Some years ago I resolved never to make any more New Year’s Resolutions and guess what? I haven’t!
And I have felt so much better for it.
Oh my, what a prompt. Set me off on a long journey of aromas.
I wandered back in time, ambling around the garden remembering the different flowers, then sauntering along the country lanes recalling all the different hedgerow blossoms and scented verges.
Which led to the evocative aromas of the Scottish Highlands. The smell of moist peat, bracken and ling merging with the heat of a warm sunny day. It is a smell that reaches so deeply inside, you really have to experience it to believe its effect.
Then onto that most heavenly musty moist mix of all sorts of smells blended together as a consequence of a shower of rain in the middle of summer. Whenever it happens, my world stops, wherever I am. I am gripped by the experience and indulge fully in the moment.
I have always been very sensitive to smell – a curse and a blessing!
I know when certain people are thinking about me as I become aware of the smell I associate with them. It comes across as strong as if I was with them in person.
For years after my grandma died I kept smelling rice pudding cooking, immediately I was transported back to the kitchen. Then my mind would join in and add the smell of the kitchen and the personal aroma of grandma.
My mother reappeared with the smell of cooked tomatoes, something we both loved and probably the only thing we ever shared. I have never quite mastered the exact taste when I make them, probably on account of being unable bring myself to add the excessive amount of butter she used to cook them in.
I simply adore the scent of the lilac which transports me back to grandma’s front garden with its giant lilac bush in the corner. As a child I was known for sticking my nose into every flower to investigate its scent.
But my all-time favourite has to be the May blossom, so captivatingly beautiful at this time of year. Her heady scent so invasive, I can smell her with the car windows closed. She evokes so many joyful memories of warmer days and even warmer rainy days. Each time I smell her, the world stops for a moment. And another cherished memory is born.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Smell You Later.”
Most people who currently know me have no idea that I was wild when I was younger. I did everything at break-neck speed. For me slow meant old. I had to get wherever I was going yesterday. I was full of life and mischief, with boundless energy.
I used to run as fast as my legs would take me, cutting corners on country lanes to shorten the journey time to wherever I was going. I was usually a lot faster going home for fear of being grounded.
When I started using a bicycle I would pedal that as fast as I could too.
Later on when I got my first car, which was ancient as my dad wouldn’t let me buy anything modern, I can remember driving down a steep hill, my foot flat to the floor, overtaking everyone in sight. As I passed them I glanced over my shoulder before I moved back into the inside lane and caught a glimpse of the driver looking at me aghast. I must have looked a rare sight as you didn’t see cars that old travelling quickly.
I wasn’t allowed to have a motorbike but when I turned 18, I sold my car and bought one, much to my parent’s horror. Needless to say, I wrung its neck everywhere I went.
I only fell off once, well when I was moving! I seemed to fall off regularly when I was stationary. Something to do with not being able to perform in front of a crowd.
The one time I fell off moving was down our driveway. I always used to arrive like a maniac, probably to annoy my mother who was always determined to bring a halt to any form of fun. This particular day it backfired on me. My dad had been mixing concrete and there was a residue of sand outside the back door. I came along like a bat out of hell, locked up all wheels, the bike when down and me with it as we slid past the back door and into the garage. Makes me laugh just thinking about it. It must have looked like something from a cartoon strip.
I can picture it now, low flying wayward daughter, manic mother clad in pinny (apron), bounding out of the kitchen door ranting at me. It hurt like hell (I only had office quality trousers on) and the last thing I needed was a violent earbashing. After that I always wore thick jeans and bought a bigger, faster bike!
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma.”
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Baggage Check.”
I ran the idea through the channels. Nope. Not a jot.
I reran it.
We all have complicated histories. Hmmm? Yes and No.
Depends upon your perspective.
When was the last time your past experiences informed a major decision you’ve made?
Gee can’t remember.
If every moment is different and in that moment I am different too, then why would I apply what I did then to now? Unless it was something simple like (thinking, give me time …).
