Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Favourite smells

I have blithely stolen this idea from the lovely Earthenwitch. They come in no particular order, and I've referred to some of them before.

1 Wet earth when it's been raining after a long dry spell. Indeed, after a long dry spell everything smells lovely, including tarmac. And new-mown grass of course.

2 The inside of a Morris Minor. Any leather-seated car smells good, but an old Morris is the best.

3 The toasty smell of a maltings. I know I've said this before - there was a maltings a couple of roads away when I was a child and it's one of those childhood smells. Other ones are of flowering currant - people say it smells of cat pee, but not to me. Norwich used to smell of chocolate before the chocolate factory was closed (the Chapelfield shopping mall was built on the site).

4 Smoky things - Laphroaig whisky, Lapsang Souchong tea, kippers, wood fires.

5 Dog's feet. It has to be a dog I love though or it's too personal to do and doesn't smell right. It's only been since I had a blog that I've admitted to the outside world that I cuddle up with my dog and sniff her feet. Mind you, if you really love a dog then it smells good generally. Ears and ... um, actually ... armpits. Sorry. And then there's puppy-breath, which is wonderful.

6 The smell of a ripe melon when you go into the greenhouse, and you have to sniff your way round until you find the one that has ripened overnight. The roots of a young cucumber plant smell of cucumber and when you tip it out of its pot to put it in a bigger one, the smell is an anticipation of what's to come. However, the roots of Mimosa pudica, the Sensitive Plant smell weird and unpleasant, in a way that makes you want to keep checking it to see if it's still as odd as you thought it was.

7 Horses. You know the Barbara Woodhouse thing, when they breathe at each other? Horses and I do that to each other. I love the smell of stables. Cowsheds are also good.

8 Broad bean flowers. Many flower scents of course (I've got a pot of hyacinths in here right now, which is wonderful), but that sudden and elusive scent in the spring has me winding the car windows down, sniffing the air to find the field of beans. My daughter thinks I'm annoying when I do this.

9 A baby, of course. I know I'm not the only woman who surreptitiously sniffs babies when given one to hold. They don't always smell good of course. Sometimes they pong mightily. But the smell of the clean baby is wonderful.

I may add a tenth. Of course, I've cheated and put a lot more than nine down already.


Dave said...

I remember Norwich when it used to smell of chocolate.

Z said...

Yes, I suppose it was until only about a decade ago. I found it a distraction sometimes, I didn't always want the smell of chocolate! Still, better than the sugar factory in Bury St Edmunds.

Completely Alienne said...

There is no smoke control order around here so we can burn whatever we like and I love the smell of woodsmoke that hangs in the air when you step outside the front door at night.

Z said...

I put it down to growing up in Lowestoft, and that a love of kippers has extended to anything smoky!

We have a log fire every night in the winter. And proper bonfires are wonderful. Even, though I don't (and have never habitually) smoked, the whiff of a cigarette when it's first lit.

Malc said...

Sunday lunch.

Z said...

Yes, food smells could be an entire extra post. And so could peculiarly irresistible ones.

martina said...

Smoked salmon, newborn babies, Nordstrom's shoe department,cement just after a new rain, sauteed onions, newly sawn cedar, fresh coffee, Chanel No.5, the dogs after a bath when their fur has dried. Z-many people like the smell of dog toes (not me) and think it smells like Fritos.

Lis of the North said...

Summer rain on hot tarmac - yep
Dog-smell - yep yep
Horse smell - yep yep yep. Warm horse in stable smell. And their lovely velvety muzzles. Mmmm
Enjoyed your list

Z said...

I'm reassured about the dog-smell.

heybartender said...

I love number eight. If you and I ever manage a visit, I suspect there will be some driving around in the country with the windows down.
Love this post, Z. Thanks.