Thursday 15 July 2010

Free gifts

for the Coffee Lady,

from Pookie in Search of a Home,
by Ivy L. Wallace.

These have not quite succeeded in conjuring up 
the feelings that I remember
but now I think of it,the colours are reminiscent 
of those magic painting books 
which only needed water.
 I must see if they still make them,
to add to the gallery of childhood memory triggers:

the smell of trolls, Pez machines, raffia, plasticene,
vanilla sugar, pineapple chunk sweets,
dolls that need a post to themselves,
 Something to Do, Sunny Stories, 
Milly-Molly-Mandy, The Bobbsey twins, 
Lord of the Rushie River... 
(the books need another post too),
ships in bottles,ivory handled penknives,
brown gingham, 
violet scent and Lily of the Valley,
and most potent of all Aqua Manda soap
which I haven't smelt since I was sixteen.


  1. EEK! Aqua Manda!!! Suddenly I am back wearing cheesecloth smock tops trimmed with lace, leather sandals and feeling as if I was as free as a bird (I was!!). I loved the dark brown bottles Aqua Manda came in and the lovely labels. To this day I go for orange based perfumes.............

  2. So please tell us the story of Mr Aqua Manda - and his lasting olfactory impact...

  3. Aqua Manda, as M.M says goes with the cheesecloth smocks (bought from Fred's boutique which had rail upon rail of them) and most memorably, with a school cruise on the S.S. Nevada to the West Indies after my O-levels. I had never been further abroad than Boulogne. You can imagine how heady that experience was. The Canary Islands, Martinique, Jamaica, Trinidad Bermuda, Barbados, over Christmas and New Year.

  4. Pookie was my sister's favourite; my mum ended up banning us from getting him out of the library because we loved him so much that we'd hide him in secret corners and run up huge fines! Still love those little blue trews.
    And I remember Something To Do - making wonky dolls-house furniture out of conkers!
    But Aqua Manda ... yuck! Far too pungent for me, I preferred Kiku!

  5. I remember it well and it is fascinating to see, from the link, how so many memories have been stirred in broadly similar ways.

  6. I am so very lucky. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the first picture.

  7. Aqua Manda passed me by, but I do remember magic painting books and you can still get them because I bought one for my niece quite recently.

  8. I loved the illustrations from the book - I don't know this one but beautifully illustrated books of fairies and little people with magical scenes were my absolute favourites - my great love.