As I walked down our High street the other day the smell of tar hit my hooter and took me right back to being a kid in the late 70s early 80s. The smell was coming from a flat roof being repaired but to me I was suddenly a 10 year old boy again!
I grew up in North West London in a place called Dollis Hill which is in between Neasden and Cricklewood. N.W London is most famous, for Camden, Baker St and Wembley and is definitely NOT North London as you will often hear it described on a news report or by a sports commentator.
I can feel Shelly’s eyes rolling as she reads this as she will often hear the cry of “It’s not North London!!!!” Bellowing from the living room when I’m watching the box.
As I said I grew up in Dollis Hill, a big Irish area but it was mixed with people from all over the world. It was an industrial area which had fallen into decline so there were a lot of abandoned warehouses and industrial estates.
Which was a perfect playground for a 10 year old, his younger brother and their mates!
It was also a good place to park independently owned tippers, you know the lorries that carry earth and hardcore away from the building sites. Well these were our climbing frames and many of them had been used for tarmac, so the burnt sticky remains were still in them, which our mums loved, all over our jeans and shoes, so that smell takes me right back to that time.
Food seems to be one of those smells that can also do this, the smell of roasting chestnuts takes me back to the street vendors selling them on Oxford St during the Christmas period.
Strawberries remind me of the big carts full of berries being sold on a London High Street during the summer season and fish frying always reminds me of me Nan cooking it on a Friday in her small kitchen.
So I love to hear when people come into our shop and say to one another “smells like a proper Greengrocers” and I know that they are being transported to a place and time only they knew, in a mini mind time machine and it always makes me smile.
I also love it when kids come into the shop with their mums and dads, I like to make a fuss of them, as it might make a point in time in their minds in the future, when they smell a Greengrocers they are taken back to a Harris tweed hatted, mustachioed fool searching for the stickers on the fruit to add to the never ending till display.
Because my friends that type of thing makes me happy and as long as I’m happy all is good!