Saturday, 19 May 2012

A sense of memory

Back in sixth form college I used to take part in a course called Writers Craft. Our group learnt a variety of writing skills and we had to produce pieces in a host of styles.

This afternoon after being ill since Wednesday and not having been outside since then I've been bored and fed up of feeling ill. However, I then discovered a brownie mix a friend had given me as part of my Christmas presents (don't worry it was still well in date) and decided to use the chance to buy the remaining ingredients needed and leave the flat.

The leaving of the flat for 'fresh air' wasn't the best idea as I just felt like a zombie and made myself feel more sick on returning to the flat. Regardless I got my eggs, butter etc and after lunch I made the brownies.

They smelt amazing, were easy to make, cooked quickly and on sampling one just now I can tell you they are delicious!

The funny thing is though - and what resulted in me writing this blog - is that simply making them bought up a host of memories.

Back in college in Writers Craft we talked about your senses bringing back memories and making the brownies this afternoon I experienced this.

Stirring up the mixture in a big bowl and tempted to lick the ingredients sticking to the edges, I was swept back to my childhood and days of baking with my Mum - my favourite part, like most kids, licking the spoon and eating the leftover mixture stuck in the bowl. Yum.

Thinking back on this I thought of my college course and the time I had to write about going somewhere which reminded me of a childhood memory.

Placing the mixture in the dish to cook I thought back to a more recent memory - when I attempted a toffee apple crumble for a Come Dine With Me evening with friends. Disaster is not even the word! We ended up eating a gooey bowl of slop instead, granted it tasted good, but it looked awful.

Then the rich chocolate smell of the brownies baking made me think back to my last job where a colleague and friend of mine used to make the most amazing brownies. They were delicious, we used to beg her to make them and every time she'd doubt herself and think they weren't that good.

It's funny how smells, tastes, sights and sounds can trigger off a whole host of emotions. For example cigars remind me of my grandad Jack, the smell of jam reminds me of my Grandma, an old disco song reminds me of another Grandad and there's lots more.

I remember experiencing this when I was a teenager and had to attend a family friend's birthday party in the hall where my playgroup was held when little. This is what I used to write my Writers Craft piece at college too...

I walked through the hall doors, the music's bass thumping inside my ears, replacing the childish shrieks and giggles which once echoed around the room.

My feet crossed the familiar warm, oak coloured tiled floor, which was now clear, no screwed up balls of paper, no stubborn blobs of plasticine marking it and no shiny, red and blue Wellington boots lined up by the door. People's bags and coats were draped over tiny silver coloured pegs on the wall, different to the doll-sized colourful coats and bobble hats which adorned them before.

Tears of laughter on everyone's faces were visible and the sound of their merry voices filled the room. Whereas on others before, they would have been tears of anger or fear and the sound of crying or whining would have been heard.

I placed my glass of champagne on the table, no longer splattered with paint. The strong aroma and flavour of my crisps surrounded me and I thought I could almost smell the scent of chocolate and apple juice from snack times accompanying it. Everybody being ushered to wash their hands free of Play-Doh and general dirt from outside. Having to sit sensibly on little stools, and always a few hiding in the playhouse, behind the red, soft, velvet curtains pretending to be eating their dinner, whilst playing 'Mum and Dads'.

That night the only booming instructions being shouted were those of the DJ, trying to persuade people to dance.

What sorts of senses bring up memories for you? Are they always good or sometimes bad?

Guess I better try another brownie now then and see what other memories I find..

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