Monday, 6 April 2015

Darrell Lea Flashback

This is a strange post. I can tell you that before I've even written it.

Did you ever have one of those weird moments when you smelled  something and it took you hurtling back to some place in the past? Well this one is like that, but it’s a double whammy.

A couple of weeks ago I was shopping. I must have been surrounded by Easter eggs or something because as I walked along I got this great whiff of confectionery and it smelt exactly like a Darrell Lea shop. OK, there was no Darrell Lea product around but I just got this really distinct sense of being inside a Darrell Lea shop.

But it doesn’t end there. Oh no. Barely two seconds later I was  flooded with memories of the week I stayed in a caravan in Woolgoolga with my Nanna (Dad’s mother) when I was 11 years old. All that from a whiff of chocolate.

So strictly speaking I’m not talking about Darrell Lea today. I’m talking about that week in Woolgoolga and trying to figure out why it all came flooding back after all these years.  

The Woolgoolga trip. I was in Grade 6, and had taken a week off school to join Nanna on her holiday. It rained most of the week so, apart from a few walks, we mainly hung out in the caravan like girlfriends, drinking tea, eating a few Scotch Finger Biscuits, reading and crocheting. But even though we spent a fair bit of time lolling around the caravan that week, it was quite well organised lolling, because Nanna was a great fan of routines.

During that week, Nanna and I took ourselves on an excursion to Coffs Harbour to do some shopping.  I decided to buy some gifts to take home for my family. Between us, Nanna and I selected for my father a Mills and Boon novel. It was called ‘Peppertree Bay’ or something like that. Oh, for the love of God, what were we thinking? My dad would sooner poke his own eyes out than read a Mills and Boon novel.

I’m getting very close to a breakthrough here. Whilst I don’t remember specifically what we bought for Mum or my brother, I know we bought a gift for one or both of them (or perhaps another inappropriate gift for Dad) at… you guessed it… Darrell Lea!

You see, we didn’t have a Darrell Lea shop in Grafton, so when venturing out of town it was not uncommon to seek out a jar of those tiny pillow-shaped boiled sweets, or some that special soft licorice, or a bit of Rocklea Road as a special treat for yourself or someone else. Actually Coconut Ice is coming to mind – maybe I bought that for Mum, or maybe I’m just fancying myself as a bit of a psychic now.

Anyway, the mystery is solved, and I wrapped myself up in that flashback of Woolgoolga for as long as it lasted. Have you ever had a strange flashback generated by a specific smell?


  1. ...and here I was thinking you were going to be writing about big floppy purple bows...

    Smell? Malt-o-milk bickies = Nana Pearce

  2. Ha ha, no floppy bows. And even though this has turned out to be my weirdest post yet, that Darrell Lea/Woolgoolga flashback is what prompted me to use food and drink for my A-Z challenge.

  3. Love it! Whenever I smell liquorice, (which fortunately isn't all that often, I do try to avoid it like the plague), I am instantly taken back to my childhood on the NSW Central Coast. My mother had a friend, with dementia, who occasionally sat with me after school - one day she repeatedly offered me a liquorice, (forgetting she had already offered me multiple pieces, and I was too polite to say no........stupid!!) until I was as sick as I could imagine. To this day, that smell haunts me and makes me heave......................thank you for the memories. x

    1. Oh, Rhonda. You poor thing. I think licorice has quite a high sodium content - perhaps that's why it made you sick. Such a distinct smell too!