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May 2002
Page 10

Time Slips
by Derek E.

I read the "Time Travelers" article and remembered the following: 

My dad was a taxi driver in Glasgow, Scotland, when I was a kid. Taxi drivers always have stories about famous people they had in the cab or crazy hires they got or great ones they just missed - and he had the lot of them. He also had one that was a bit more unusual. One day in, I suppose, the late 1960s, he was driving in the north of the city along Maryhill Road near Queen's Cross, one of the older parts of town and once its own separate community outside the city. One minute it was "now" - cars, buses, modern clothes, tarmac roads etc. - and the next he was in some earlier time. It was certainly pre-Victorian given the clothes he described people wearing, horses, rough road, lower buildings, people in rough clothes and bonnets etc. It lasted as long as it took him to be aware of it and then it vanished and he was back in "now."

The only thing I can think of that happened to me that was in any way similar was about 20 years ago, when my then wife and I were on a driving holiday in the North York Moors in England - you'd know it as American Werewolf in London country. We went to a tiny coastal village called Staithes, which had a steep winding and narrowing road down to the harbour, with the entrance to the houses and narrow footway at a higher level, say three or four feet. We parked at the top of the village - hamlet really - where the tourist buses and cars had to stop and made our way down on foot. What I remember is a brilliantly sunny day with lots of other people around, but as we made our way down, it just suddenly seemed as if no one else were there but my wife and me. An old woman appeared on the footway opposite us. It became cooler and duller. She asked, in what seemed to me an old-fashioned and very polite way (but may just have been the local accent and dialect), what year it was. Now lots of old people get confused and it could have been that, but what I remember vividly is her black clothes - handmade, rough and with hand-sewn buttons - really big compared with modern ones. Her shoes were very old fashioned with much higher and chunkier heels than you'd see an older person wearing nowadays. In the time it took me to turn to my wife and say, "Did you see that?" she was gone. The sun was back and so were all the people. She had, however, seen the same old woman and felt the same chill. 

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