The Smell of a Freshly Opened Box of Chocolates

Freshly mowed grass, melting chocolate or perhaps puppy breath

The seasons have changed! Here in Africa, summer has begun & I realise that summer was just finishing off when Covid-19 pushed us all into Lockdown, stricken with fear, chaos and depression   

I think so many of us are feeling trepidation about the end of the year family time, celebrations, and even wondering if any leave might be due to those forced into “time off” early 2020

So this blog post is to take your mind off everyday life and get wandering down other little pathways for a short while – there will be tangents in your mind and joyful memories will come alive  – well, this is my intention anyway.  “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”



My conversation with you is about evocative and pleasant smells, so lets go on this journey together


After months of dusty air and parched soil, a storm brews far away.  The thunder is shouting out that she is on her way, crashing together as she drifts closer and closer forming crackling bright swords of light & flinging them to the ground in flickering shards horizontal flames. The sky has turned a fluorescent bright white and carrying heavy grey clouds.  Then the clouds spill their water in sheets of grey sweeping across the landscape ………….. and suddenly that gorgeous smell of rain enters the weather’s dramatic playground.  There is a name for the smell of rain – PETRICHOR

I’m fighting with myself now – is it Coffee or the smell of opening a new box of chocolates next?


The box is glistening with shiny wrap waiting to be opened.  The voices are calling from inside – eat me, eat me.  How can one ignore such pleas?!  The wrap is peeled off obediently into a crumply pile and you lift the lid – aaaah, that aroma – “odour du chocolat. 


The old day’s railway rich coffee comes to mind instantly however most of are more familiar with the sweet, smoky, spicy, fruity & floral whiff that drifts out of a coffee shop in the early morning on the way to work.  Sometimes the delicious smell leaps out of no-where during a weekend walkabout or window shopping, sending the ambler in search of that coffee spot.  I always find the nose enjoys it more than the tongue.

Did you know scientists have found that there may be a genetic component to a coffee addiction?  It claims 8 genes are linked to heightened metabolic rates and the natural liking for caffeinated drinks


When there is a tiny puppy around, it is cuddled by everyone ooing and aaing – oh so adorable and a  chorus of, “I love the sweet  puppy breath”.  What makes that particular smell I wonder?  Pity it doesn’t last!



You smelt it the minute you read it, am I right. Delightful, distinctive salty and heavy.  Almost damp. Bringing to your imagination holidays, romance & a walk with sand crunching under your feet – sun on your back & a breeze tickling your hair.  Bet you never knew that in truth it is not such a great smell because it is actually a gas, dimethyl sulphide, being released by bacteria. 


Some people associate it with summer, however for me it is more a winter smell after a long day in the bush.  All tired and scratched from climbing trees and walking through bushes after exploring or spending an exciting day in a vehicle watching for wild animals to pop out of mysterious places.   The end of a happy adventurous day, campfire whispering hisses, sizzling, fuzzing, crackling and body warming, ready to melt marshmallows on the end of sosatie sticks


Breathe it in.  Fantastic isn’t it.  You know a new season has arrived when the lawn is mowed.   Here is a thing – the smell is the grass sending out a signal trying to save itself from the injury you just inflicted.  GLV’s are released, which are a group of 8 related oxygenated hydrocarbons, including aldehydes & alcohols.  These create the green odour.  Fascinating useless information for you to absorb

How about BACON

For many people, this heady smell is irresistible (to me it is sad and horrible as I am an animal-loving vegetarian).  People think of early morning breakfasts, family time and food.  The secret lies in a chemical process and is one of the most important discoveries explaining why food becomes so delicious when it is being cooked


I nearly forgot – how could I!   

It is the most fabulous delicious happy, comforting smell of all. Drool and memories of a rat in my car nibbling the corners of the loaf of bread amongst the groceries on the passenger seat next to me on the way home (ps – that same rat has followed me all my life actually, and moves from car to car when I change vehicles). That aroma is too enticing to ignore in traffic!


Evocative fragrance – a smell of being alive, sharp, sweet and refreshing.  Excitement about things to come.  Christmas is for children – they take in all the good and are blissfully unaware of the stress of buying the right present for Aunt Agatha (that she won’t recycle next Christmas – and if she does, you will be happy to be the recipient).  Which relatives and in-laws can sit together or does one celebrate Christmas (perhaps Thanksgiving) with one set of parents and New Year with the other.  Kiddies go along, love everyone, take in the spoils, eat banned food until they pop, unwrap presents like crazed monsters.  They love to select the perfect family Fir tree, help plant it in a bucket of sand and decorate it with glittering sparkly baubles & tinsel.  Oh, that piney scent (chemical compounds called terpenes by the way)

VANILLA, POPCORN, a new baby, taking the lid off a fat felt tipped pen…….

And to finish off this conversation with you today I leave you with a delicate, fine gentle thought –  BREATHING DEEPLY into a  ROSE FLOWER

Surrounded by fresh air, gentle sun’s rays kissing your face, birdsong and a breeze whispering love songs, nature’s bliss, being both restorative and relaxing  – even a sad but pleasant reminder of a loved one passed. 

I always feel a rose scent resonates with a colour – how it is associated with a colour I cannot explain (my colour is pinky orange).  Apparently there is a word for being able to associate colour with smell or sound. I even feel mood colours. Does a colour drift by when you smell a rose? Enough Mary Poppinsing – bye xx