Biscuits conjure a universe of emotion with just their aroma – the spiciness of ginger nuts reminiscent of hotter climes; the cosiness of malted milk bringing forth my earliest memories of biscuity-ness (the inexperienced drip of milk down the arm after “first dunking”).
But the biscuit smell I miss and have never smelt since that first time, that first blessed meeting with biscuit perfection, was the simplest of simple home-made affairs. I wasn’t even present for the baking but the smell billowed throughout the house; only a small house, in Bodfari, as exotic to me as ginger nuts. The church and the post office were at the bottom of the hill and the house right at the top. The Biscuit Maker walked it every day.
She was the oldest person I’d ever met. She was 96. I must’ve been about eight. To me she was a conundrum, all paper-thin skin and hair in the wrong places, but she smelt wonderful. Her fingers were still damp from the baking and I saw, for the very first time outside of fairy tale picture books, a pie and a plate of biscuits cooling on the window-sill. I was breathless.
I don’t remember the taste.
Incidentally, I met a man today who is 97. He took great pains to make sure I understood it was June 16th “NINETEEN TWELVE… AND TWO MONTHS LATER TITANIC SANK”. They blamed him. At the risk of sounding clichéd-football-commentator, it’s a funny old game. Pass the biscuits.