Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town

Peak District. February 2011.

To be honest, it wasn't a particularly inspiring view from the trig point. Bracken, back end of a quarry, a permafrost path down to the village that still slept under a slate-grey day.

The general store reminded me of those from my youth. Vesta curry. Tizer. A shop owner wearing a pink tabard. No music. I picked up a bottle of water and - unexpectedly - two bottles of beer by a local microbrewer.

She must have been in her seventies. I approached the till; she smiled.

"It smells cold out there today!".


"It smells cold. You can smell the cold-ness on you. Does it feel fresh up top?"

I said.. well, yes. Yes it does.

"Good, " she said. "And let those bottles settle. They'll need a day or so".

I spend a fair wedge of my days reading reviews and descriptors. This year, I ran my first aroma recognition session. I've taken part in sensory science testing. But nothing blindsided me more than an elderly lady behind the counter in a small, um, village. Who taught me how to smell the cold.

Hearts and thoughts...


  1. Great story, reminds me of my Nan

  2. I like that, smelling cold. I came home from working in Indonesia a couple of years ago, just before Christmas - you know the one when it had snowed lots, and when I got home, I swear you could smell the snow.