Aromatic memories

This is going way back to a long lost age. I guess people did the best they could with what they had and they were kind to each other. My mother’s widowed older sister moved in with her much older sister in law when the latter got beyond living by herself. My aunt and that aunt’s sons were the lady’s only living relations, her being a spinster as they used to say.

The two lived in a very old house that had been the property of the single lady’s parents. At one time it didn’t possess an inside bathroom. There was an ‘arrangement’ plumbed in to a small cubbyhole accessed on the outside of the house and next to the coal cupboard. It stands out in memory, not for use, (shudders), but because it had more than one accepting orifice on the single plank seat. We won’t go there…

While there was hot running water for the bath, in the new bathroom, courtesy of some cylindrical monster, fired by gas and optimistically attached to an internal wall directly above the bathtub, the taps in sink and kitchen ran only cold water. I think it was the pervading aroma of burning gas that sticks in my mind the most. Coal gas fired the monster in the bathroom, the stove in the kitchen and in every other room there was a gas powered fireplace. Heat at the turn of a lever and the strike of a match. There was a definite aroma caused by the heating. It wasn’t unpleasant, just different. I guess it stood out as my parents had central heating in their place that was fired by solid fuel.

Aside from that, there was always the aroma of cooking, as both ladies liked to cook, particularly the older single lady and especially at xmas. She really loved sausage rolls and mince pies, but eld is unfathomally cruel and her digestive system was no longer happy with ingesting her choices. My kin aunt used to get very annoyed with the single lady for eating what obviously upset her when the inevitable re-visitation occurred. What I remember and admire was the instant response. “At least I had the pleasure of eating it.” Yep, she did and at 80+ she got in the pleasure she could. Go her.

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