Hand me a ripe, green-backed pear. Ask me to slice it in two and bury my nose in its ripe, wet scent and I am six again. Shy, giggly, knock-kneed little girl. It is summer. Late afternoon. A fire has been lit and its embers are glowing as I sit, cross-legged, with brothers, mother, father, snow-white haired grandfather, golden locked grandmother, a trace of what I now know to be First by Van Cleef & Arpels.
We are at the bottom of their garden in a village 30 miles due north of Enfield. A barbeque before bed. A segment from a ripe, just-sliced pear is placed in my hand. Its scent is a confusing mixture of something new – not apple, not banana. It is soapy and sweet. Bubblegum will remind me of it when I first taste it at seven. A scent by James Heeley called Bubblegum Chic will have a similar, beguiling pull when I am 40. But of that pear you just cut for me. I am six, that summer, with my family. And my very first pear.