Not sure why the incident came to mind, perhaps it was seeing the honeysuckle.
It isn’t even flowering yet but it started me thinking about scents and the way scents seem to be able to tap straight into your memories. Catch a whiff of a long forgotten scent and suddenly you’re transported right back to childhood.
It seems to surprise people but in fact I’ve got a good sense of smell. I can have a flock of sheep walk past me on the lane and sometimes catch the suggestion that they’ve got blowfly problems. Whether it’s acetone on the breath or the hint of retained cleansing, it’s a diagnostic tool I’ve found useful over the years.
But there’s real pleasures to be had, the other day I walked through a dell that was almost full of gorse bushes in flower. The smell of gorse, (some people describe it as being like vanilla) was almost overwhelming.
But it’s honeysuckle that I remember best. It’ll be about fifteen years ago now; we had some stock escape late one evening. It’d be about midnight when we discovered this and everybody got dressed and went out to get them back again. An hour and a half later we’ve got them all back, or so we thought; we’d stuck them in a building to calm down and counting dark cattle in a dark building doesn’t really inspire confidence in the final number you come up with.
So I’d just check one last place where they might be. Everybody went back to bed and I just walked down one track round the back of the hill to make sure there weren’t any cattle down there. It was a bright moonlight night and the air was still. As I trudged along the track I turned a corner and stepped into a pool of honeysuckle. The scent just hung in the air, so rich and thick I almost had to cut my way though it. I’ve never smelled it like that before and I don’t suppose I’ll experience it again, but occasionally, by accident, you can be in the right place at the right time. Every so often you get it right.
For those who aren’t too sure what honeysuckle is, here’s a picture I found on the web for you