Hilary Mantel on history

“[History is] what’s left in the sieve when the centuries have run through it – a few stones, scraps of writing, scraps of cloth. It is no more “the past” than a birth certificate is a birth, or a script is a performance, or a map is a journey.” [Guardian, 3.6.17]

Mio, SD, rings San Candido 815.JPG

This is the engagement ring my grandfather gave my grandmother in Barrow before the first world war. It’s engraved on the inside, from him to her, George to Nell, and the date, 1909 I think, or 1911.

When my grandmother died my aunt wore it.

She gave it to my sister, My sister gave it to my daughter. My daughter wears it now. I wonder who will wear it next. Or if it will fall down the drain when someone’s washing up, fall through the sieve.

It isn’t the past, of course. But I don’t think it’s the present, either,


Published by

Paul Hodson

Head of Unit "EnergyEfficiency" at European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy

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