Memory and Smell


They say that smell is one of the strongest links our brain has to memory and I totally agree. Ever noticed how sometimes, certain smells, are enough to transport you back in time, to a place or a person or an event. I can rattle off a whole bunch of different smells and what they mean to me like:

The smell of incense burning takes me to Bali, on holiday with my new husband, my sister, brother in law and niece who was one at the time (she’s now seven). It’s navigating the tiny, hectic laneways of Kuta on a hot, muggy day bartering for cheap shoes.

The smell of vinegar and hot water reminds me of my childhood, when my Mum would make my sister and I wash our long, blonde hair in vinegar once a week.

The smell of eucalyptus trees, a campfire burning or canvas takes me back to camping along the Murray when I was younger. It’s one of my all time favourite smells. My sister will tell you the same.

The smell of steaming plum pudding reminds me of my Grandma. She used to make it for dessert every Christmas. My sister and I hated it but would always ask for piece because she would hide one and two cent coins in it (they still existed back in those days). We would shuffle it around in our bowls with our spoons until we found the coins then promptly declare we were full.

The smell of coconut is summer.

Cuddly softener smells like my Mum and her house. Whenever my son comes home from a sleepover at Grandmas house I love to inhale the smell of his clothes. Even he will sniff it and say “this smells like Grandma”. I love that.

What smells transport you to a different place? What’s your favourite smell?


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