May 2013

May 31, 2013, by , Posted in Personal Weblog,

My column published in the Bristol Post May 25

Under the apple tree in the garden is a time capsule “planted” when we moved in to our house nearly nine years ago.

The children were nine and five and excitedly thought of things to put in the empty fizzy drink bottle which people might find fascinating in years to come.

They rounded up pennies, newspapers including an edition of this one, and wrote letters, found photographs and other trinkets.

The apple tree is in blossom as I write and getting stronger every year; each 12 months brings more fruit although not yet enough to bake a pie.

And there’s a part of me which would like to dig up the time capsule and read those letters written in their childhood handwriting; particularly as the eldest has just left school.

At 18 she is an adult and aside from returning for A-levels, schooldays are no more yet no matter how clichéd it sounds I can’t quite believe where those 18 years have gone.

The capsule came to mind as our neighbour was renovating and found an old paper under the floorboards; I say old but in actual fact it was from the early 1980s but proved an education for her children who are younger than mine.

Television channels were limited to four and dedicated children’s television was nothing like it is today.

I remember telling my girls how when I was their age we didn’t have videos let alone mobile phones and the plethora of gadgets; the response or my youngest: “Just how old are you?”

Not that old really but certainly from a time before technology exploded into our lives.

Which got me thinking again. This week sees the 150th Royal Bath and West Show which started its life in 1852 when Queen Victoria was on the throne.

Just how different is it today from when our Victorian forefathers started the event and took it on tour including to Bristol?

The components are the same – the latest machinery, the best livestock, innovative ways of farming, showcasing products and fulfilling a mission to educate.

But just like the technology when I was a child has changed, the advancement in what is on show has also changed but fundamentally it remains as it began a showcase and a family day out with traditional entertainment.

I wonder whether our capsule will stay buried for 150 years and just what will our descendants make of the trinkets my girls thought of as treasures or a common part of their life in 2004 including, quite bizarrely, hairbands.

Will they think they are old fashioned or will they think they are useful? Perhaps by the time it is found technology will be so far advanced they won’t even know what a photograph is. And as I muse about this aloud, daughter number two at the age of 14 pipes up: “It all comes down to four simple words….you will never know.”

And, of course, she’s right.