INSPIRATION – MINE YOUR CHILDHOOD MEMORIES


we had one just like this in our kitchen at home. When the pull-down shelf came off, the cabinet was moved into the dining room & used to store crockery. My father fixed the shelf to the kitchen wall and it became 'the flap'. On the bottom left you can see a blue caddy very similar to the yellow one our kitten got into...
we had one just like this in our kitchen at home. When the pull-down shelf came off, the cabinet was moved into the dining room & used to store crockery. My father fixed the shelf to the kitchen wall and it became ‘the flap’. On the bottom left you can see a blue caddy very similar to the yellow one our kitten got into…

Today I was sorting the recycling ready for the bin men to collect tomorrow. As I tore apart and flattened a box which had contained tea bags (Yorkshire Gold, if anyone is interested) I was suddenly reminded of the smell of the tea caddy my mother used to keep ‘on the flap’ (an enamel-topped shelf that my father put up in the kitchen) – the caddy was the size of a small biscuit tin, part of a set of three – Tea, Coffee and Sugar. I recall our second cat (I don’t remember the first, a cat called Lucky who wasn’t – I seem to remember that he got run over, quite an achievement in the late fifties/early sixties when there weren’t nearly as many cars on the road as there are now) just about fitting in one of them not long after we first got her. (Quite what we were doing with the caddie, and why Kitty came to be in it, I have no idea) This prompted me to search online for images of kitchen furniture from the 50’s and 60’s, which in turn gave me an idea for a story about… but that would be telling. You’ll have to read my next short story collection to find out (see if you can guess which one it was).  It also reminded me of the smell of the PG Tips cards, which came in a variety of topics and which you could save up and put into an album …

PG Tips 'Famous People' we had this one, too
PG Tips ‘Famous People’
we had this one, too
PG Tips - Trees of Britain - we had this one
PG Tips – Trees of Britain – we had this one

I also remember the smell of coal smoke as I walked home from school on a winter afternoon, the smell of paraffin from the portable heater we used in the hallway (and the curtain that went across the  front door to keep out the draft – because winters were definitely colder when I was a child!) and the peppery smell of the coal shed. I’m sure there is a story in each of those memories, should I decide to explore them!

A few months ago, I penned a post about the sights and sounds of my childhood, prompted by the arrival of a modern day ‘Rag & Bone’ man in our street. Inspiration can strike a writer at any time, spark a hundred ideas – a sight, a sound, a memory evoked by a smell…   What sights, sounds or smells have inspired you to write a story?

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