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Dos and don’ts for time-travellers

The essential list for travelling in time, just like Tilly!

Tilly and the Time Machine by Adrian Edmondson blasts into bookshops in May. If you’re planning a spot of time travel, then Adrian's extremely useful list below is essential reading!


1. Always take a spare pair of pants and a toilet roll. You can never be sure about how the lavatories will be in ancient times. I know that in roman times the toilets were all in the same room, with no cubicle walls dividing them! It might be wise to take a small tent and a shovel.

2. Leave a note to say where you’ve gone and how long you expect to be. Obviously your mum probably won’t be able to work a time machine as well as you, but the thing parents hate most is ‘not knowing’. As long as they know you’ve gone on a Viking raid of York, or a trip round Cape Horn with Captain Cook, or sledge ride with Captain Scott of the Antarctic. . . they’ll feel a lot happier.

3. Weigh up the pros and cons of the age you want to visit. We all like the dinosaurs in the natural history museum, and the great plastic models we have at home, but bear in mind that most dinosaurs have never seen human children before and will very likely eat you up in one go.

4. Take a couple of dollars with you. Because of inflation, money becomes less valuable as time goes on – a dollar now will probably be worth only 50 cents in about ten years time. But if you’re travelling backwards your money becomes more valuable. A dollar in Victorian times would be worth about $1,000 in today’s money, and if you went back to Tudor times it could be worth as much as $50,000. You could buy all the sweets you want. . .

5. Bear in mind that sweets in olden times might not be as nice as the ones we have now. Christopher Columbus discovered south America in 1502, and brought chocolate back with him. Before then there was no chocolate in Europe. Of course, if you went back and visited the Aztecs you’d get some. But they didn’t mix it with sugar. In fact the word ‘chocolate’ comes from the ancient south American word ‘xocolatl’, which means ‘bitter drink’. Perhaps it would be best to put a couple of Mars Bars in your pocket before you set off!

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