Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Shipping Forecast

Wild outside. All boats in dock and a raging gust which screams uphill - through woods and slate and roof.

We are under lock and key. And children - under wooden rafters - fast asleep.

My turn this evening, to tuck my daugher into bed. In a tiny nursery room, by the back stairs and directly below our own. Thick thick walls, wooden window frames, and this night - a smell of smoke.

Woodsmoke from the house next door, which - when the wind blows our way - affects the back stairwell and the rooms beyond.

But after that another smell. Fluid, leaking from an old radiator, transports me 26 years in the past. To a cottage further south and a stones throw from the waters edge. Where, of the occasional weekend, we played and ate and slept.

3 girls and a boy. Board games and cards in the event of a storm. TV favouring an Irish signal to our own. Miles from home.

I went back - 3 years ago. With my husband and toddler son. Expecting, not quite, the past to rush as I walked through the door. Like a storm of its own. And the smell - familiar and musty and old.

Like the years had never gone. Shrunken in jeans and wellie boots and met myself head-on.

We remain closer than we know. A scent - forgotten for decades - has the power to restore. And music, a voice, or the late night radio.

Memories tossed in a storm - by the waters edge when we were young. A place at the sea. Painted white on the road by the beach - sea and salt and wild breeze.

Not - I found - changed much in all these years... x


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