By Gareth Edwards

Monday 31 October 2011

A Poorly Spaniel in a Wet Tweed Suit.

More from the only blog that answers the question “What does it all mean?”  without inviting you to a series of friendly “meetings” culminating in some sinister chanting and a standing order form.

Could you demonstrate that I exist?
It is a scientifically observable phenomenon that when a toddler is taking his jumper off and it is pulled up over his face he becomes completely invisible. And yet his existence continues. As I write this you are completely invisible. So, like the aforementioned toddler,  you must therefore also exist. This is of course all assuming you are wearing a jumper. If not then I’m afraid I can’t vouch for your existence of otherwise.

Why do my clothes smell like this?
This question highlights one of the fundamental problems with discussing smell, namely the vagueness of the terminology. There’s just no simple way for me to know what you mean by “like this” and that’s typical of the way that everyday language stumbles when it comes to finding a way to describe the olfactory. And yet it doesn’t need to be like that. Here I’d like to propose a radical new way to categorise and evaluate smell that I’m calling The Roquefort Scale.
Force 1) a scent. For example thyme warming in the summer sunshine. Bees gather. Breathing deepens.
Force 2) a waft. Freshly laundered sheets. Lungs fill.
Force 3) a whiff. Onions frying on the other side of the car park. Noses twitch.
Force 4) a niff. Onions frying on the same side of the car park. Noses sniff.
Force 5) a tang. The smell of garlic on the end of your fingers. Nostrils flair.
Force 6) an odour. Some socks just taken from a pair of brogues. Eyebrows crinkle.
Force 7) a pong. Some socks just taken from a pair of trainers. Eyes water.
Force 8) a funk. Some sick just taken from a pair of trainers. Windows are opened. Faces grimace.
Force 9) a hum. A poorly spaniel in a wet tweed suit. Polite conversation pretending everything is fine becomes difficult.
Force 10) a reek. Some offal accidentally left on a radiator while you went on holiday. Gorges rise. Noses are held.
Force 11) a stink. An old badger frightened to death by some off pickled onions. Insects die. Children cry.
Force 12) a stench. A skunk has exploded from a surfeit of scotch eggs and camembert in the back of a hot van used to transport herring. Windows crack. Adults burst into tears. Children burst into flames.
Why not take a careful smell of your clothes and let me know where on the Roquefort scale you would rate yourself, and then get back to me? Or if you rate anywhere over Force 7) please don't get back to me.

Why don't eggs come from eggplants?
Because they know that deep down they’re called Aubergines.

What do you do when you can't get what you want?
This very much depends on your background. For example if you are English you won’t mention it and will carry on as best you can. If you are Scottish you will feel pleased that things have panned out exactly as you predicted. If you are irish you will blame it on the English. If you are Welsh then you will remember a bygone day when you always got what you want and also the sun was shining and everyone loved you unconditionally. If you are American you might start a war. There are of course many other treasured national stereotypes that space prevents me from needlessly perpetuating.

That’s all for what I’m going to call “now” but do keep the questions coming or we’ll never get the universe explained.