In yesterday's Times, Robert Crampton mentioned taking his son on a tandem and how it made him realise that you need a degree of trust regarding the person on the back! Robert comes from Hull originally and the two things together struck a chord with me as I remembered riding through Hull, aged 17, on the back of a tandem with my feet off the pedals and my eyes closed as I was scared of the traffic.
So I began thinking about what sparks of that "deja vu" moment. I think all of our senses keep us in touch with the past. Often a sight, or a smell, or a taste - or as above - even reading something, one is instantly transported back to the past.
Apples are evocative for me. I pick up an apple in the supermarket, walk past apples on a fruit stall, stew a few windfalls - I am instantly back in The Dukeries in Nottinghamshire, at my Aunt Kate's, where boxes of keepers were laid out in the attic every Autumn. We would sneak up the stairs and pinch an apple (usually an Ellison's Orange Pippin, the sweetest)
The first primrose or lesser celandine I see in Spring under a hedgerow bank takes me straight back to my Lincolnshire childhood and walking in our local lane, Allaballa. My father and I would walk looking for the first sign of Spring. The lane has long given way to houses (the best reason I know for never going back to where one spent one's childhood) but one small flower brings it back to me in glorious technicolour.
I always remember the first time i heard Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis". The Kyrie opens with a crashing burst of "Kyrie" from the full orchestra and choir - both at full volume - then fades away to leave one single voice holding on the note. Whenever I hear it I am back on the lawn at Bath University (where I went for Summer school on an Open University course) with a glass of white wine in my hand.
Sometimes I buy a packet of Sherbet in a sweetshop, so that I can open it and experience again the fizz as the sherbet hits the tongue. Then I am back in Mrs Applewhite's shop in her front room, handing over a penny for a sucker and dab.
We (well, I) marvel at the complexity of the computer - its ability, at our command, to bring up information; in fact IT is now a very important subject in the curriculum of our schools. But I hope we never forget that our brains got there first.
I wonder what deja vu experiences readers of my blog have encountered. I would love to know.