Thursday, 23 August 2012

I Went Round The Mediterranean In The Womb: 1. Dodgy Donkeys, Bouncy Buses

If you look at the reams of advice available on the internet, the pundits mostly agree that a baby in the womb can hear sounds at about the 23rd week of pregnancy. Some think that it is possible to influence the baby by reading certain rhymes, stories or singing songs,  as they can make associations with the rhythms and sounds in the outside world.

A light bulb went on inside my brain. That must explain a great deal about me. Wow. No wonder I have, as some of my friends and colleagues never fail to remind me, an eccentric and different view on life and the world.

I had a 'double light bulb moment', when I probably found the reason why I love internationalism of everything, from food to drink, from travel to transport and people in general. It was because my mother, in her mid-pregnancy went with my father on a long tour of the Mediterranean.

I was bounced around in the back of Italian, Greek and Turkish buses, such as the picture of my mother leaning out of the back of a bus in Kos.

I was rattled around in rickety old trains across the Corinth Canal.

I was heaved up many a gangplank onto an Aegean ferry.

And when there weren't any motorised forms of transport, there was nothing for it, but to be bounced over some rough terrain on a Greek donkey (or mule, I am not an expert at spotting the difference). This turned out to be donkey .....

..... after donkey ....

..... after yet more donkeys. I must have been jogged around so much that I must have been stretched. It was no wonder that I arrived into this world in the Westminster Hospital as a 10 lbs 4 oz healthy baby boy.

'He has a good voice,' she said 'showing me off to my father who was standing on the other side of the glass.'

My father grimaced.

'And just look at those feet,' she continued. 'I've never seen anything like them.' How far sighted she was, as by the time I turned 17, my shoes were already up to Size 15, necessitating a visit to the one shop in Britain, outside Northampton which sold anything over a Size 11 at that time. Times have got better of course with the internet and I can now visit the humiliaming websites such as 'elephant feet'.

I also give my mother's pre-natal Mediterranean tour for being responsible for the development of my over-large and sensitive hooter. I can smell any good and proper food a mile away. Only last week did I find a good Turkish in Bolsover and a Cretan in Lanchester. I have to thank my mother for giving me this invaluable homing instinct. She was the same.

Thank you, mother. 

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