Sunday 23 October, 2005

Cities smell.Not all of them. But some of them. In their own distinctive, individual ways. Edinburgh, for example, has a rich yeasty, bready smell that hits you as soon as you step off the train at Waverley station, thanks to the various breweries dotted around the city. On such days, it's great to just stand on the platform and take a deep breath. One or two friends there deny there's such a smell, but that, I think, is because they are pretty conditioned to it. There's worse things to be conditioned to, I suppose.

Aberdeen, however, has the slightly more pungent aroma of fish which occasionally gets right up your nose on King Street – presumably due to the fish lorries which I suppose must run between Aberdeen and other fishing ports like Peterhead or Fraserburgh.

In Inverness, it's the grain factory on the Longman industrial estate, which depending on the stage of production can make the whole city centre stink of sheep feed. It was particularly thick and agricultural on Saturday when I went to the supermarket that just backs on to the Longman, and it was a good thing for Inverness's external projection that Caley Thistle were playing away yesterday. The smell of sheep pellets brings back memories of childhood – although I guess I should assure you that this was because we used to keep sheep, and not because it was my staple diet or anything. No, hay was far tastier and went much better on toast…

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