I grew up with the scent of wet brick dust in my nose from London. There were flowers, dandelions, growing in the cracks of the pavement. We even called them “wee-the-beds”. Ah yes, the fragrances of childhood were overwhelming. As you walked along the local main road the air was filled with the smells of the oil used for frying fish and chips. Of course, there was the constant accompaniment of the scent of petrol from the busses and trucks along the tarmac of the roads. As the years passed I wanted something completely different. The smell of nature was calling, and what better country to find it than Switzerland.
I was longing for the fresh mountain air, the hills being alive with the sound of music according to the films. Heidi might have slept on straw in the grandfather’s simple wooden hut, but it was clean straw. The scent of freshly made cheese would be everywhere, what could possibly be better.
And after 50 years of Swiss counry living, I have found the true scents of life. Take a walk, but be careful where you tread. Perhaps a horse had already passed on its way, and left a trace of recycled hay on the path. Step to one side to avoid it, but do not enter the cow field. There will be more recycled hay, but this time inhabited by flies that have found a home to raise their children. Yes, nature is everywhere.
There is a wild rose, a flowering cherry tree, such delights. Oh to inhale the fresh scent, but care is needed. One of nature’s creations a bee or wasp, might be sampling the taste of pollen and that could cause nasal problems. It is better not to inhale everything. Perhaps it would be better to return home. Here you are greeted with the fragrnce of the remaining smells of food. Perhaps the smell of ham and eggs is still hovering in the air from breakfast, or the liver and bacon that you enjoyed at lunch time.
The bathroom reminds you it is time for a purge, no a great purge. There are fragrances in the air that are not fragrant, but actually smell. An hour later the air is full of the smells of Spring and Summer, of roses and lilacs, all from a bottle of cleaning liquid bought in the supermarket. Something is still spoiling the appetising flavours of home, yes the dirty linen must be washed. Let us hang it outside after being washed, for it to dry in the fresh air. Fresh air? It would be very fresh if the farmer had not decided to spread liquid manure on the fields in the village.
Let us not forget it is all in the name of nature, as natural as it could be. A glance in the garden shows that there are still flowers annointing the air with their scent, even if you only see them through the scaffolding the builders have errected in your garden where they are busy spraying everying with creosote to make it waterproof.
Yes, I know why I left London, to sample the true fragrancies of the Swiss countryside.