"Observe any child or young creature in the exploration of its world and you will find curiosity at play. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that a sense of curiosity is nature's original school of education. Only those among us who are curious to know have something in the waiting to find.
I worry not about the day when my curiosity abandons me, because I know that when this happens, I'll be dead. I can never remember a time when I wasn't curious to find out this or to know that. Sometimes the object of my curiosity were serious things but mostly, they tended to be frivolous and silly.
Have you ever wondered why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin? Also, I have always been curious why toasters should include a setting so high that it burns the bread to a horrible smoky crisp if used. I have often wondered why 'abbreviated' is such a long word and was curious to learn that though we put a man on the moon in 1969, it still took until 1970 before realising that it would be a good idea to put wheels on travel luggage. And when women go to the loo on a night out, why do they always insist in going in posses? What's all that about? And finally, why sterialise the needle when giving a lethal injection on Death Row in America? Whenever I think opon things such as these, it naturally stirs my curiosity.
I will end this post on a more serious note pertaining to the curiosity of life itself. Most parents secretly worry about the day when their young offspring start to ask highly personal questions about the birds and the bees; the origin of life itself. As dad was never home and was always working overtime, it was usually my mum who I asked whatever I wanted to know things. I knew that she would always tell me. Let me say from the outset that there was simply nothing that I felt uncomfortable ever asking my mother about as we had no taboo areas of discussion, whereas my father would quickly close down any areas of potentially embarrassing inquiry.
As mum had given birth to seven children, when asked by her nine year old son 'How they came out' she supplied the same answer that Yorkshire folk have been telling their inquisitive young for the past three hundred years; 'The same way they got in!'
During my teenage years, dad often went to bed early to stock up on energy for tomorrow's hard day at work. Mum's day, on the other hand, would always extend into the early morning hours as she did the last minute ironing and darning etc for her husband and seven children. This twilight time was the hours when we most talked about all manner of things. I recall one night asking her, 'Mum, where was I started?' She naturally replied, 'Why do you want to know that, Billy?' I replied, 'Everyone of my mates know where they were born, everyone knows the date of their birth, but I bet none know where they it all started (were conceived). In fact, I bet hardly anyone does!'
My mother told me that it was close to the Metal Man in Tramore, in County Waterford, Southern Ireland.This prominent feature of Tramore Bay is a large cast-metal figure pointing seawards. It was erected in 1823 by Lloyds of London to warn seafarers away from dangerous shallow waters.
My mother told me that the Metal Man was a favourite meeting place of her and dad during their courtship days when they would see each other secretly on a weekend. Mum would travel ten miles out from Portlaw and meet dad there while he would cycle forty miles from Kilkenny to meet up. Irish fokelore says that anyone who hops around it in their stocking feet will give birth to a child the following year. So, it seems pretty safe to conclude that my mum did quite a bit of hopping out in Tramore.
I never go back home to Ireland without calling to see the Metal Man. After all, what can be more satisfactory than being where it all began 73 years ago. Unfortunately, the Metal Man cannot be closely accessed as it once could be. I think its to do with keeping down the Irish population." William Forde: July 20th, 2016.