Occasionally you get it right.

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



Amazing what you run into when you’re just wandering about minding your own business

And from everybody but Amazon


As a reviewer commented, “

This is the third collection of farmer Jim Webster’s anecdotes about his sheep, cattle and dogs. This one had added information on the Lake District’s World Heritage status. This largely depends upon the work of around 200 small family farms. Small may not always be beautiful but it can be jolly important. If you want to know the different skills needed by a sheep dog and a cow dog, or to hear tales of some of the old time travelling sales persons – read on! This is real life, Jim, but not as I know it.One person found this helpful”

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10 thoughts on “Occasionally you get it right.

  1. M T McGuire May 16, 2014 at 12:57 pm Reply

    I know exactly what you mean. I have experienced something similar in an oh shit I forgot to get the washing in moment. Knowing there was rain forecast, I put my shoes on, unlocked and ran out in my pyjamas in the middle of the night, washing basket in hand. There’s a honesuckle next to our washing line and I hit the smell like a wall. It was amazing. My conclusion: moths as well as bees pollinate honeysuckle.



    • jwebster2 May 16, 2014 at 2:00 pm Reply

      Yes, it’s very special when it happens 🙂

      Do you realise that tonight, thanks to you and me, perfectly respectable people are going to be slinking out of the house in their night attire, fobbing off skeptical spouses with the airy phrase; “Just checking on the honeysuckle my dear.”

      • M T McGuire May 17, 2014 at 8:30 am

        I do hope so. 🙂

      • jwebster2 May 17, 2014 at 8:55 am

        It’s nice to know you’re keeping people everywhere on their toes 🙂

  2. rootsandroutes2012 May 16, 2021 at 5:14 am Reply

    I’ve got a great view of our honeysuckle from the study window as I type this (and no, ours isn’t flowering yet either). But I’ve got almost no sense of smell, so will probably save the nocturnal outings for listening to the eiders on high tides.

    • jwebster2 May 16, 2021 at 5:47 am Reply

      I love the way that with honeysuckle, or even more, gorse, you can be ambushed by the scent 🙂

      • rootsandroutes2012 May 16, 2021 at 8:23 am

        I’m afraid I’ll have to take your word for that 😦

  3. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt May 16, 2021 at 3:02 pm Reply

    But did you find the livestock?

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