Last weekend, Mr M, my two boys and me spent the weekend with my parents for the first time in a very long time.
I could bore you with my tirade on the journey taking 3 hours and 10 minutes, a time that would make Mo Farrah proud of, travelling from Bedford to Walsall a distance of some 95 miles and a usual travel time of around 1 hr and 20 minutes.
We hadn’t spent a whole weekend up there since 2011 and I couldn’t contain my excitement.
You’d think I had won tickets to see Take That with Robbie.
I was so looking forward to going up there for the whole weekend rather than the customary quick visit on saturday when time afforded us or my parents two or three trips a year down to visit us.
For me there is nothing like home, ‘home is where mum is’.
I have many fond memories of childhood and it never ceases to amaze me how we remember only the good times and not the bad ones.
Why do smells evoke such memories?
The same can be said of a song or a piece of music but there is something unique and special about particular smells.
And what one smell might mean to me might be vile to you.
When we finally arrived, my mum was busy getting dinner ready but the smell took me back to when I was young. Even when I smell a fruit cake baking in the oven or the smell of ginger I am transported back in time.
My childhood like many of us, had its ups and downs. The best way to describe the relationship I had with my parents was ‘war and peace’.
But with age comes a sense of self reflection and awareness and in spite of those ups and downs my family home still instills a sense of peace and safety.
As I grew up home was ‘safe’ as I ventured into adulthood and at times depressing jobs, terrible bosses and relationships that made my head spin, home was where I felt safe and warm.
Just being in the comfort of my family home with my parents and its homely smell was all I needed to know that the world wasn’t that bad a place.
What is it about ‘smells’ that whisks you back down memory lane?
When I smell cresote I am literally transported back to the first family home in Walsall, it reminds me of school holidays and how we use to race around the block on our bikes.
After tea when we had our fill of the day we’d lie on this long patch of grass that snaked up the side of a neighbour’s house and the smell of cresote lingered in the air, it was comforting.
I smell pine needles and I’m instantly transported back to a lovely place, Grado Pineta, Italy. Pineta literally means pine forests and it was a place where my grand-mother would loan an apartment from a friend where we would stay during the summer holidays.
Lavender is a smell I associate with my baby boy Michael now 11 years old. He called the lavender bush outside our back door the bee bush and when I smell lavender I think of that cute little bundle toddling around pointing at his bee bush.
Smells evoke powerful and emotional happy memories and now I am older certain smells are a reminder of a lost childhood, laughter and fun, moments that transport you back to a time of innocence and ease, where life didn’t seem quite so complicated as it is now.