Sunday, 5 December 2010
I often wonder which of our senses is the most important. Also - which of our senses has the most power to recreate the past? I know that I never smell Dettol without being transported back to the delivery room of the maternity hospital; also various pieces of music transport me back to occasions in the past. Perhaps the answer to these questions is that it is an individual thing. To some of us a sense of smell is the most significant, to others taste, or hearing, or touch. And, of course, it goes with out saying that if we lose - or partially lose - one of our senses then the others become more pronounced.
Yesterday, reading the cookery page in one of the Saturday magazines, there was a photograph of a Carraway seed cake. That photograph immediately invoked the smell of carraway seeds, the taste of Sunday school anniversary tea, I think every single sense was involved in one way or another.
Our Sunday school anniversary occurred in early June in the village where I lived as a child - a village in the Lincolnshire Fens. For weeks before hand each one of us children learned a poem off by heart so that on Anniversary Sunday we could stand up and recite our poem to a packed congregation in the chapel. But on the Saturday before that Sunday we had the Anniversary party - we rode round the village in a big cart pulled by a couple of cart horses and we sang our anniversary songs. And while we were doing this our Mums got the anniversary tea ready. The tea was always the same every year:- white bread and potted beef sandwiches, Lincolnshire plum bread, fairy cakes and carraway seed cake. I can taste that carraway seed cake still, although I don't think I have had a slice in the last fifty years.
Yesterday morning we went into The Golden Lion - our favourite pub - for our morning coffee. There was a blazing fire, the Christmas tree was lit and there was a smell of baking mince pies. Even blindfolded I would have know it was coming up to Christmas from the lovely smell!
And while we are on the subject of food - there was a queue down the road from our local pet shop yesterday - everyone was buying food for the wild birds. We have doubled the amount we are putting out - suet, sultanas, oats, sunflower hearts, niger seed, peanuts, mixed bird seed, fat balls, kitchen scraps - and it is disappearing like magic.
Just up the lane our local little owl spends most of the day sitting on a post at the side of the lane, close to where there is (or rather was) a road-kill rabbit. For the past few days he seems to have dined well on that. I did try to persuade the farmer to shoot a couple of rabbits and bring them up and put them by the owl's gate post so that he had an instant larder, but am not sure about the ethics of that really. Should the life of a little owl be more important than the life of a rabbit?
Keep warm in this bitter weather - eat well - sit by the fire - and if there is anything cooking enjoy the smell.