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  • Note: Alex' original prompt was ten minutes of "I remember": I wrote these over the space of about 40 minutes, with interruptions

    I remember the scent of Yardley's English lavender that permeated everything my grandmother kept in a drawer to send me as surprise gifts from England to a child in Canada.

    I remember sheets of homework assignments, still warm, and the astringent, unmistakeable smell of Gestetner fluid.

    I remember my dachshund puppy's first irregular and awkward descent of the stairs.

    I remember my first taste of bread fresh from the oven, so astonishingly different from bread in a bag.

    I remember a boy's miraculously soft and gentle lips.

    I remember diamond patterns on a curtain. This is perhaps officially my first ever memory.

    I remember someone who might have been my sister (who died soon after) teaching me how to use a toilet.

    I remember fresh crab, dripping with butter, picked apart and eaten with fingers on a train in China, travelling between Beidaihe and Tianjin.

    I remember walking across the courtyard of Osborne House school on the Isle of Wight, struggling against a strong wind, and my hat blowing off. A teacher and some classmates were watching and laughing from a window. (I was four).

    I remember the moment one day on a bus when the letters overhead suddenly made sense and I learned to read.

    I remember going to a movie for the first time. It was Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and I was entranced by the movement and colours though had no clue what was going on.

    I remember my mother reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe out loud to me in the tiny bedroom of my Great Aunt's cabin at Sproat Lake, when we first arrived in Canada. I cried so much when Aslan was killed that she had to skip ahead and reassure me that everything was going to be ok.

    I remember the peonies in my Great Aunt's garden, huge and fragrant, their petals dropping on me as I lay under them, and the astonishingly blue sky behind them.

    I remember the great shadowy shape of basking sharks... somewhere ... in England. Standing on a cliff with my mum and dad watching them moving slowly below.

    I remember the papery, almost transparent, supremely delicate skin on the back of my mother's hands, holding them as she died.
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