How should I categorise my latest run? Usually I judge runs in terms of how well I have done, whether or not things have gone to plan, or by how I feel at the start compared to the finish, what sort of day it is, or by what I have seen. Today however it is none of the above: the run is about smell.
First off I ran through a park soon after they had finished cutting the grass and new-cut grass is the sweetest of smells. It is tied up in my memory with so many nice summer days or sports fields and the promise of a new season.
'Is it my favourite smell?' I wondered before I passed the coffee roaster's factory, by the canal. The air was full of that rich coffee smell and it made me realise how much the enjoyment of the drink was bound up in its aroma. I even enjoyed the smell before I liked the taste. I can remember, as a young child, being taken to a café in Croydon, where you could see the coffee being roasted in a small, brown stained, revolving drum. I was fascinated. My enjoyment was also helped by the fact that I loved their doughnuts, which were round and then sliced open to be filled to overflowing with jam (previously I had thought doughnuts were disc shaped with a small amount of jam hidden inside).
So I could make no decision on may favourite smell and had more or less put the question out of my mind when I passed one of the barges burning coal. This is another great smell but you only want it in small quantities. You do not want every house using coal for heating, as used to be the case. You do not want the air heavy and gagging with smoke. But here on the open water, one fire is perfect and again it takes me back to my childhood when I used to love looking at the patterns of the flickering flames.
So there you have it a run of three smells. The first I associate with optimism, hope and renewal; the second is tied to continued sensual pleasure; and the third is a link to the past and a reminder how, in some ways, things are better now.
So how would I categorise my run? I think I would say it was evocative.