Gatwick airport tastes like a gorgeous slab of Milky Bar chocolate, and Luton tastes like Kia Ora.
Last night on Twitter Julie McDowell started tasting people's names. Thousands of people wrote in to ask what their names tasted like, and the answers were fascinating. So we asked her to do all the main UK airports.
How do you taste a name?
Julie explains: "I have synesthesia which means I can "taste" words...". An article in the Independent goes into a bit more detail: "Synaesthesia is a neurological trait or condition that results in a joining or merging of senses that arent normally connected. The stimulation of one sense causes an involuntary reaction in one or more of the other senses. For example, someone with synaesthesia may hear colour or see sound."
"Michael" tasted of salt and vinegar Ringos. The name "Jesus" evokes a Malteaser. And "Feargal" was "a weird mix of coconut and a glossy playing card".
So we had to ask about airports.
Julie was kind enough to send us 25 UK airports and their associated tastes. Here we go...
- ABERDEEN "is a grey name which can be scraped and nibbled. I feel I can "scrape" at the name with my teeth to reveal a very tangy flavour beneath the grey surface."
- GEORGE BEST (Belfast City) - "George is a fat and squashy ball of wool, and Best is a very soapy, sudsy, clean name."
- BIRMINGHAM - "tastes like smoky bacon crisps, and leaves a very burnt, smoky residue in my mouth. Not my favourite word!"
- BRISTOL - "this is a very jingly jangly name. It provokes the sensation of wearing lots of clacking, jingling bangles on my wrist."
- CARDIFF - "this is a no-nonsense name. Cardiff tastes like very plain white cardboard, and provokes the feeling of rifling through a stack of birthday cards."
- ROBIN HOOD (Doncaster Sheffield) - "Robin is one of my favourites. It tastes like a little garden gnome's head, and if you bite into the head you find it is filled with strawberry fondant. Hood is "overtaken" by the fact it makes me think of a hood, so it gives the feeling of pulling a hood over my head."
- DURHAM TEES VALLEY - "This is a very rich and tasty name. Durham is a gorgeous beef stew, and Tees, maybe quite predictably, is a hot mug of sweet tea. Valley gives the sensation of bedding down on a soft surface."
- EAST MIDLANDS - "East is very sweet: it tastes like the fondant inside a Creme Egg, and Midlands produces an image of misty clouds at dawn, and it brings a soft creamy taste with it."
- EDINBURGH - "tastes like soft runny caramel. Specifically it is the soft caramel in the Roses box of chocolates."
- EXETER - "gives me the strange sensation that I am gnawing on plastic and rubber."
- GATWICK - "tastes gorgeous. It is a thick slab of Milky Bar chocolate."
- GLASGOW - "makes me reach for my glasses. It makes me feel that a lens has come loose in my glasses, and I worry it's going to fall out."
- HEATHROW - "I need to split the word into Heath and Row. Heath tastes like damp greenery, and Row tastes like Cadbury's Rolos but they are sadly past their sell-by date and starting to acquire an ugly white bloom on the chocolate."
- HUMBERSIDE - "This is a harsh name. It tastes like the slightest hint of caramel but, before you can savour it, rough hands grab you and hustle you away."
- LEEDS BRADFORD - "Leeds feels like the jingling of lots of silver medallion and necklaces, and Bradford tastes like leather straps."
- JOHN LENNON (Liverpool) - "John is a sturdy, leathery button on an old man's cardigan, and Lennon is quite similar to Bradford in that it tastes like leather straps, though these are much thinner."
- LONDON CITY - "London smells and sounds like Church. It is the smell of incense and the sound of the bell altar boys ring during the Catholic Mass. City tastes like Rich Tea biscuits."
- LUTON - "This tastes like Kia-Ora orange juice but it has been heavily watered-down."
- MANCHESTER - "This is a very white name. I can taste rice and cream, but then a scratchy sensation comes in at the end which detracts from the soothing creaminess."
- NEWCASTLE - "makes me feel I have heart burn and makes me want to reach for a glass of Alka Seltzer."
- NORWICH - "tastes like a witch's black hat, and when I bite into the hat I see it's made of spicy sausage."
- SOUTHAMPTON - "this is a very tasty name. It's the floury casing of a Scotch Pie. Makes me want to bite into it so I can get to the filling."
- SOUTHEND - "This name provokes the feeling of having swallowed too much water in the bath or swimming pool. Slightly overwhelming."
- STANSTED - "I feel I need to break this into two syllables. Stan is a very flat and dusty pair of shoes, and Sted is a very metallic taste."
We won't encourage everyone to pile on to Twitter and ask Julie for the taste of their own name - she's already done several thousand so your own is probably already there. And anyway, you might get a surprise - at the end of our correspondence I asked Julie to do my name and got back "a mouthful of furniture polish".
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