Post by Val the Cookie Queen
Family, Friends and the Smell of England
My parents came to visit me each year between 1992 and 2003. My children were always extremely excited and would hang over the balcony railings waiting to see their car arrive. It was a thousand miles door to door and they always drove. I begged them to fly but they always replied that they needed the car to bring all the stuff for us. My father would fall out of the car, a fair shade of grey having driven the whole way. My mother would be bouncing, the excitement of seeing the kids nearly too much to bear. And up they came, three flights of stairs, lugging suitcases and cardboard boxes full of England.
Weetabix, Ready Brek, Branston, spaghetti hoops, salt´n´vinegar crisps, twenty packs of Trebor Extra Strong Mints, extra strong Cheddar,
Marks´n´Sparks undies, Action Man, Barbie, newspapers, a bunch of roses out of the garden wrapped in wet paper towels, sprigs of rosemary and a bundle of English lavender from the from of their home.
My daughter gave them her room and it would become England, nestled in our Austrian apartment. When they left
for the long trip back home she would ask me to leave the bedding on because it smelled of Nana and Grandpa and that made her feel safe.
And then they passed away.
Dear friends, K and B, slipped into the once a year visiting slot. They flew and brought crisps, cheese and the smell of England. Security, memories and love. And then B passed away.
K still comes. He flies and brings newpapers, peppermints and the smell of England. He left a week ago. The kids are grown up and gone now.
I shut the windows, pulled the blinds down and closed the door. As each of my children have dropped in I have had them go into the room and inhale deeply. “England.” they say.
Earth. Sage. Mint. Rain. Salt. Rose.
This is England.
St George Bussis