Scents and the city — fond memories triggered

A fiery-edged lenticular cloud flying above Alexandra in March. Photo: Joy Bennett
A fiery-edged lenticular cloud flying above Alexandra in March. Photo: Joy Bennett
Thanks a lot, you guys! Having shared my most embarrassing experiences with all and sundry on Friday, not one person has replied to my call for your most mortifying moments.

I feel hung out to dry!

I also need more of your smells, please. That’s not a request you hear very often. But the one I’m about to include below fascinated me, given its historical context, and I’m hoping it might inspire more such odours to come forth.

Smelly Dunedin

Tom Landreth, of Cromwell, takes us back almost 80 years with his recollection.

"I can still recall in the late 1930s arriving in Dunedin on a steam train to a foggy or drizzly evening and walking north along Castle St."The smell of coal smoke merged into odours of fat and soap from McLeod’s soap factory, then gave way to the more attractive aroma of chocolate from the Cadbury factory."This succession and the blending at different points along was an experience never to be forgotten."

Thanks, Tom, for such an evocative and enchanting memory. I can almost hear that steam train arriving at the station.

A southerly change and storm rolling in from the ocean over Peggys Hill and Hoopers Inlet on the...
A southerly change and storm rolling in from the ocean over Peggys Hill and Hoopers Inlet on the Otago Peninsula. Photo: Emily Larkins
Smelly Christchurch

Ainslie Green writes about the smell of his grandparents’ house in Christchurch’s New Brighton.

"I wonder why I can remember their house smell but not my own? The kitchen smell was of a certain biscuit gran baked. And the other smell was the Sunlight soap in a wire cage, which was agitated under hot water when doing the dishes.

"The bathroom smelt of Palmolive shaving soap in a stick and Knight’s Castile soap. When you opened the bathroom window in the early morning, one could smell the glorious smog of Christchurch!!

"The bedrooms smelt of lavender and there was a strange smell that came off the lounge suite. I can still smell it but can’t tell you for sure what it was — a vinyl  smell maybe? Outside, Jeyes Fluid was in the long-drop toilet in the garden.

"I am now 65. Even though I experienced these smells as a young child, I can still smell them and won’t forget them.

"Another house I knew, but not well, had a large and long hallway with dark-blue velvet curtains halfway along. Mothballs and camphor, and the smell of corgis, are my memory smells there.

"Those people held regular parties and I can still hear the laughter out of the front room in that house! But the rest of that house brings no memory. Likewise I am perplexed that my own very dear home has no smell to  remember, try as I might. There is nothing there and I wonder why that is?"

A lonely lenticular hovering beyond Saddle Hill at 10.46am on April 28, 2017, taken from the...
A lonely lenticular hovering beyond Saddle Hill at 10.46am on April 28, 2017, taken from the Fairley residence in Waverley. Photo: Trevor Fairley
Perhaps we get so used to our own environment that we don’t notice its peculiarities after a while?

Thanks for those recollections, Ainslie. I can remember doing the dishes in the staffroom at Wairakei Primary School in Christchurch as a 10-year-old and using one of those wire-cage contraptions with soap inside.

Traffic ire

Parking and wider traffic issues certainly seem to irritate quite a few of you.

Janine Race, of Dunedin’s Shiel Hill, says her "pet hate" when out walking is  vehicles parked on the footpath."These drivers put pedestrians at risk and the weight of the vehicle damages the footpath.

"Some people seem to think it is necessary to do this so their vehicle takes up less space on the road."It is time that drivers simply took more care when passing parked vehicles or oncoming traffic, rather than believing they have to encroach over the white middle line because they cannot judge the correct width of of their vehicle.

"These traits are further indication of how poor our driver training has become."

Ouch! But good point.

Comments

The smell of roasted coffee beans near the one- way systems. It makes me think that it is full of cafes.