The end of summer hangs in the air. Streams of heavily-laden cars are heading north and the narrow streets seem to breathe a sigh of relief. On Radio Nostalgie, wistful growlers sing songs of love left at the beach and memories of balmy nights that will have to last the winter.
As we too pack up to leave, I've picked some quinces from the garden and placed them in a bowl. The quince is a brutish-looking fruit: a cross between a hard, knobby pear and a crab apple with a covering of soft fur, a neanderthal in the fruit world. But its fragrance is renowned; the skin of fresh quince is said to scent rooms for weeks with a perfume of milky coconut and pear, guava and musk and violet. Floral tones are there too, as is fitting for a fruit that is related to the rose.
I have tried before, in a half-hearted way, by placing one fruit on a stone mantlepiece. But we stayed away too long that time, and all we came back to were browning, mouldy remains. For the best results, apparently, two to three quinces should be placed in a bowl. That's all there is to it. I'll let you know whether we find ourselves opening the door on our return to a lushly-perfumed hall.