I don’t know where the smell came from, or whether it was even real, but there it was—the unmistakable smell of our house when we moved into it eleven years ago.
More than one previous owner ignored maintenance on the house. Today, I can’t believe we were so desperate to have bought it. The owners before us allowed the roof to leak, the toilet to leak, the piles and weatherboards to rot. They covered the smell of rotting carpets with air fresheners and sweet-smelling flowers.
The first thing we did, even before moving in, was to remove the carpets and air fresheners. Then I attacked the highly perfumed (and disgusting to my nose) flowering shrubs by the door.
We quickly improved the smell of the house (and fixed all those leaks and rotted bits), but it made a strong impression on me. On chilly winter mornings like the day we moved in, I can still smell those awful flowers.