Smelly stuff…

These are some of my nostalgic smells – what are yours?

 CoffeeRoaster FOOD SMELLS Just opened a jar of coffee and couldn’t help plunging my nose in to it to get the full aroma.  It takes me straight back to my youth in Bristol and a shop called Carwardines – they roaseted coffee beans in their window and you just had to stop and breathe deeply.Freshly-baked bread has the same stop-you-in-the-street impact.
Carpentry D-i-Y SMELLSJane’s (my wife) father was a carpenter and she is still moved by the smell of wood shavings, sawdust and glue.  Sawdust makes me think of early grocer shops (Home & Colonial, Pearks and Maples) where they used sawdust on the floor to soak up the blood from the hanging game birds and other spillages.The smell from burning off gloss paint with a blow-lamp is another DiY aroma that was more about my youth, today we tend to use chemicals or just slap on a new coat over the old one.The smell and feel of putty is another particular experience – I used some recently and recalled my Dad’s tip to work the putty in to a newspaper. The paper and ink take away some of the oils and made it more pliable – mind you some papers today have new processes that limit those benefit.
WoodFire TRAVEL SMELLS:The smell of a new car is quite distinctive, though I was horrified to learn that some of this is actually an artificial spray to create that impact.  My early used cars had another quite distinctive smell, probably the lack of any real seal on the doors and windows it was a mix of damp carpets merged with hot engine and exhaust smells.Wood smoke is always a pleasant diversion when it drifts in through your car’s aircon.  Burning tyres, either in a fire or an incident, are at the other end of the spectrum.Burton-on-Trent was a great place to travel through, its brewery smells intoxicating.

I used to visit Smethwick foundries at one part of my career – that is a smell I could identify instantly.  Not that dissimilar to the smell that used to waft in to your car at exit 13 on the M1 from the London Brick company.  If you didn’t know it you thought your brakes or clutch were the source.

The worst for passing driving smells used to be the Sellophane factory in Bridgwater, Somerset – so very pungent that you had to speed up to get past it.

Gestetner OTHER SMELLS:Who else recalls the smell of copied lesson papers at school, from early copier systems like Roneos and Gestetners? The smell of the chemicals was very distinctive and lurked on the copies for ages.The smell of the very waxy crayons is another schooltime memory for me, yet I find no attraction in current candle shops, they are just too cloying.

Jane can be stopped in her tracks by the smell of leather – I think that’s more about the association with shoes and handbags!

I know a lot of people like the smell of freshly-cut grass – but it is too closely associated to the act of mowing to give me much in the way of pleasure.  Perhaps I can still appreciate it when someone else did the mowing?

The smell from the preparation of a full English breakfast still gives much pleasure! And its consumption…



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