Do we now live an aroma-less life? Is your nose and sense of smell challenged as much as before.
Maybe one first gets used to, and then becomes immune to smells after experiencing them so many times. Is the sensation of experiencing a smell for the very first time a joy of youth that is underappreciated?
I do think that this vacuum-packed age of ours, a time when we cannot pass a day without encountering so many controlling air-fresheners, is overly dumbing down and affecting our relationship with reality, and the use of our noses.
I cannot remember this building on Oliver Plunkett Street being other than a bookie’s shop, William Hill being the last that I recall. The web educates that Delicacies Ltd. did trade from Number 55 as butchers in 1940,and 1945 , and also were at Castle Street in 1945 – but were not listed as victuallers in 1930.
I did smile at this old ghostsign. Taking the photograph earlier this week, I did not see one other person taking any notice of it.
The name Delicacies Ltd. did intrigue me somewhat and did get me thinking as to what may have been on display. In turn, it aroused my sense memories which brought me back to the days of me ‘borrowing’ empty large ‘Bulmers’ bottles from the yard of the local hotel and bringing them to Henchy’s at St. Luke’s Cross to claim my 6p refund.
Henchy’s was then a shop on one side, bar with snug on the other. The smell came from the timber floors, the open tea boxes, the shelves full, and the many other open bags of so many things then unknown to me – a combination of many sources. I cannot remember the exact smell but the recollection is of it being strong. It was its own particular smell.
Thinking back, it was a pleasant smell but possibly a tad overbearing for my young and untrained nose.
There were very many challenges to that untrained nose, pleasing and otherwise.
Do you remember the Thompson’s bread van and the lovely smell that escaped when the breadman opened the door? If so, you might also remember the smell that sometimes greeted you at the door in the morning when the birds had managed to peck through the top of the milk bottle – or maybe the same bottle of non-homogenised milk only a few days old. Or maybe the smell from the fruit and vegetable van, which had no issue with selling partly blackened bananas and soft fruit which all combined to the smell set free when the door was opened.
The smell from Henchy’s was similar to Maddens on Bridge Street and a few others on Princes Street.
Trips to town with my each of my grandfathers generally involved a trip to one of the many tobacconists where the preferred mix of tobacco was blended there and then in the shop with the aroma from the containers providing a sweet and pleasant sensation.
Today, I discovered that the correct name is the Kiln River but growing up the river that discharged at Carroll’s Quay and Camden Quay junction was known as either the Smelly River or the Bloody River – a testament to the slaughterhouses that fed into it. This was definitely one of the more memorable unpleasant smells to hit that nose that did not stay untrained for long.
I remember holding my breath walking through the English Market, particularly the fish section. Such action has not been required for quite some time.
Among my recollections of the local shop are the smells of the cooked ham and the fresh vegetables. Refrigeration, air conditioning and packaging mean that these smells no longer greet me at a local shop.
Last weekend, we returned from our holidays with many bunches of carrots and onions just pulled from the sandy soil of the Maharees. It is not stretching matters to say that the journey home was filled with a perfume – days later I am longing for a real true and fresh smell and am reminded that not all progress is good.
If there is a campaign to reinstate smells, I will be signing up.
Follow Your Nose
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