I drive a little purple car. It’s not new or fast or stylish and it’s totally impractical for my needs. But I drive this little purple car.

If you asked me why I would tell you that it’s cheap to run, easy to find in a car park, that it’s the most reliable car I have ever owned (I confess there have been a few..) Yesterday, when chatting with clients and admiring my incongruous wee purple car in the beautiful Skye scenery I came a little closer to the truth. It was, I explained, my late mother’s car and I just can’t bring myself to part with it. My clients were kindly sympathetic and we moved on to talk of other things.

I was reflecting on this as I got back into the car and then it hit me. It was gone. The real reason I have been keeping this wee purple car has vanished and I hadn’t realised until that moment. The real reason I keep the car is because when I pack my camera gear in the (tiny) boot and climb into the driver’s seat I am instantly soothed by the lingering aroma of lavender which scented my Mum’s handkerchiefs and scarves, the last evocative hint of the soft kid leather gloves she wore when driving and the slightly earthy smell of her wicker shopping basket. I swear I can hear it creak and rustle in the footwell as the car jolts over potholed single track roads.

But yesterday it was all gone. Time and the salt scented Skye sea air and the smell of son’s muddy rugby kit and daughter’s art materials and a million spilt cartons of apple juice have created new aromas that have hidden those old soothing ones.

So my thoughts today are not really about my little purple car, they are about grief and loss and how the senses connect you to moments that your conscious mind has lost for ever. I have never been so grateful to have this photograph to look at, and touch and to have it tickle my senses and soothe a hurt soul. Another time, another car and another reminder that it is the feeling that is so important and that even in grief there are always memories to make us smile and laugh.


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