Senses of a November Night
Most memories I have of my childhood relate to strong sensory experiences, they often involve foods, smells, sounds and vivid sights.
My most dominant memories all come accompanied by stimulating experiences.
Falling over and cutting my lip is a memory etched with that iron, metallic kind of taste as blood filled my mouth.
Childhood Christmas memories come flooding back when smelling an empty Quality Street wrapper, not the actual chocolate but the smell of the film and the foil.
Then there are some memories that are so filled with sensory feelings they play back like a film in my head, the rose tinted spectacles exaggerating the joy and wonder I felt as a child, this sensory overload for me comes from a cold November evening every year until I was about ten years old.
Imagine, it's November the 7th and lingering in the air is the musky smell of burned damp wood from the bonfires and fireworks of the 5th, playing in the park you spot the first of many long vans and caravans riding through the village stopping and unloading at the top of the road, it's arrived! The travelling fairground! You run to the corner of the field and spend all day watching as the booths and rides are set up, the excitement is almost too much!
The lights would come on as the dark nights drew in, flashing in sequences and truly dazzling, a beacon that could be seen lighting the valley aglow.
Next came the music, in my memories there's a waltzing Wurlitzer playing but I'm keen enough to recognise that my mind is becoming romantic and nostalgic and it was probably the soundtrack of the latest pop charts playing.
Then it hits you, the aromas emanating from this little piece of childhood paradise, the sparky petrol smell of the dodgems, the crisp fizz of apple cider, 'brut' aftershave from the freshly dabbed men and then the food...oh the food!
In America they have state fairs where row after row of food trucks serve the most outrageous but absolutely delicious sounding fried foods, like the deep fried butter ball (YES! A BALL OF BUTTER DEEP FRIED!) deep fried cookie dough, churros, frozen lemonade, boiled peanuts, corn dogs... the list goes on, and for four days every year we got to experience a little of this carnival atmosphere right on our doorstep.
Now granted, we didn't get the grandeur of an American state fair banquet but we did have fried onions, hot dogs, candy floss and best all toffee apples!
It would start with the wrapper being peeled away and already your sticky, the deep red syrup would very slowly drip off as you quickly caught it before it dropped to the floor, licking around and around until the syrupy goo had gone to reveal the next layer, a glass shell of crunchy sugar, peeking through was the part that brought this sweet delight full circle...the apple!
Now I'm a salted caramel person and the combination of sweet and salty brings my tastebuds to life, except with a toffee apple the salt is replaced by a tart sour from the apple.
There is a caveat to this of course; Will it be the delicious sour crunch of a granny smith or the disappointing soft bite of a royal gala?
At the travelling fair it was always a granny smith at least that what my memories tell me.
When asked to design the November Posy, I knew in an instant that I wanted to use the Toffee Apple as my inspiration, it's the first thing I think of when I consider what November means to me and so here it is...
The November Posy Of The Month is THE TOFFE APPLE, inspired by the whimsy and magic of that time when the travelling fair came to town, capturing the vivid red of the sweet apple coating and filled with the joy I felt as a child filling my senses on a cold November night.