While out looking at houses this weekend I noticed that the only houses I could actually picture my little family living in had a particular feel to them. And it wasn’t just that they weren’t horrible cockroach-infested pig sties either (some of them have been, to tell the truth). I couldn’t figure out what it was that gave a house ‘the feel’ until my Mister pointed it out: all the houses I seemed to like had a specific smell to them. They all smelled vaguely earthy and damp. And before you think I’m a little strange, let me explain.
I spent some of my childhood in Estcourt (of bacon and sausage fame. The Estcourt bacon factory – the name we gave it when we were small – was the first thing you’d see and smell as you entered the town.) and living in a small town meant we spent most of our time playing outside in the garden. And much of that garden time was spent in the mud.
My mom had the most beautiful rose garden that she was extraordinarily proud of. But she was also a fantastic mother who believed in providing the most exciting experiences for her children – often at the expense of her magnificent roses. She knew how important it was for her children to get dirty and to play with different textures, so she’d fill the rose garden with water and my brother and I would roll around in the mud like piglets. And we absolutely loved it! Those hours spent in the mud constitute some of my happiest childhood memories. And that’s where the damp smell comes in.
I think I’m drawn to the idea of creating special memories for my own daughter. I want her to have happy memories of being a little girl like I do. I remember how my mom used to make us sherbet out of Enos and icing sugar because (I’m not lying) we couldn’t buy sherbet in Estcourt. And she used to make us home-made glue out of flour. This glue would go off if we forgot about it and it stank! And while it did stink horribly, it’s still one of my very best childhood memories because it was time spent doing fun stuff with my mom.
So I think that’s why smell plays such an important role in what I feel is my ideal house – it helps create the image of a home, with a family, and a little girl running around playing ‘Thundercats’ with her friends, and getting hand prints on the walls, and baking cupcakes with her mommy. And if I can picture all of these things, assisted by the dodgy scent lingering in a house, then I know I’m pretty close to finding a home for me and my family.
If you’d like to read about the childhood experiences and memories of
some of our readers, turn to page 34 of the March issue of Essentials. Or if you’re looking for a fab dish to bake with your little one, try this Cherry-choc Roly-poly http://bit.ly/YSxsaA, a Peanut and Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding http://bit.ly/12HSf5U or these Double Hot chocolate Puddings http://bit.ly/ZtLBJ4. They’ll certainly help you create some special memories of your own!