Sunday 4 October 2009

The Time Machine

My wife wandered into the lounge, calendar in hand.

“It says here you’re meeting Isaac Newton at 7.30!” she exclaimed.

I tried to remember if I’d invented a time machine recently and decided that, on available evidence, probably not. Though had I done so, the word “recently” would’ve ceased to have any real meaning. This left a combination of my handwriting and someone not wearing her specs as the main reasons for the imaginative interpretation of “ISIHAC, N’ton 7.30”.

That thought started me wondering, if we had the facility to travel in time, when and where would we go? I appreciate that we ARE travelling in time, but it’s a bit of a one way street with No Stopping and Stay In Lane signs. So what if the Temporal Highway Code was ripped up and thrown in the Celestial Bin?

By all accounts, Newton could be a crusty old git and had his fair share of fruit loop ideas. So, a man after my own heart, then, but perhaps not him.

Somewhat predictably, and if the oxygen didn’t get me first, I’d rather like to visit the Carboniferous period of 350 million years ago to see the early dragonflies with their 70cm wingspans. However, a modern human footprint in the fossil record would probably throw current scientific thinking into utter confusion. That and the neat row of rocks I’d arrange to spell the word “D-A-W-K-I-N-S”.

For a more subtle way of changing historic events, I would nip back to 1066 and impress upon Harold Godwinson the importance of maintaining a shield wall at all costs, despite evidence to the contrary. Who could resist the chance to be immortalised in the no-longer-called-Bayeux Tapestry wearing a red shirt with an iconic white chest band?

No, perhaps it would be a bad idea to sit me, or anyone, at the controls of a time machine. As a species we’re pretty good at messing up the now, so let’s try to limit the damage to our own life span and in that way inform the future.

Actually, whilst it didn’t affect the fabric of Space/Time in any meaningful way, the event in Northampton at 7.30 was a Best of… show with the I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue cast. The audience were certainly transported to another dimension for two hours and the world definitely seemed a jollier place come the final curtain. My sincere thanks go to Captain Sundial for a wonderful evening.

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