It’s something we save up for all year, and then can’t wait to complain about when we get back: yes, the great summer holiday season is upon us, and we’ll be flocking in our thousands to beach resorts around the world. Many of us, of course, prefer to keep things a bit less exotic, and essentially swap Scotland for somewhere quintessentially like home, just with a bit more sun – hence the popularity of places like Marbella, Benidorm and Fuenguerola: resorts where you can find a British pub, a cooked breakfast, and the Premier League on Sky TV. So why even go away when it seems like all we want to be is back at home? Well, it seems we always miss things we don’t have.
Supplies for Candles, the candle scents experts, surveyed 1,000 people to ask how long into a 2 week summer holiday abroad most people started missing their home – and, shockingly, on average, Scots started pining for their homeland after only 4.6 days! Never mind whether they were soaking up the sun’s rays on the Costa del Sol, or living it large in Ibiza – no, they wanted to be back in Scotland, where the weather is gloriously unpredictable. And regionally, the Northern Irish miss home the most – they’d be happy to go home after 3 days (while the English missed it the least – they only started thinking about home after 4.7 days).
Nostalgia has a funny effect on people. It’s the sensation of being drawn to a different place, in a different time. It’s the reason 80s music festivals like Rewind are so popular, and that 90s fashion still weasels its way into our high street stores. For many of us wage slaves, chained to our desks, nostalgia makes us think of summer holidays we spent as kids: with buckets and spades, perhaps in a tent, no doubt eating croissants, and getting a bit of sunburn.
To find out more about our relationship with nostalgia, and scent, Supplies for Candles then asked which smells Scottish people loved the most from home, and the fragrance which came out on top – adored by over a third of the nation (43%) was enticing smell of baking bread you get wafting throughout supermarkets, while the smell of curry came second. And no matter how much you may love fish n chips, the aroma of a chip shop or a greasy spoon came last.
There’s nothing, however, like the unique smells of summer – vastly different from the scent of autumn, say, with its crisp leaves and smoky bonfires, or winter, with its slush and pine trees. And Scotland’s favourite summer smell (57%) is that of that traditional pastime, the great British BBQ – meats grilling over glowing coal embers, filling the air with their exotic, primitive yet alluring scent. This was followed by freshly cut grass; it appears Scots love sniffing the aroma of a newly mown lawn, with its heady, ‘green’ scent.
Finally, they asked what people’s favourite bad smell is – their olfactory guilty pleasure, if you will. And believe it or not (and you might even have to admit this to yourself), the one that came out on top is the heady scent of petrol; 43% of Scots admit to enjoying breathing in a little more deeply every time they top up the tank.
‘Scent is almost more powerful than photographs when it comes to evoking and triggering memories,’ says Nick Story from Supplies For Candles. ‘It’s no surprise that, universally, we all enjoy smells like freshly cut grass, or barbecues. Our advice is to enjoy the summer, with all its many scents!’