Whilst looking for ideas I came across this lovely quote.
“Everyone comes with baggage. Find someone who loves you enough to help you unpack.” Unknown.
No fun in having a suitcase if it’s empty is it?
No point in having one at all unless you’re intending filling it?
They say it takes all sorts to make a world. Well I’ve definitely seen 3 of them. Sorts that is. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I never would have believed it.
There I sat, outside the village supermarket, on a wooden bench, under the shade of an old beech tree, happily munching away on my salad sandwich people watching as usual.
A big sign had been erected over the trolley park and as I began to read it, three people, one after the other, three people walked into a bar that had been placed across the trolley park to prevent access.
I’m sorry I couldn’t contain my laughter.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Fill In the Blank.”
I like the idea. Wish it were that simple. But it would be just a shade of an overview. Of course, it would be really helpful if I could remember half of the songs I have loved over the decades. Never did have a good memory for names; I guess they didn’t have that much of an impact on me.
What I like in this moment may be completely the opposite in the next. Ask me the same question tomorrow and the answer would probably be quite different.
Every now and then I have a nostalgia trip. I wonder what might have been. I allow myself to indulge in memories. I taste the joy, the fun, the freedom. I know that is only part of the picture but it’s a fun ride for a while.
I go through phases where I awake in the morning with a song running through my head. It will stay all day and sometimes for days on end. Quite often there is some deep meaning within the words. When the penny finally drops, the song goes away.
Other times, someone may mention a word or a phrase. Take this morning, as I walked through my hallway, I noticed a tiny pin prick of a hole in the heavy curtains covering the doorway. The word lodged ‘hole’. Doomed, I was doomed to the repetitive song of ‘there’s a hole in my bucket’! Lasted up until lunch time. I’d forgotten about that until now. Hope I haven’t triggered its repeat cycle again.
As I write this the only song that comes to mind is, You’ll Never Walk Alone by Gerry and The Pacemakers. I have no affinity with the football club that has adopted it but I can see why they did. I find it deeply moving and the strength of inner power it generates never ceases to amaze me.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Mix Tape.”
I’m in the zone a lot, well ‘my zone’ that is. Everything I do I seem to lose myself in it. I have little or no sense of time these days. In fact, if you put me in a situation where I have to meet a deadline, I can feel the wings stiffening up.
I developed the ability to lose myself, (though I didn’t call it that, I called it being present), because there were so many chores I had to do that I loathed that I simply had to find a way to carry them out and appreciate them.
So I began being present in the moment, just noticing how I was doing the task, what it felt like, how it smelled (beautiful laundry brought in from hanging outside on a warm day) for instance.
When I chop vegetables it has become almost therapeutic. My focus is entirely on the task, meticulously working through the vegetables, noticing their textures, colours and smells as I enjoy the moment.
I didn’t plan it this way, but all these things have become a form of relaxation and strangely enough, I no longer experience them as a chore.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Zone.”
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Those Dishes Won’t Do Themselves.”
I always leave them in the hope they will. You never know, one day …
And I don’t believe in using dish washers (well the non-people kind). I had a phone call from the local energy trust regarding saving energy. Now I am pretty sure you can’t save much more than I do. Well maybe putting a fourth layer on top of the already cumbersome three layers may help a bit, but come on, my soul is almost smothered into extinction during the winter months with 3 layers a fourth is beyond acceptable.
So we discussed all sorts of ways I use energy and the dishwasher came up for discussion. I expressed my perspective and was shot down in flames for not having one. He told me that I would save more energy and do less damage to the environment if I had a dishwasher. I told him I agreed and would insist in future in cajoling the next human through the door via the kitchen sink.
I don’t think he appreciated my humour.
I offered to be put to the test – I did not believe that if I lived to the grand old age of one hundred and washed up as often as I do that I could justify the damage to the environment caused by the mining, manufacturing, construction, transportation, maintenance, running costs and pollution.
Amazingly, he believed he had sufficient statistics to prove me wrong. It was at that point that we parted company.
