Friday, 29 May 2009


I love this time of year. Summer is still a thrilling concept - we aren't bleached and wrung out by it yet. There's still a coolness in the nights that means you can sleep, but you don't need extra layers. Getting out of the shower doesn't mean speed-dressing as close to the radiator as possible, but you haven't reached the point where a cold shower every 8 hours is an absolute necessity.

I love the way it smells, too. It reminds me a bit of India, but only because smells seem so much more pungent in warm air. (Actually, I think that might be an Actual Fact, or nearly - something about speed of diffusion.( I was cycling around the city this evening at breakneck speed to catch up with the Van of Stuff, enjoying the way the scents changed with neighbourhoods in between willing my bike to change gear and not drop its chain or its pedals or anything like that.

Where I live, there were barbecues. Charred meats and hot fat spitting into charcoal. The difference between steak and sausages discernible. I was starving, too, that's partly why I noticed. Down near our new house there are large communities of Chinese and Indian people, and the smells change. Curry, of many sorts, interspersed still with barbecues - sometimes also Indian-flavoured. Odd to pick out the scents of a western meal in that setting, actually. There's the river with its own smell, and the diesel smell of buses that I kind of like in a perverse way. In a brief period of calm, the clean smells of the launderette and a tanning salon permeated through the food odours. Late, on the way back through town and up the hill to home-for-tonight, the pubs were full and spilling into the warm night. As you go past the door, apart from the thumping music, you are assailed by the cloying smells of sticky alcoholic drinks, cigarette smoke, cheap aftershave and sweat. It's odd that that isn't really off-putting - it's just an indication of what a place is.

And home, at last, there's the smell of me. I stink. I've been chasing about all evening doing things that make me sweat. Bleugh. I need to peel off the clothing and shower. Then I shall smell of soap, rather than fading deodorant and ick, and this will be better. But the smell of me tells me that I did work and can be satisfied with myself for that. Not that I recommend house-moving as the ideal get-fit activity - I suspect it only works for me, and even then I'm not sure it counts....

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