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.”
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.
Today’s Prompt: Where did you live when you were 12 years old? Which town, city, and country? Was it a house or an apartment? A boarding school or foster home? An airstream or an RV? Who lived there with you?
Today’s twist: pay attention to your sentence lengths and use short, medium, and long sentences as you compose your response about the home you lived in when you were twelve.
When I was 12 years old we lived on a quiet country lane, in a typically English 1940s accrington brick faced semi with rectangular bay windows and a red tiled roof. It was set in a quarter of an acre of delightful garden.
The people who had lived there before us were an artist and his wife. He had painted the back of the old wooden garage pale pink and emblazoned right in the middle of it, a witch, all in black, on a broomstick flying among the stars. Oh how I wished that I could do that. I used to throw myself off the garage roof in an attempt to fly and had been making these attempts for as long as I could remember, but I was getting a bit bigger and landing wasn’t quite as trouble free as it had been.
My grandma, who had lived with us since I was about 8 years old, one day caught me launching myself off the stairs (in my indoor attempts at flying) and had given me a severe ear bashing about how bad my knees would be when I got older.
The artist had also designed the garden with an intriguing shrubbery and a quaint latch gate within it, which took you down to another part of the garden via a fish pond and a weeping willow. I loved it. I could escape the rest of the family and hide up a tree in the remains of an orchard at the very bottom of the garden.
My father was a keen gardener. Well actually, he was more obsessive than keen. When we moved in he dug up the whole far back garden, which was a beautifully designed miniature golf course, rolled it flat and reseeded half of it as a flat, boring lawn.
The other half was dug over for vegetables, a greenhouse and a cold frame. We had all sort of vegetables and fruits. My favourite was the garden pea. Delicious, straight from the plant. Only thing was we, that is my brother and I, were forbidden to pick any.
Needless to say that was the worst thing you could say to us! My brother was caught hiding the evidential shell under the plants. Me on the other hand had a few years more experience than him and had learned only to take a few, too many and my dad would notice, and bury the shells deep in the grass of the field next door.
I always preferred to help my dad in the garden rather than my mother in the housed. It was far more interesting outside with nature, the wildlife and the elements.
Today’s Prompt: Tell us something about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.
Free free to focus on any aspect of the meal, from the food you ate to the people who were there to the event it marked.
Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.
Instantly I read today’s challenge, 2 dishes leapt to mind. The first was Lancashire Hot Pot, made by my loving grandma. But a much simpler dish that brought back more than just the feelings and the smells but almost the whole room. As I noticed this, it became pretty apparent which was my most favourite meal as a child, poached egg and chips.
Grandma would bring out the low table from the front room. I can picture it now … it seemed so big, like about four feet long and over a foot wide. It stood about eighteen inches high on its slanted black turned legs and had a brass disc on each foot. I remember the legs screwed in at each of its four corners, I got told off one day for dismantling it. I chuckled at the thought.
The top had rounded corners, was covered in cold, clean glass under which was a painting of red roses. It was all edged in a black band which if it moved too quickly stopped my plate from landing on the floor.
She would place it on the bright red patterned carpet, wedged close up to the luxuriously thick red hearth rug and close to the open fire so I could keep warm. The fireplace was a creamy beige colour, small chips and cracks on the hearth from years of dropping things on it. At one side, an almost full coal bucket, distinctly battered and black from years of use. On the side other a small dull copper pot the size of a small mug, filled to bursting with paper spills. I loved to help make them – bits of rolled up newspaper slightly longer than a pencil with a twist on the end. These were used to light the fire in the morning save burning fingers with short matches. They were also a carryover from the time when Grandad was alive, he used to light his Senior Service cigarettes with them. On the mantelpiece an array of brass ornaments propping up notes, or opened letters. Apart from the old wooden carved clock ticking soothingly on the wall behind me, all I could hear was the pfut, pfut of the small flames as they flickered and the occasional crack or ting of the burning coals and rubbish she had recently thrown on the fire. I could always lose myself in that fire, it fascinated me.
I was always brought back from my reverie with strange creak of the door opening. A deep red- coloured velvet curtain hung on the sitting room side of the door, suspended with a strange contraption of angled metal rods. As the door was opened the curtain lifted slightly, preventing being dragged under the door as it opened, pure genius, could do with one of those now. In wafted the smell of homemade chips, delicious. Ooh my mind shot to the kitchen, gosh I can remember that in detail too. “There you go,” she would say in a loving way, “that’ll make you grow big and strong.”
Beautifully crisp chips and fluffy insides, cooked on a gas stove in a pan two inches deep in lard, a real treat. Chips were a rarity in our household but if I visited Grandma on a Wednesday, this was what she always treated me to. And, I was allowed an egg. I wasn’t allowed an egg at home because I point blank refused to eat the white. I just couldn’t stand the taste nor the texture, it just used to make me gag. So I was not allowed eggs at home, but Grandma allowed me to leave the egg white. I would pull my little basket chair up to the table, pick up the big knife and fork, stab a chip with my fork, cut it in half to let the steam out and create a better surface for the yummy yolk to stick to. I loved its creamy runniness, dipping the chip into it and savouring every mouthful.
Hhmm think I might just treat myself one day to some ‘proper’ chips.