9 September 2014

The powerful sense of smell

Sense of smell
Sense of smell
 
How powerful the sense of smell is, it can evoke vivid, forgotten memories in seconds, childhood memories, a certain day, people and places.
This must begin at birth, the ability a newborn baby has to identify it's mother just by her smell.
 
I can never understand it, when people say they have a strong sense of smell, how do they know that? How do they know what things smell like to others, just as we don't really know what the colour red looks like to others , I think some of us are just more aware of smells, maybe just generally more aware of our surroundings.
 
A thread of cigar smoke, a whiff of Kouros aftershave by Yves Saint Laurent and it is as if my Father is in the room with me, I can sense, him I can feel his presence, all this with a smell that may have lasted just a few seconds.
 Sometimes the intensity of the memory can take my breath away.



Cigar smoke
Cigar smoke
 


YSL Kouros aftershave
YSL Kouros aftershave
 
The smell of an old-fashioned lipstick brings a picture of my mother into my head, the expression that she made putting lipstick on in the mirror, the way it was always worn down flat on the top, not the usual slant you see on used lipsticks, the coral red colour.



Vintage  lipstick cases
Vintage  lipstick cases

It works both ways because just by looking at the image of these old lipsticks I can smell them, actually smell them.
 With some things I can actually taste smells, I don't like olives and the best way I know to describe how they taste to me is that they taste like acetone smells!
 
Woodsmoke from Autumn bonfires brings not only my memories of my Grandmother but a memory of a certain day, walking up the lane to her house with my Mother, smoke billowing all over, like walking through a fog and my Mother saying: "Oh my goodness, she's burning the leaves again" and being quite angry, I don't know why she was angry.
 
 
Millais Autumn leaves
Millais Autumn leaves
 
The smell of roses and here I have to say no rose today smells as good as it did in my childhood, is that a trick our brains are playing on us, everything was better, bigger, smaller when we were children?
The smell of roses and I am back in a English garden collecting rose petals, stuffing as many as possible into a jam jar, adding water, leaving them to steep, trying to be patient until I have scent!



Homemade Rose petal scent
Homemade Rose petal scent
 
The smell of fish and chips take me back to the sea side at Scarborough, Filey or any other East coast town.
 Walking along the front, the souvenir shops, the amusement arcades, buckets and spades, beach balls hung outside shops in string bags.
 The tray that they were in, not polystyrene as they are today but a thick, cream-coloured cardboard,like the old egg boxes used to be made of and the tiny wooden fork; I can taste the tiny wooden fork!
 
Fish & chips
Fish & chips
 

I have so many favourite smells, most of them from nature, woodsmoke, as I mentioned above, the smell of freshly cut grass, I don't think that there can be anyone who doesn't love that smell.



The smell of cut grass
The smell of cut grass
 
The smell of damp earth when gardening, I want to scoop it up and put my face in it!



Damp earth
Damp earth

The way the world smells after a long dry hot spell when it rains, it smells different, clean fresh, wet wooden fences is another smell that always takes me back to my childhood.



Rain
Rain
 
The best smell ever though is the sea, a sea breeze, the beach, that crisp,salty,sometimes slightly fishy smell.
So invigorating, so fresh, so pure.
Funnily enough the worst sort of scents for me, be it to wear, to clean with ,whatever are the ones named after the sea, Breeze, waves etc.
The smells of nature can not be reproduced and bottled up, no synthetic chemicals, no expensive diptyque candles can ever capture the true essence of nature.
 
The smell of the sea
The smell of the sea
 
Other random favourite smells of mine are,baking bread, clean,freshly ironed bed sheets, leather, old books and so many more.
 
 
A few years ago, quite a few actually a book was published: "Perfume.The Story Of A Murderer" by Patrick Suskind, it is a wonderful book, all about the sense of smell and identity.
I loved it so much that I bought lots of copies to give to friends, I even bought Greek copies for Greek friends.
I must say the title in Greek was much more inviting than the English one.
It is: "Aroma"
 
I was so excited when I discovered that there also existed a film based on the book, a disappointment though but then films based on books usually are.
While you are reading, images of the characters, the places are being formed in your imagination, then you see the film and think, oh they have her blonde in the film, I imagined her with black hair.
Much better to read.



Patrick Suskind "Perfume"
Patrick Suskind "Perfume"
  
A weakness of mine or rather a passion is scent; I wear it all the time, putting on scent is as natural to me as  brushing my teeth every morning but it has to be a scent that nobody I know wears, if a friend wears it, I never buy it again...my Daughter is an exception!
Here are a few I wear, only a few, not giving my secrets away!



Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche
Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche
 
Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche, a very heavy, oriental, has quite an incense smell about it.No one likes it...I don't care...I love it!
 
 
 
Annick Goutal eau d' Hadrien
Annick Goutal eau d' Hadrien
 
 
Annick Goutal eau d' Hadrien, light and lemony.Lovely for Summer.
 
 
 
Serge Lutens Arabie
Serge Lutens Arabie
 
 
Serge Lutens Arabie, a bit medicinal, a favourite.
 

Acqua di parma
Acqua di parma
 
 
Acqua di parma, cologney lemony scent..strong, both I and MGG wear it.
 
 
That is why I like the niche scents, the little known scents, unfortunately these are usually expensive,.
When I am without my favourites; I wear a Greek lemon cologne; Mirto. Eight euros in the supermarket and it is just fine, so cooling for these hot Greek Summer days.
 
Mirto Greek lemon scent
Mirto Greek lemon scent
 

I left the best smell of all until last: The best smell of all is ...home.
 
 
 
The smell of coffee
The smell of coffee
 
 
 
Smells by Christopher Morley
 
WHY is it that the poet tells
  So little of the sense of smell?
  These are the odors I love well:
The smell of coffee freshly ground;
  Or rich plum pudding,Holly crowned; 
 Or onions fried and deeply browned.
 The fragrance of a fumy pipe;
 The smell of apples, newly ripe;
 And printer's ink on leaden type.
Woods by moonlight in September
  Breathe most sweet,
and I remember Many a smoky camp-fire ember.
 Camphor, turpentine, and tea,
  The balsam of a Christmas tree,
 These are whiffs of gramarye. . .
  A ship smells best of all to me!
 
 
 
Life smells good
Life smells good
 
 


5 comments:

  1. Beautiful post Susan with plenty of aroma!!!!
    Also, the smell of indian curry shops in Bradford of 70s!!!!!!! xaxaxaxa
    Tassos

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I can do without the curry smells but well done on remembering that!

      Delete
  2. Excellent, I agree with you , smell is a powerful thing which takes you back to moments you may have forgotten. Well done Sue ★

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you.Music is also a powerful thing, certain records can take you back in the blink of an eye.

    ReplyDelete

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