I visited a pre-school the other day and things were a little different to when I was a three year old some thirty forty (mumble) years ago. There were i-Pads, for one thing, and funky looking climbing frames that looked like someone of my advancing years could well get stuck in.
But one thing was exactly the same as it had always had been and it set off an explosion of memory. It was the smell. It was a mix of hot sun on linoleum and the aroma of paint and crayons and sweaty sneakers, and the disinfectant that in my day Miss McTaggart used to mop up any "accidents". As soon as I recognised those familiar smells they were immediately followed by powerful memories of fun and friendship.
And it got me thinking about the power of smells in my life - the heady aroma of the first coffee in the morning - rich and mellow and warm. The smell of much needed rain on my parched garden - sweet and toasty and fresh.
And then there's the seductive power of a perfume bottle. Maybe it's because my husband's a winemaker - a man whose nose is his livelihood-that he loves to buy me perfume. He was the very first person to buy me a bottle almost thirty years ago. I remember it was "Paris" by Yves St Laurent and every time I smell it I still I get those same warm feelings as I did all those years ago. I tend to change my scent every year or two. My favourites in recent times have been "Allure" by Chanel and "L'eau d'Issey" by Issey Miyake. Right now I'm wearing "Flash" by Jimmy Choo and it has to be one of my all-time favourites.
What about you? Are there scents that hold particularly strong memories for you? Places or perfumes?