A Christmas Timeslip
by Tom Slemen

I’ve written about timeslips before in my books and on this site, and many of these local slippages of time - in which people inadvertently find themselves stepping into the past or future – have occurred on Bold Street. Here’s an account of a journey back to a Victorian Christmas that took place in 1965. In August of that year, a trainee doctor named Roger, his girlfriend Val, and two veterinary student friends, Harry and Craig, were travelling along Berry Street in Roger’s mini, when the vehicle began to shake – as if it was passing over cobblestones. The road, however, looked normal, so Roger thought there was something wrong with the Mini’s suspension. He turned left into Bold Street and he and his passengers were stunned to see it was snowing – in the middle of summer. Then Val noticed that all of the shops and the people looked out of date. Green garlands gemmed with red flowers hung in bow windows with bull’s eye panes, men in top hats and black hammer coat tails strutted along with walking canes, and the women all wore long dark coats and ankle-length dresses. At one point the time-displaced Mini was heading straight for a horse-drawn hansom cab, which just veered out the way in time, and the driver hit the vehicle with his whip as the hansom trundled past. Backseat passenger Harry thought Bold Street had been ‘done up’ for some Victorian film that was being shot – he simply couldn’t take in and rationalise what was taking place. Roger pulled over at the junction of Bold Street and Hanover Street, wound down his window, and attempted to ask one of the ‘extras’ what was being filmed, but events took a sinister turn. Val saw a bedraggled barefooted boy of about 9 or 10 years of age standing in the snow at the kerbside, gazing at the car in awe. The boy suddenly turned to his right, and the sound of galloping could be heard. In the rear view mirror, Roger could see two mounted policemen tearing down Bold Street on their steeds. He stalled the car, then managed to start it and sped down Hanover Street with the antiquated but terrifying Victorian policemen in pursuit. The street was crowded with carts, pedestrians, men pushing barrows, and the road surface was slippery and cobbled, unlike Bold Street, which had been thick with snow. Val screamed for Roger to get away, and all of a sudden, the surroundings outside returned to normal, sunshine replaced snow, and Val was relieved to spot a modern-day Cousins cake shop.

Copyright Tom Slemen 2010. All rights reserved