, as well as a much-loved plant, already on its third home here in Wales and we brought it down here seventeen years ago. I have given roots from it to lots of people too. The granddaughters actually eat the leaves and its smell is out of this world.

Flowers now. I will be good and only restrict it to two (or three).

First will have to be lily-of-the-valley, my muguets du bois. Just heavenly but a shame they are only around for a short while. Beautiful and delicate to look at. Aaaah…..

A close second are my dear roses. I have started to collect the ‘old roses’, the David Austen ones have proved their worth and have brought me so much joy both for their scent and for their beauty.

I am sneaking in honeysuckle here, it is a nightly delight in summer.

To be seasonal I will pick some ‘autumnal’ smells

Autumn leaves.
The smell after a rain shower.
The smell of wood smoke.

Let me not forget the wonderful scent you get when you walk amongst pine trees. It’s meant to be good for anyone with respiratory problems.

Indoors now. I am into aromatherapy and I cannot live without my essential oils, my scented candles and my incense, not all at once though!

On the negative side though I am allergic to chemical air fresheners, especially those car ones that some people use, they make me feel really ill and a lot of perfumes upset me and give me terrible headaches. However, I used to be addicted to YSL’s Opium, but can’t wear any perfumes at all on my skin any longer.

Blessings today are all our senses, no need to list them. Let’s just all be as sensuous as we can as we go through each day. Be on the alert as it were, sensually.

A poem on this theme?

Co-incidentally I have just started a new book of poetry by Margaret Atwood, it’s called The Door. I have to admit I have never read her poems before but I am just loving this book. It’s a real page-turner, almost unputdownable and you can’t often say that about a volume of poems!
I will share the first one in the book with you which is about another one of my favourite smells, one that I try to resist though as it is very bad for you.


Shivering in the almost-drizzle
Inside the wooden outboard
Nose over gunwale,
I watched it drip and spread
On the sheenless water:

The brightest thing in wartime
A slick of rainbow,
Ephemeral as insect wings,
Green, blue, red, and pink,
My shimmering private sideshow.

Was this my best toy, then?
This toxic smudge, this overspill
From a sloppy gascan filled
With essence of danger?

I knew that it was poison,
Its beauty an illusion:
I could spell flammable.

But still. I loved the smell:
So alien, a whiff
Of starstuff.

I would have liked to drink it,
Inhale its irridescence.
As if I could.
That’s how gods lived: as if.

Margaret Atwood

I must stop now though I could go on and on dredging up memories and luscious scents but I will just sneak in one more and that is clean, fresh bedclothes, a weekly joy that I always think would be a luxurious treat to have every night of the year, were I to win the lottery. It might even give me such a good sleep that I would go right through the night……….. every night…….

Which reminds me, I forgot to mention.......... I adore the smell of new babies…………………….

Bye for now,
Sweet dreams,


PS The bedroom is not mine, similar shape though.


laurie said...

oh it's impossible not to love those smells. i think lilies of the valley are my favorite flower smell, too, although wait--wait--mock orange. mock orange is so lovely.

i like to sit on the front porch in june and have the windows wide open and smell the fragrance of mock orange and rain wafting in on a breeze....

and roses, to me, smell like apples. only better.

nice post. you have me thinking of all kinds of delicious odors now.

the smell of bread baking....or cookies... laundry on the line, flapping in the breezy sunshine....

Elizabethd said...

Mmmm, lovely scents. For me roses and lily of the valley are the leaders.

bradan said...

Oh Cait, I slept through the night last night, too! It was quite a shock (in a nice way) to wake up at 7.00 instead of 4.30 as I quite often do.

Lovely smells and you are right about the chemical air fresheners, dreadful things!

P.S. I did the Peace thing, but couldn't work out how to put it onto my blog!!

Anonymous said...

Glorious as always Cait; hope you have come back down to earth after Kerry's glorious win over Cork on Sunday!

Still floating on the joy of it here!

DJ Kirkby said...

Love all the herby ones as my mom is a chartered herbalist so that evokes memories of the herbs drying on their racks near the ceiling. Newborn babies with their velvety skin still smelling of birth even days later, ahhh the best!

Posie Rosie said...

A lovely list Cait, and that bed just makes me feel like curling up...bliss.

Kaycie said...

I love the smell of fresh basil. I keep a small pot on a windowsill year round so I can get a fix whenever I wish.

I love the smell of honeysuckle, too, but my favorite is gardenia. Or maybe plumeria. I love really sweet smelling blooms.

And bread or cookies baking, one of my favorites, Laurie. I think I'm going to go bake something wonderful smelling now.

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Berlimey spooky blog or what. It was me who mentioned the gas lamps in the caravan.

Rosemary is my favourite herb. I will just smell it for the sheer joy of smelling it sometimes.

Mint - we used to have mint outside the kitchen back door and it was my job to go and pick it for cooking.

Lilly of the Valley - my mum's favourite small for talc.

Old Rose my favourite talc and perfume.

Yes yes yes to all your Autumn smells and to the smell of pine. Although it broke my heart when they cut down the pine wood near us . . .too much death.

Yes to smelly candles and oh yes to clean bedclothes . . .especially if I have the time to iron them . . . mmmm luxury.

Pipany said...

Beautiful as ever Cait - I love your lists. Perfect flowers though also love sweetpeas, jasmine, daphne.... The sound of a fire is all important to me and I will happily burn one all year round! Lovely to catch up on your wonderful blogs xxx

snailbeachshepherdess said... always...Sunday crashed back in time for a while there!!

Woozle1967 said...

Hi Cait. Loved this! Just popping in to say a quick hello - got to get off to bed soon as builders arriving at un-earthly hour in the morning (yep, even on a Sunday!).xx