On the way to an archaeological dig in Arce, Italian archaeologist Angelo takes Ruth, Shona, and the two kids on a route that includes “descending hairpin bends . . . and unmade roads,” and the children complain of feeling sick.
“Stop the car!” Dr. Ruth Galloway orders. She’s worried the kids might throw up in Angelo’s car.
“Nearly there,” Angelo says. “You know, kids, you can’t be sick if you sing . . . ” and he launches into a rendition of OLD MACDONALD HAD A FARM. Self can’t even. The archaeologist is encouraging two British kids to sing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” in a British novel.
This is almost as hilarious as the moment in the movie Spenser when Princess Di, wanting to expose her boys to the wider world, plays BARRY MANILOW at full blast on her car radio and encourages William and Harry to sing along. Then Princess Di takes them to a KFC, somewhere near the Elizabeth Tower. That’s culcha for you!
The children oblige Angelo with “a few minutes of animal noises.” Oh my goodness! Self, who hasn’t heard this song in aaaaages, is suddenly singing along with Angelo: “And an oink oink here and an oink oink there.” This is what you call “deep memory work.”