All posts filed under: smell

An olfactory excursion, part 1: Uncle Ernie

Notebook: 31 January 2018 | SMELL Forgive my self indulgence as I put all thoughts of editorial design temporarily to one side, close the lid on my laptop, throw open the window and sniff in the air. Today I detect an overriding but comforting smell of woodsmoke from a neighbouring chimney pot and a background tang of tarry smelling pig manure from a far-off farmer’s field. And every now and again I catch the delicate and ethereal fragrance of the winter-flowering Sweet Box shrub (Sarcococca Confusa) quietly doing its thing at the end of the drive. It’s a heady but rather delicious mix. It’s time now, for me to step back 36 years and more, on the first of a three-part journey about our underused sense of smell. My great-uncle Ernest Paul was a chemist, botanist and plant hunter. He worked in Bristol at Wills tobacco and lived on the coast at Clevedon in Somerset. As a small child I remember his garden being awash with greenery and exotic plants which must have benefited from the warmth of the Gulf Stream pushing …