There is raw onion inside a black plastic binliner, inside our neighbour's bin. I can smell it in the hallway, wafting out through their letterbox. An unmarked van drove past me today with a load of sanitary bins. I knew this from across the street.
The new J-Lo perfume smells remarkably like Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion and Diesel Feminine like Pina Colada. A top note of Bergamot is guaranteed to seduce me. Tuberose is guaranteed to make me heave just a little.
New books and magazines must first be smelt; then examined otherwise.
When a childhood friend and I were playing one day, in the first floor bedroom of her house, I suddely stood up in alarm and announced: "Something is burning."
She said: "I can't smell anything. Don't be stupid."
We were under 10 years old and had been left alone to play for a while. We shouldn't have been; it wasn't right, but that's what the situation was. Her mother had popped to the shops.
Her mother had popped to the shops and left a small pot of sauce on the gas stove. It had caught fire, set alight to its surroundings and was now reaching for the kitchen ceiling like a long, fiery tongue.
If I hadn't had such a sensitive nose - to have smelled burning long before the fire got bad - we would have been trapped in that first floor bedroom, all alone.
As it was, we made it to the bottom of the stairs and ran out, screaming for help from our neighbours.
A few years later, it was my nose that alerted a fire brigade to a burning kiosk outside the Helsinki railway station. Nobody else had noticed anything out of the ordinary, but I smelled burning plastic before there was visible smoke, much less fire.
I once approached a perfect stranger and asked her if she knew she was pregnant. She didn't, but she was. I was so convinced that I bought her a test out of my own money and she did it in a public toilet.
It may not come as a surprise, that one of my favourite subjects at school was chemistry and that when my college course turned to cosmetic chemistry I realised that I'd have found an entire semester full of nothing but, absolutely fascinating.
A couple of years after college, I became the training manager for a cosmetics and fragrance distributor. When perfumers from some of our big-brand "houses" came to visit and brought a miniature perfume organ with them, I was enthralled.