I have heard many people gasp at the mention of Lily of the Valley, declaring that it is their all time favourite flower. Although I admire its delicate beauty and abundance I have never quite understood this enthusiasm. I imagined this attachment was merely sentimental, the nodding ivory bells evoking memories of a mother’s cherished bloom, a bridal bouquet, a childhood posy. Then I recalled my gross failing in the appreciation of this world, a missing dimension in my life, a chasm, a void. I am talking about my, at best, meagre sense of smell. When perfumes fleetingly return it is often shocking, over-whelming and physical in its intensity. It is rather like being hit in the face by a football, not an altogether pleasant experience. Furthermore, whilst in the olfactory wilderness I forget what smells are, my ability to identify one from another. So on these lucid days I walk around with a scrunched up face saying “what is that strange smell?” only to be told with puzzled tone “petrol” or “coffee” or “chips”. I can only guess that the (allegedly) sweetly scented Convallaria majalis, that admirably carpets our woodlands and shady garden corners in spring, has one hell of a scent!