Driving back from Cheltenham today, the smell hit me before I realised what was coming. That unmistakeable scent of summer rain on hot earth. And as the first huge plips hit the windscreen, I fought the sensible, adult impulse to roll up the windows and instead allowed the side of my body to be drenched as the heavens opened in one of those thunderstorms that seems inevitable after a spell of sunny weather in England.
Of all the senses, smell seems to be the one that can most easily evoke a moment in time. Summer rain will always be a first floor flat in Sheffield, some twenty years ago, when the midcentury modern decor was yet to be re-branded and was still just a horribly, dated early 70s hangover. The hopelessly sticking window with its broken sash cord, wedged wide in the hope of catching any stray breeze. And then that unmistakeable scent.
Moving to sit in front of the open window and watch the rain splash onto the flaking paintwork and wash the layer of dust off the tree outside. There is no photo - I'm not even sure I had a camera then, but somehow the moment remains captured anyway, stored up to be released by the smell of this afternoon.