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New Exercise - 2 Smells

by Felmagre 

Posted: 23 September 2003
Word Count: 283

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Familiar Odours

The musty smell of dank vegetation, like boiled cauliflower, permeated the air as the bruising rain pummelled seaweed encrusted rocks. Today, even the aroma of percolating coffee and the smell of wood smoke was unable to camouflage the pungent salty odour of iodine given off by the seaweed. Wood smoke has this way of perfuming the air with its distinctive fragrance, filling your nostrils clinging your clothes and hair but somehow seaweed still wins. Not that I minded these smells, in fact I found them tantalising, whimsical almost, as wood smoke and seaweed has, for me, this ability to recall memories of family gatherings; of bonfire nights and summer holidays.

I think its the smell of my father's pipe tobacco lingering in the air long after he's walked, away as well as the acid sulphur given off by the fireworks; of soup and scorched potatoes skins which have been cooked in the embers of the bonfire until they're crinkled brown and look for all the world like plums; somehow the smell of smoke mingling with it's taste lends it a uniquely burnt ash flavour. These are the things I'm reminded of whenever I smell wood smoke. As for seaweed, well, as children we were forever chasing each other with it, delighting in its slimly feel and pungent smell. As well we took great pleasure in popping its leathery seed pouches in much the same way 'bubble-wrap' is 'popped' today.

Strangely, even as an adult, no matter where I am the smell of seaweed and wood smoke has this ability to transport me back in time, conjuring up for me childhood memories of cold, damp November nights and long lazy summer days.

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Comments by other Members

Anna Reynolds at 16:04 on 24 September 2003  Report this post
Felicity, this evokes lots of different parts of a memory- I particularly liked the pipe lingering in the air even when the father has walked away, and the scorched potato skins.

I think you could look at removing quite so many uses of 'seaweed and woodsmoke' in the first paragraph. Maybe look instead at how to break down the parts of these aromas and what they say to you.

Overall, though, this really gives a strong sense of time and place and visual imagery is well done.

Felmagre at 07:09 on 26 September 2003  Report this post
Hello Anna,
Having re-looked at the excercise I can see what you mean. I'll have a poke around then if you do not mind I'd like to re-post for further comment allowing you have the time.

Your input is very helpful.
Kind regards

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