The Andover Estate is situated where Hornsey Road and Seven Sisters Road meet. I lived there when I was seven years old. I attended Montem Primary School on Hornsey Road next to “Hornsey Swimming Pool and Laundry” with the illuminated figure of a diving woman, which I remember vividly.
On this sunny afternoon the estate looked lovely. The red-brick buildings are small and the estate is laid out in cul-de-sacs and little clusters of flats/maisonettes/terraces called “walks”, with plenty of small playgrounds, trees and little squares. It was light, quiet, clean and well cared for – indeed, one bloc, or island of flats, was in the process of being renovated. Some kids were playing on the enclosed football pitch on which I once played, some cars were being fixed in the cul-de-sacs, some dog-walking (bull terriers), a little corner shop….
I went up to the raised walkway on which our flat was located. As I went past my flat I was struck, out of the blue, by an exact and unique odour from over 30 years ago. I always thought it was cat piss. Today I thought it might be old cooking oil. But that’s not relevant here. The thing is, I only smelt that smell as I walked past my flat – not along the rest of the walk. Odour arouses memory; but can memory arouse odour? I wondered.
On my way home, I noticed a new illuminated sign above the swimming pool. It read: I AM THE CREATION OF YOUR IMAGINATION.