It was often said that my house was a bit of a Tardus.
Whilst it wasn’t that exciting it does have its secrets.
In the centre of the house is an old brick chimney. It’s the sort of thing you find in any number of old houses. Its stands still even though its practical uses are long since gone.
What only a few know, and now that includes you, is that the chimney is a portal into another world.
You can imagine my surprise when my father introduced me to the time portal. And it is a time portal capable of taking you forwards or backwards in time.
My father never knew why it was in our house but it is and we are its caretakers. He always used that term as if to suggest that at some time in the future the rightful owner would turn up and take possession.
To look at it you could be mistaken in thinking it is nothing more than an old fireplace. But if you say eight and two thirds stuff happens.
Why eight and two thirds you ask? I asked my father that question and he didn’t know only that his father had told him to say it. I think it has something to do with our house being oddly numbered 8/23. Our house sits between 6 and 10 Port Street and no one has been ever been able to explain the numbering.
Unlike railway stations when other numbers are uttered our number opens the chimney to a veritable ocean of possibility.
The first time my father took me through the portal my eyes beheld the boat.
It was tied up to an old jetty beside a river that stretched away to the left and right. My first thought was the boat on the River Styx. It had that feel about it.
It was not a boat to engender confidence as it was old and to me in serious need of some maintenance.
To my father it represented opportunity and over the next few years he took me on many adventures back in time as he used to say the future will happen when its good and ready.
I met my grandparents, observed their day to day, watched the siege at Glenrowan*, watched my own childhood all over again, which was both scary and embarrassing.
For observing was all you could do, the boat would take you back in time and you would sit and watch, never interact as that would put far too much pressure on the components of time and no one wanted to upset time, the past was the past and we could observe it but never alter it.
That was my father’s great fear about venturing into the future, the temptation to change something that may well alter the time continuum. So he never went there and if he did he never told me.
But I am curious, after all who isn’t?
Tomorrow I shall go through the portal and sit once again in the boat. Only this time I’ll ask it to go forward, only twenty years that could be scary enough with the way technology is progressing now.
I wonder if my place in the world will still be as it is today.
With fingers crossed I step forward: ‘ Eight and two thirds.’