We moved into our current house eight years ago, and every Sunday at 4:30 in the morning, I wake up (briefly, usually) to the smell of baking cookies. Our house is semi-detached, so I've always assumed this pleasant smell comes from the people adjoined to us. They keep different hours than we do, and it's not inexplicable that someone might be in the weekly habit of baking cookies at that (to my mind) God-forsaken hour.
This morning that sweet smell again pulled me from my sleep. I smiled and rolled over, ready to sink back into slumber, when it hit me: the tennants next door moved out two weeks ago. There's no-one there.
This odor has to originate from within the house; our windows are closed, and even if they weren't, there's no other place within sniffing range of our house that could produce the unmistakable smell of baking cookies. I'm told this house was one of four bakeries that serviced the community, back in the early 20th Century -- we have iron-work in our basement and shed left over from that period (and no, it doesn't smell like cookies). It's the strangest thing. The scent lingers right up until about 5:45 or so.
It's entirely possible, even likely, that there is simply a corner in my brain that, for whatever reason, has been tickled every Sunday morning at 4:30 for the last eight years. When I was a kid our family's Sunday morning tradition was to prop a few store-bought danishes into the oven and warm them up for breakfast -- melting icing sugar is not dissimilar to the smell of baking cookies. But I'm still mystified over why this should happen with such predictability. (The game's afoot!)