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James Wannerton's Synaesthesia Gives All London Underground Stations A 'Taste'

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Jam roly-poly, spam fritters, chewing gum and sausage meat: These are just some of the taste sensations James Wannerton experiences as he hurtles through the London Underground.

But he's not guzzling his dinner on the train - rather these are the flavours he has come to associate with various stations on the network - thanks to a neurological condition called synaesthesia.

Individuals with synaesthesia (proudly known as synaesthetes), make up at least one per cent of the population, the British Medical Journal writes, describing it as a "fusion of different sensory perceptions."

tasty tube map magnify

James Wannerton's 'Tastes of London' map is a 49 year labour of love

Not limited to taste, it can manifest in sound and touch too; "The feel of sandpaper might evoke an F sharp, a symphony might be experienced in blues and golds, or the concept of February might be experienced above the right shoulder."

For Wannerton, getting from A to B can be a mouth-watering task, but it's not all tasty travelling for the 54-year-old systems analyst from Blackpool.

Some stations are distinctly unpalatable - Mile End tastes of fingernails while Bethnal Green is saddled with boiled cabbage. (What does your Tube station taste like? HuffPost UK's stop tastes of 'raw carrot')

The "taste map" of the Tube is a labour of love that has taken in numerous trips to the capital over the course of 49 years, the Telegraph revealed.

Wannerton told the newspaper: "It is incredibly consistent. These tastes and textures never change. All I did was traverse the underground lines. It was very natural and involuntary; when the taste popped up I made a note of it."

tastes of london

Synaesthete Wannerton has visited every Tube, DLR and overground stop on the network

Wannerton who is the president of the UK Synaesthesia Association, describes his experience of the condition on his website.

He writes: "I get these tastes whenever I verbalise a written word or hear a spoken on - even in my dreams. I get taste after taste after taste, one after another.

"It could, if I let it, take over completely, causing a sort of sensory overload or slowdown. A little like I've been told a proper drug trip is to experience."

Wannerton may have visited every Tube, DLR and overground stop on the network, but the taste tests don't stop there.

He adds: "I live in a house that tastes of mashed potato in a fruit gum town. My next door neighbours are a mix of yoghurt, jelly beans and a subtle hint of a waxy substance."

As with the tube map, real life can taste bad too at times, with Wannerton revealing: "I have a friend whose wife tastes of vomit - I've never told them."

And: "If you are called Virginia, Denise, Donna, Helen or Christine, my brain unfortunately places you at a disadvantage. Sorry. I can't help it."

So there you have it.

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