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Fragrant stories

Summer Vine

It’s not a clear memory but one that’s through the lens of a constantly flickering old camera, bursts of light that hits the front of the lens to remove the image and then it changes and shifts. An old, dry greenhouse with a potting shed beyond where soil gently covers the baked paving slabs and the sound of a distant bee is a constant reassuring backing. You can turn the camera and notice the plenitude of green Tomato vines that fill ground, air and ceiling to the left and right of the bath through the greenhouse.

Vines creep over the floor and between each slab with the dusty gravel keeping away weeds and allowing the vines above to flow and weave their way. An old, cracked wood handled, trowel is lodged firmly in a bag of compost that sits on old standing wood bench in the corner. Dusty wood, light earth and green vined red fruit create an awesome image of nature and its bounty.

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Bitter Citrus

Catania, Sicily – it’s early in the season so not too hot or busy for you but an idyllic oasis after a long year. The local produce is everywhere and you can’t resist speaking to every seller that calls out to you. Lemons, oranges, tomatoes and vegetables are all brighter, green and fresher than you have ever seen them. The aromas are strong and it’s a press of people and voices as you meander through with nothing else to do than enjoy where you are.

The bitter scent of wrinkled green citrus fruits rules over the edge of the market with a huge pyramid stack of the fresh fruits carefully placed on a sheet at the boot of a car. The boot is open and from within there’s a strange mix of resinous green roots and firewood poking out from under an antique rug. It’s a warming and homely snapshot that blends with the bitter citrus fruits before you to form a memory that will last forever.

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Fig Ozone

Put away your phone, leave your house and go to the beach. Sit on the pebbles or on the sand and look only at the sea. Stare into it: at the soft waves, the harsh waves, the colours and the textures as they roll in. They crash and the swirl, move and dance. The more you stare the slower your breathing gets and your thoughts clear through the fog of emails, bills and stress. None of that matters, only the never-ending throb of the tide, the wind and the bids that swing and dive above it.

As you walk away you can feel that your body has physically changed and you feel whole again. The walk takes you past the end of somebody’s garden and overhanging their wall is an old fig tree, ripe with fruit. It would be rude not to – carefully pick one of the fruit, if a leaf comes with it then so be it. As you continue your walk you can taste the salt of the sea on your lips and as you lift a finger to wipe it away you realise the fig and it’s leaf are still clutched between your fingers – the green and fruity aromas mix with the salty calm and you smile at the day.

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Elemental Musk

Think of the first time you visited a fancy restaurant or shop, holding the hand of a loved one and as the doors open to greet you a new and exciting scent reaches you. Fresh bergamot has been diffused into the air to refresh and soften it but the goods beyond still peep through to your gaze. Hand stitching, leather, wood, amber and cloth are everywhere and it’s something you’ve never seen before. Where to look? What to feel?

It feels like a new experience and yet familiar too and something which you should explore and discover. With the new discovery of this place comes a boldness and confidence you’ve never felt before and it feels immaculate.

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Oxidised Rose

You’re 16 and have just left your summer job after an early start, long day but your first pay packet is in your pocket and it feels like the best feeling in the world. There’s no school, no worries and a beach party is on the cards for the weekend. As you walk you find yourself taking a route through a street you’ve never noticed before, surrounded by bungalows with well-kept gardens blossoming with huge roses that swing and flow in the wind, their giant petals trying to escape onto the roadside.

Metal railings, freshly painted and shining in the harsh summer sun, support yet more roses and their vines are interwoven to form intricate pathways through gardens you can glimpse from the path but will never get the chance to fully explore. The further you proceed down the road, you realise that the sea lays just beyond and there’s a very distant sound of crashing salty waves that makes you smile with a lighter step and a lighter heart.

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Rosemary Benzoin

Walk through a rich spice market, hands examining the varied and exotic ingredients, textures and smells that surround you. Buy a selection of resins, spices and oils that will enchant and delight before carefully packing them in your bag to take home and enjoy.

 

Once you’re home take in the heady aromas of your newly purchased ingredients whilst enjoying a glass of your favourite spirit – create a warm memory of friends getting together for a slightly boozy night in front of a log fire, snuggled into leather armchairs. The luxurious mix of exotic resins and spices blend smoothly with the tobacco and woody aromas of the evening. Suddenly a spring wind blows in the garden beyond your windows and the fresh scent of the garden Rosemary drifts in to refresh and enliven the evening.

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Mushroom Forest

Imagine a soft wind that flows between soft evergreen trees. An English woodland that lays undisturbed, peaceful and wild. The ground is soft with woodland mulch, moss and the first sprouting mushrooms of the season. The earth is soft, not muddy or broken but rich with a full lifeforce that invigorates your steps just by moving over it. Step carefully to avoid as much of the new growth around you and take notice of the power and majesty of the natural world.

As you explore this new and beautiful environment, you’ll find wild berries, crab apples and pine cones – collect and cherish them. They are the magical fruits of this mushroom forest and they provide a sensory journey of discovery that is totally unique.

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