Sometimes I sit and stare at the screen, wishing for something sensational to happen so I can write about it. And then I realise – sensational things are happening all around me. As I look towards the windowsill I see my little sunflower seedlings, spindly but keen, growing about an inch a day (perhaps I can even see them growing if I stare for long enough) and leaning towards the light eagerly. When speeded up they look like writhing snakes (or so I imagine, having seen speeded-up films of such things.)
To my right, on top of the radiator, comes momently a noise that mimics the ticking of the clock. But when I look I realise it’s my wine, fermenting at a gratifying rate and releasing gases into the atmosphere with a ploip-ploip-ploip. (Nettle wine, since you ask.) And in front of me on the table is an old brown teapot whose lid I was never able to replace without it costing as much as a new pot, which now houses cuttings of forsythia like jagged rays of sun thrown into relief by green hedge-prunings. All around me is life and colour: I don’t even need to turn to the mandala I’ve been colouring in to find it.
And when I turn on the radio I find newsreader Kathy Clugston (I always thought it was Cluxton) on the radio talking about anosmia.
I used to be able to smell as much as the next person (and sometimes to smell the next person) but since my anti-Proustness has come upon me and I have forgotten everything I can no longer smell at all. Occasionally I get a whiff of something and I think oo! it’s coming back! but then before you know it – nothing happens. Oddly, it doesn’t seem to stop me tasting food and drink, but every time I rub my fingers on a spear of rosemary or lavender, or take a gulp of sea air or a sip of Earl Grey tea – nothing happens again.
Smell is known to be connected to memory, and I still hope that as my memory returns and I am able to find my way from here to the shops without Google maps, so one day I will be able to smell again. Transitively, that is…