Relieved this clean­ing is all mak­ing ‘scents’

Perthshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

Ol­fac­tory ob­ses­sion has taken over.

Ping; the phone alerts us to a news­flash.

Ping; the door­bell sig­nals the ar­rival of a pack­age.

Ping one, the BBC ad­vis­ing that a loss of smell has been of­fi­cially added to the list of coronaviru­s symp­toms.

Ping two, a pack­age from a re­cently dis­cov­ered lit­tle com­pany, Iron and Vel­vet, spe­cial­is­ing in eco-friendly clean­ing prod­ucts.

The water-sol­u­ble, mul­ti­sur­face sa­chets had ar­rived!

Smell’s a big thing in this house. Not that we suffer from Jolly Green Gi­ant-sized noses you un­der­stand. Oh no, more that the aroma of a food prod­uct, room, per­son, of­fers, for us, a valu­able sense of con­text and un­der­stand­ing.

After­all, who hasn’t stepped from the shower while squirt­ing on fra­grance to make the day feel bet­ter?

Take the car for an­other ex­am­ple. Those dan­gly lit­tle num­bers, bob­bing about from a rear-view mir­ror, promis­ing ‘spring blos­som’ and ex­otic

‘top notes’, put nerves on edge, but give me a squirt of lemon juice and a slug of white vine­gar (bril­liant, I prom­ise) and both the car and I seem to run bet­ter.

We had a big house party a few years ago. Mid-win­ter. Cold out­side. Warm and wel­com­ing and in­fused with the aroma of mulled wine mince­meat within the walls.

But what’s that? Reach­ing my nos­trils’, an alien waft curled around the room.

Sniff­ing the wind like some Dis­neyesque dog, I was in­ex­plic­itly drawn to its source. Oth­ers seemed com­pletely obliv­i­ous. ‘How can you not smell that?’ I wanted to scream.

And there it was. The cause. AKA male friend, prone and puff­ing out through the cat-flap. Busted!

Now we have a new foe to fret about. “Our sense of smell plays a huge role in our mem­ory, mood and emo­tion, and forms a ma­jor part of many of life’s plea­sur­able ex­pe­ri­ences,” says Fifth Sense, the char­ity for people af­fected by smell and taste dis­or­ders.

I couldn’t agree more. Daily life is made so much richer with the added bonus of smell.

In a bid to dis­cover if anos­mia had struck, I de­cided to em­brace the as­sis­tance of our new clean­ing ma­te­ri­als, plop­ping each sen­sory prom­ise into in­di­vid­ual recycled bot­tles, full of tepid water.

Feel­ing like a Sun­day

Times wine critic and in highly con­trolled, lab­o­ra­tory, con­di­tions (not) we in­haled slowly, breath­ing deeply, shun­ning the la­bels for fear of rig­ging the re­sults.

First-up was the “some­thing cit­rusy with an edge” said a team­mem­ber. Not bad, it’s orange and ginger. Good call, but let’s do an­other one just in case.

“Oh, that one’s quite clin­i­cal, sort of fresh, mouth­washy per­haps, stand­ing to at­ten­tion?”

Top of the sen­sory class; ap­ple and mint glass and mir­ror cleaner, who knew clean­ing could be such a buf­fet of choice?

OK, erring on the safe side, just one more go.

“Eeu­urgh, it’s like sun cream, edgy sun cream, I wouldn’t want to slap it on but it’s def­i­nitely beachy.”

Well, that’s a re­lief ‘cause it’s co­conut and lime an­tibac­te­rial sur­face cleaner: just shows you the way neuro-path­ways dig deep into mem­ory.

For now, fam­ily noses seem to be func­tion­ing as they should (and here we must all reach out to touch a piece of, prefer­ably aro­matic, wood), but the loss of this abil­ity, even for a short pe­riod, must be hugely trau­matic, fur­ther en­hanced by its lack of vis­i­bil­ity to oth­ers.

In these dis­turb­ing times, it’s more im­por­tant than ever to wake up and smell the roses. Fail­ing that, just make sure you do a lot of house­work. It’s a jun­gle out there!

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