Lynette Fay: The sweet smell of nostalgia

I am not sure why Eternity by Calvin Klein was in my head - perhaps it is my latest mid-life crisis - but I was curious to see what memories, if any, would come flooding back when I smelled it again

A favourite perfume has the power to bring memories come flooding back
Lynette Fay

THE woman in the perfume shop laughed at me when I asked her for a spray of Eternity by Calvin Klein. "It's not very modern," she said. "I know it's not, I got my first bottle 25 years ago," was my reply.

To me, it is 1996 in a bottle. The year I became an adult and left school, a quarter of a century ago. Gulp.

I am not sure why this scent was in my head - perhaps it is my latest mid-life crisis - but I was curious to see what memories, if any, would come flooding back when I smelled it again.

Sure enough, I was 18 again - getting ready to go to discos, treating myself to a spray of the 'good stuff' if I had an exam. To this day, I keep perfume handy, and usually treat myself to a spray before I go to the studio.

As a teenager, perfume was really important to me. It was part of the personality, and finding your scent was part of becoming an adult. I am not sure if this is still the case for teenagers today?

Experimenting with perfume was a big temptation when I was younger. Just like any little girl, the curiosity got the better of me, and I would help myself to some of Mummy or Granny's 'good' perfume.

They would have had a couple of bottles on the dressing table, and I always got caught because I sprayed too much. Those particular perfumes always evoke memories of them. I associate certain perfumes with people.

Now for the science bit. The way our sense of smell is connected to our brains triggers these memories, such is the intimate connection between emotions, memories and scents.

Memories are triggered by scent as opposed to other senses which are experienced as more emotional and more evocative.

For my generation there are a number of perfumes which were really popular - Exclamation, Sunflower, Red Door and, of course, The Body Shop's White Musk and Dewberry.

I am sure that someone will remind me of a few others. I tried them all.

But for me, Eternity was the most coveted. It was my absolute favourite, so I asked for a bottle for my 18th birthday. I wore it for years but graduated to different scents along the way. I still feel very complimented when someone asks me about the perfume I'm wearing.

For Lynette, Eternity by Calvin Klein is 1996 in a bottle

I posted a photo of my new bottle of 'not very modern' perfume on social media and couldn't believe the reaction. Scent really does have the ability to take you back to a particular time and place.

Not to be left out, a few men mentioned that their favourite aftershaves 'back in the day' were Cool Water or Jazz. There were many mentions of heading out to the likes of The Black Horse and Clubland in Cookstown.

Now, add a bit of pan stick, mascara and a dash of heather or coffee shimmer lipstick - that definitely takes me back to Clubland on a Saturday night...

There are times when I think that I would give anything to have a reunion of that time again – one last blast off. Then I remove my rose-tinted glasses and content myself with the great memories.


JULY is here, the summer of sport is upon us, live music might not be too far away, but full-on music festivals look like they are on hold for another summer.

I can't help thinking that live music continues to get a raw deal, while huge sporting tournaments can proceed, with huge crowds in attendance.

It has been a busy year, and while I am looking forward to taking a break, a holiday abroad is a bridge too far for me this year.

Apart from the tests, red-amber-green list, possible quarantine, I don't think I could face into a hectic airport or long flight with a toddler.

Holidaying at home is all there is for it. It's very retro. I will put the Child of Prague under the bush before we head off, and hope that the sun shines wherever we can get booked in.

For a second year in a row, I am hoping to discover some hidden beauty spots on my travels. Will I go full retro and head for Bundoran? I will keep you posted.

One thing I am assured of, is that I will not be going on 'staycation' anywhere on this island. I'll be going on my #stayantasaoire.

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