Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Package to the Future

We are redoing the floors in our house, replacing the carpet with new floor boards. G and his dad found a few pages of newspaper under the boards in the living room dated May 31, 1974. It's from the Maidenhead Advertiser, the local once a week paper. The pages are quite interesting. Let me quote you one of the ads of a house for sale: 

"COOKHAM DEAN: This charming semi-detached cottage is situated on high ground ina semi rual area, overlooking orchards. Complete renovation has been carried out, including a new kitchen and a new bathroom. Two bedrooms, bathroom, lounge, dining room, modern fully fitted kitchen, ample space for a car, large gardens. Central heating. £15,000." Just so you know, a house described like that would now go for around £320,000 pounds today! 

The ads for help wanted are good too. They advertise specifically by gender if they want, even listing a different salary, depending on whether you are male or female. An audio typist (female) with Black & Decker would have earned £26.34 per week. Part-time help at Marks and Spencer earned 52 pence an hour. They did have the benefit of a 3-course lunch for only 5p at least, amongst other things.

We thought it was kind of nifty to find these things, so we decided to make up a time capsule to put under the floor before we lay the new boards. I was pretty keen and eager with this and if we had had more time or thought of it earlier, I would have gotten all high-tech with the container and found lots of fun stuff to put into it. But the boards can't wait and we didn't think of it earlier, so what we have will have to do. Here's the letter I put into it, minus some personal details:

"April 28, 2009

 Dear Finder,

 I am writing to you from the past. How far in your past I can’t say, but past it definitely is. We are laying new floorboards in our house (address) and after finding bits of the past under the old boards, thought it would be a fun idea to leave some more history for others to find. I don’t know if it will be us to find it in 4 years, or some total others to find it 40 years. I just hope you enjoy the information and things we’ve provided for you to get a glimpse into our lives and the world of 2009.

 We are a 3, soon to be 4 person family. My name is A. I’m 37 years old and was born in Canada. My husband’s name is G. He’s 30 and was born in Australia. We met and married in Munich Germany when we were both living there and moved to the UK in October 2006. Our daughter is Lena and she is 2 years old. We have another child due at the end of July and I feel a bit sad that I can’t include any information about him (we were told it’s a boy after having my 20 week ultrasound scan). But the floors can’t wait until then to be finished.

A bit about what is happening in the world today. The main story of today is the start of a scare about swine flu. Over 100 people in Mexico City have died so far and cases have been confirmed in the U.S.A., Canada, the U.K., Israel and New Zealand, among others. So far, no one outside of Mexico has died of the flu, but the World Health Organisation has raised its pandemic threat level from 3 (where it has been for ages due to possible risk of bird flu for the past few years) to 4. The max is 6, which is global pandemic. I’m not worried yet, but I did pick up a few extra groceries and disinfecting hand gel today, just in case. When people in places other than Mexico start to die, then I will start to worry. The really potentially scary thing about this flu is that people from ages 20-50 have been the ones who have died, not the very young or old. That’s the age group who died in the 1918 pandemic, so it’s something I will be paying attention to for the next week or so.

Our hobbies right now include gardening, cricket, music and cooking. We love living in Cookham, as we find it is a peaceful village, quite different from the hustle and bustle of London. We often go for walks along the river, or up the hill to the pub, The Jolly Farmer, where we enjoy a pint or two and then head home.

I’ve included an inventory list on another piece of paper to help you identify some of the things in this time capsule. Please try and contact us when you find this, we would love to hear from you. Here are our contact details at the moment.

email addresses: a@gmail.com, g@gmail.com, l@gmail.com (no, Lena doesn’t write emails at the young age of 2, but depending on when this capsule is found, she might be a better contact for the future)

website: http://cloneattack.blogspot.com

I hope that’s enough to find us. Enjoy this little slice of history and good luck with your lives and future."

Included with the letter was the inventory list, a current picture of the 3 of us, the grocery order list from Tescos that was delivered today, the first few pages of The Daily Mail and a central bit about St. George’s Day, just past. (We aren’t regular readers of The Daily Mail, which is generally considered to be fairly right in politics and conservative in beliefs. More they had the best freebie giveaway out of the papers on the weekend. It has some information on the swine flu and some current sports news.) A brochure for Rebellion Beer Co. Our local microbrewery just across the river in Marlow Bottom. Some pages again from the current issue of The Maidenhead Advertiser, including the news from the Cookhams, house prices and some help wanted ads. And finally some coins. Some Aussie and Canadian ones since we are, and some British and Euro coins. We figure there's a good chance one of the last two won't exist anymore at some time in the future, so it could be worth something. 

It all got put into a box that arrived today in the mail from Munich (thanks for returning the books Inessa, you are far more efficient than I ever will be), then wrapped it in plastic and tucked it under the boards. Tomorrow it will be nailed in and within the next few days, sealed off until an unknown time in the future. Here's a picture of it just before it got put under the old boards. 

I'm actually pretty excited about this, and hope that it is eventually found and that we are all still around for the future finders to locate us. I'm in a good place in my life right now and to get a reminder of it at some point in the future is something to look forward to. 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Buried Treasure!

Today was rather exciting, as we found buried treasure in my garden! My father-in-law was helping me dig over the allotment and he found an old coin. The date on the coin is 1735, which makes it really old in my colonial eyes. I cleaned it up a bit to have a better look at it and as much as we can tell, it's not a British coin. Here's a couple of pictures of both sides.
You can see the date at the bottom of the coin, 1735. Above it looks like three letters, Η Γ Α. Above that looks like it's less clear, but looks like a fancy A, with the middle cross bar extending past the angled sides, followed by possibly an F. 

This side is far more difficult to decipher. We think the bit to the left of the corrosion at the top might be a bird head and neck, with a wing on the right side of it. But it might not be, it might be a scroll, it might be anything. This picture is actually pretty good, you aren't missing anything in the photo that we can see in person. 

So if anyone out there has ideas of what this coin might be, or where to research it more, please leave a comment! 

EDIT: Through the power of the internet and my supergoogling friend, Babs, we have found that the coin is a Russian Denga. Not worth a fortune, but an interesting find. What is even more interesting is to ponder how it ended up in an allotment plot in Cookham???