Friday, 18 October 2013

The smells of childhood

It's funny how a smell can suddenly transport you back to childhood. Every time I handle cut flowers I'm taken back to my grandparent's house; my grandmother was a florist in a small town, and she worked out of their home. I can see and feel the scuffed linoleum underfoot in her workroom and hear the snip of the scissors as she arranged bouquets (or casket sprays - I seem to remember a lot of funeral arrangements).

My grandmother died when I was still quite young, and my father's sister took over the family business. So I think of her when I smell that particular smell as well. And old damp barns - because she had one, not that she smells like one!

The smell of freshly baked bread - that's my Grammie Bea through and through. I think of her every time I mix up a batch of dough and take out a clean dishtowel to cover it while it rises. It's comforting to follow the ways of our parents and grandparents and take them through life with us, perpetuating the rituals and teaching them to our children.

Anyway, this trip down memory lane started this evening when I got home from work and my eyes fell upon this very sorry looking bouquet on my dining room sideboard. It actually looks a little worse in this picture than it did when I got home because I took the picture after I culled the not-yet-wilted flowers.

It was clearly in desperate need of some help. A couple of months ago I bought a vintage mercury glass frog, made to hold small bouquets. The bowl holds water and the glass insert on the top holds the flowers in place.

I love as it extends the time that I can enjoy flowers. When the big vase starts to wilt, I snip off any flowers that are still fresh, and make a mini arrangement that will last for at least a few more days.

I actually prefer the jaunty little bouquets to the bigger ones in vases. I should probably split up the flowers from the start - I just need to keep my eyes open for more antique frogs to hold them!

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