Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Time travelling

Hidden in a dark corner of our kitchen was a time capsule disguised as a milk carton. We discovered it behind a cupboard a few weeks ago when we ripped out the old kitchen as part of our house renovation project. It took some dexterity, but we managed to fish out a photo of the house's previous owners with their first child, particulars about the house sale and some newspaper pages from November 2002. The capsule had been collecting dust for more than 10 years, waiting patiently to deliver up its cache to a citizen of the future.


Front page of The Telegraph on 3 November 2002
Remember Angus Deayton's fall from grace?
In the grand scheme of things, a decade is not a long stretch of time, and yet the front page of The Telegraph on November 3, 2002, spoke of a distant past. In personal terms, this was the era of my youth, pre-offspring, newly married and still wrapped up in my career. On the front page, Victoria Beckham had just escaped a foiled kidnap plot, while Angus Deayton, host of the news quiz Have I Got News for You, faced public disgrace.

More significantly, Saddam Hussein was still in power and - as The Telegraph reported on that day - he was allegedly instructing his security officials to bump off Iraqi opposition leaders in Britain, with the help of Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi. Strange to think that the last decade has been dominated by these two men and their different legacies. Efforts to quell their regimes have re-shaped the Middle East and altered the course of so many lives.

Our milk carton ran the gamut of human experience - its cargo included personal, public and geopolitical stories. But for all their prominence in 2002, at least two of those stories have become less important with time. As author M. L. Stedman writes in her novel, The Light Between Oceans:


"Years bleach away the sense of things until all that's left is a bone-white past, stripped of feeling and significance."

So we pass away and time kicks over the traces. On the face of it, it is a depressing thought, but there is also something liberating about our inconsequence. What most of us achieve (or don't achieve) during our little lives is largely irrelevant. It took a dusty old milk carton to remind me that I should worry less about future accomplishments and more about enjoying the moment in all its transience. 

We are planning to deposit a time capsule behind the cupboards in our new kitchen. Does anyone have any ideas as to what to include in the capsule? Let me know in the comments box.

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"I found A Sister for Margot thoroughly absorbing. The story had all the elements to keep me gripped: family saga over three generations; wartime background; strong characters; different locations and a mystery in the background that ties the story together." - Amazon review

I would welcome more reviews of my book on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com!