Now, where was I?
I had come to believe that soapboxes were a thing of my past!
I am not a fan of housework generally, I can always think of something more interesting to do, however, my home is always clean and reasonably tidy. I really don’t like to create work for myself.
I used to loathe ironing but developed the art of buying clothes that needed less ironing and making sure I hung them up to dry, preferably outside. It’s amazing how well nature shakes and flaps the creases out of the fabric. When summer finally arrives it is impossible to avoid the iron, but I had an epiphany one day and decided that in order to enjoy a job I hated I would find a way to make it acceptable. So I selected some peaceful music to listen to, and whilst I ironed, I flattened out all the creases in my life.
I could have become carried away with enthusiasm for the task but winter returned and out came the thick jumpers again.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Journey.”
When I was child of about 3, we lived in a tiny village that had only one shop. It seemed miles from anywhere but my cousin, she lived just around the corner and around the next bend on the same country lane lived Grandma and Grandad. For some reason I wasn’t over keen on Grandad, but I adored my Grandma. She was such a loving person and I really enjoyed being with her. I was allowed to ride my tricycle along the pavement, all on my own to visit them.
It was a delightful place to live, surrounded by wildlife, farms and an abundance of greenery. We took regular walks thoroughly indulging in the effect of the changing seasons. To this day I have a similar passion for nature, the countryside and the seasons.
We would watch the butterflies dance from flower to flower, noting which one it was and if we weren’t sure, we’d look it up in a book when we returned home. We’d breathe in the scents of the blossoms on the hedgerows, trees and the wild flowers in the grass verges. I was renowned for sticking my nose into flowers.
There was always something riveting to watch or exciting to explore. Many of the fields roundabout had small ponds in them. Here we would sit for hours just watching the dragonflies dance from reed to reed, or watch the pond skater insects whizzing over the water’s surface or catch newts with our nets, putting them into a jar so that we could get a better look at them. We would always put them back into the pond before going home. Other times we would keep a watch out for calves or lambs being born, watch the farmer plough a field or bale hay.
Big cousins would come to visit quite regularly, cycling all the way from their village miles away and we would ride our bikes or play ball games and drink cordial, something that was only available when visitors came. We were rarely indoors and my selective memory can only recall rain in April, though we must have had days when it poured.
Then one day, which for me seemed quite out of the blue, we were moving. A giant green lorry with a cavernous space at the back was taking all our belongings and we were going to live somewhere else. I can only remember horror. All the things I would be leaving behind. My Grandma would be miles away, how I would miss my dear loving Grandma. And my cousins, I would have no friends to play with.
When we arrived at our new house, it was on a straight main road and it felt as if it were on another continent. Being a new house it didn’t have the old established gardens around it so it felt barren. The whole place felt empty, the whole area felt empty. Where was the greenery?
There was a big hedge over on the other side of the road and there were some big trees but the cosseted feeling of the old village which just oozed greenery, was non-existent in this strange place.
I was told not to make a fuss, I would make friends. There was a girl next door that I was encouraged to play with, but a part of me didn’t like the feel of her. I started school and began to make some friends but somehow they never felt like the deep comradeship I had had with my cousins. My only saving grace from living in that very empty feeling place was that at the weekends my dad and I would go for long walks along the riverbank or the canal and we would observe all the bounty that nature had to offer. Those days were like heaven on earth.
One of the things that sticks in my mind was the feeling of isolation, I felt as if I was ‘out on my own’ and despite having moved from a verdant green village, I felt separated most strongly from my beloved sea. Now we didn’t live by the sea but we were probably only a couple of miles from the sea as the crow flies and less than an hour away by train in those days and whilst I have no recollection of being at the seaside when the sun went down, I can clearly remember sitting in my bedroom with my head poking through the curtains, watching the sun going down behind the hedgerow across the road and wondering just how many miles away the sea was and how I yearned to be near it. This has stayed with me ever since and must have had such a profound effect on me that I now live right by the sea and would have it no other way.