Archive | 5:22 pm

What is the scent of your childhood?

8 Jan

A strange question, I guess. What I’m getting at is trying to summarise your childhood in a fragrance/smell that brings back all the memories of youth. It doesn’t have to be the smell of your parents’ house – it can be quite specific, but should immediately transport you back in time.

As a kid, my Dad used to take me fishing. We mostly fished at night in a little dinghy but in later years he bought a boat with an outboard motor, so we also caught crabs and squid in addition to all the regular fish like whiting and flathead. I remember feeling so loved when my Dad took me fishing – it was a special time to converse one-to-one, without him being distracted by life (or my siblings).

Yesterday we realised that we didn’t have any plans for the day. It was warm and sunny outside, yet not hot enough to entice me to the beach. It’s still school holidays in NSW, so I worried that the zoo or the aquarium would be a little like a pilgrimage to Mecca, and yet P was keen to get out of the house.

We decided to call around some friends to see who was available for a BBQ/picnic. This was happening late in the morning, so we were far from organised, with not much time to do anything fancy. We packed a few things, bought some food on the way and drove to the Davidson Picnic Area, under the Roseville Bridge.

The kids all had a great time running around with bikes, balls and cricket bats. Actually, that was in between fighting over them, but oh well.

I also had the rare foresight to pack the fishing tackle, which has been used only a handful of times. We fished a little with the other families, and our friends’ little girl caught her first fish – a far-from-legal tarwine (or perhaps it was a baby bream). By the time we had to pack up, my kids were begging to go again.


So on our way home we stopped to have another go at it. We caught a bunch of tiddlers, J caught a close-to-legal tarwine, and I caught a bream – definitely a keeper. P killed it for me and the kids were satisfied with the catch, so we set off home with our dinner.

Walking back to the car, I smelled my hands and was instantly taken back to 10 years old. Raw prawns, salt water – a revolting smell in reality. I shoved them in P’s face:

This is the scent of my childhood

He looked at me bemused, but I just felt so content. Walking along in the afternoon sun with my little family – J carrying our fish carefully and P holding Little D, who was exhaused from the day but still very excited. Just like my 10 year old self – I felt so loved – and was surrounded by people I love just as much.

J's first fish