1) What is the oldest thing you own? One of the oldest things that I knowingly own is my engagement ring. I suppose you could call it a family heirloom; it was my great grandmother’s engagement ring and she got married in 1921. I know it wasn’t new then, and I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think it came into my great grandma’s family via entirely conventional means … my great grandfather was the king of the Lambeth black market back in the day, so it could have come from anywhere! The hallmark has long since worn off, so I have no idea of it’s provenance, but it’s at least 100 years old.
2) What is the oldest home you've lived in? From the time I was born to the time I was about ten I lived in tenement flats in Southwark, London. I think they were about seventy years old when I lived in them. We lived on the ground floor with no bathroom and an outside toilet! They were demolished in the 1980’s and new flats were built on the site.
3) What is the oldest book you've read? It doesn’t really count, because I’ve never read it, but Mr D and I have a beautiful old Bible which we found among my Grandparents’ things after my Grandad passed away. It’s enormous and bound in what feels like leather and wood; it’s so heavy the only way I can look through it is if I put it on a table. As is often the case with really old books there is no printed date in it, but at the front there are some handwritten christening dates of people, presumably members of the family who owned the Bible when it was new, the oldest of which is 1858. I and my parents have no idea who these people are, or how my Grandparents came by the book, and although neither Mr D or I have no interest in it as a Bible, the craftsmanship and age of the book fascinates us.
In terms of books I’ve actually read, my Dad has some Muffin the Mule annuals from when he was a young child and by young I mean five or six. I’ve read those and they would have been dated from late forties/early fifties.
4) What is the oldest electronic device that you still use? I’m not 100% sure that it classes as an ‘electronic’ device, but I have a digital clock radio on my bedside table which I’ve had since before I got married 27 years ago.
5) What is the oldest work of art/architecture that you've seen? Depending on your definition of art/architecture, here in the UK, we have a multitude of riches in terms of ancient artwork. Places such as Stonehenge, Avebury stone circle, Uffington White Horse, Silbury Hill and Waylands Smithy are all amazing architectural constructions that are three or more thousand years old.
And of course, I’ve been a regular visitor to Rome and have been lucky enough to see incredible constructions such as the Colosseum, the Forum, Palatine Hill, the Pantheon and Circo Massimo which are all a couple of thousand years old.
I’ve also seen temples in Egypt such as Karnak, Philae, and Edfu which are even older.