This month I am taking part in a 30 day photo challenge. Each day has a theme and some have proved to be lots of fun but others are indeed a 'challenge'! On Friday the theme was 'childhood memory' and, as I noted when I posted my pictures, my life here in Copenhagen is so far removed from my childhood in Middlesbrough, I struggled to find any reminders of my early years.
In the end, I had to 'create' my memories - I bought figs to make a salad and was reminded of fig trees that grew in the garden of a summer house in Egypt where we stayed as children. The butterfly cakes that I baked for friends who came to lunch on Friday were me retracing my mother's footsteps when she had baked the same cakes for many a children's party or school cake sale. Food often does take us to places and stir up memories buried deep in our past. When I was young my father would make an Egyptian dish called 'ful' made from slow cooked beans and eaten with pita bread - the smell of the same dish when I found it in a London humus bar many years later transported me straight back to my childhood. Often though these are the memories that we seek out and the flashback can sometimes feel 'staged'. More striking are the memories that take us by surprise and catch us unaware - this is what happened to me last weekend.
On Saturday I went to a school loppemarked (a 'flea market') and as this is a great place to pick up children's books in English at bargain prices, I found myself rummaging through boxes of once loved story books. My heart stopped when I stumbled upon Richard Scarry's Best Storybook Ever (emphasis added!).
In the middle of the school car park as I leafed through the pages of this beautiful story treasury, the world around me stopped and for a couple of minutes I was a little girl again lost in the world of those familiar words and drawings. I recognised each page and the fondness of these early reading memories has stayed with me for days. Some of the humour that had passed me by as a child made my grown up self chuckle, for example, the story of 'Couscous the Algerian detective'!!