As a child, we would travel to the East End of London to visit my maternal grandparents. This always seemed a long drawn out car journey as I was always excited and recall the landmarks along the way through the central part of London. At last we would arrive at my grandparents’ tiny terraced house with no front garden and I would rush to the front door so I was the first to reach the door knocker. It was always my Nanny who would answer the door in her long bibbed full length floral print apron which seemed to reach the floor. She had grey hair pulled into a tiny rear bun and she would scoop down to greet me and her plump arms would embrace me. She would kiss me and I remember she had chin ‘whiskers’ that prickled as our faces met, however there was the overwhelming scent which I recall to this day … the smell of lavender which was so refreshing and overpowering to me and something which even to this day makes me recall my Nan’s warm embrace. As I would rush into her little house, which seemed huge to me as a child, I would head for the kitchen where the lunch would be cooking. Nan always made us a steak and kidney pastry pie and that would be baking in the traditional gas free-standing oven. The smell of the home-made pastry cooking was delicious. It had a special aroma because it was home-made and I recall the pleasure of seeing the pastry change colour and then she would lift it from the oven and that unique smell I can still imagine to this day.
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