Unpacking my childhood books today brought with it that distinctive musty scent of age speckled pages; evoking a memory of a place I had all but forgotten.
In my godmother's house was a room where time stood as still and silent as the stopped clock slowly tarnishing on the marble mantle piece.
Tall windows, half shuttered and draped with damask, lent a cool air to the hottest of days; creating dust motes to dance in the muted beams of filtered sunlight that fell upon a worn turkish carpet.
The air was heavy with the weight of passing years; causing us to slow and become as shadows, creeping quietly under the watchful gaze of ancestral portraits.
This was 'granny's' drawing room; where the echo of a genteel past could be glimpsed in the silver frames of smiles long since forgotten, that stood, fine filmed with dust, upon an untuned piano.
Under domed glass were the delicate mouldings of baby hands and feet; slightly macabre, yet fascinating in equal measure; as were the stuffed birds forever fixed with wings spread and beaks open wide, to ornamental branch and leaf.
With cautious hands we would run our fingers along the beaded fringing of glass table lamps, and peek inside photo albums with creaking covers and musty pages; sepia filled with images of the long departed.
Finally, curiosity sated, we would soft step back down the passage way and out into the garden; seeking daylight and the warmth of the living once more.