I could smell the freshly mown grass - Woman's Realm, 2000



Sarah Gault, 53, is a gardener. She lives in Heathfield, East Sussex, and has three grown up sons.

My family have a history, bronchial type Illnesses and, although my father' put his loss of taste down to a bad case of oyster poisoning, we probably have a hereditary vulnerability in this area. I developed anosmia (loss or impairment of sense of smell) about 13 years ago. I just started to notice

, as when you have a cold, that everything smelt the same, and that was it. I had good and bad days, but on the whole I couldn't smell much, and because your sense of smell works with your tastebuds to create the range of flavours that the average person enjoys, I had a very limited ability to taste.

As a gardener, its particularly awful, and it’s not something that people understand. If someone asked me to smell a flower, I'd explain my condition, and they'd say, 'You can't smell? Poor you’, and a minute later, it's forgotten.

I know it's nowhere near as serious as being blind or deaf, but it's very frustrating. Eating is a chore. I used to be a very keen cook, but I virtually gave it up. It's also dangerous - you can't smell petrol, gas, things burning –I burnt countless meals.

After reading a newspaper article written by a fellow sufferer who had tried holistic, medicine with some success, I went to the Wimbledon Clinic of Natural Medicine. I was given treatment using herbs and, in April 1998, my sense of smell came back very suddenly. I had a bad cold and, when that cleared, I could smell again. I thought I was just, having a very good day, but it was the same the next day, and the day after.

I could smell all the garden fragrances that I love so much: freshly mown grass, lilies and honeysuckle. It was also wonderful to, go out to dinner again, My ability to smell varies throughout the day, but at least I don't just eat hot curries - the only thing I could taste back then!

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