Ever come across a time capsule? You know, where people bury items to be dug up decades later? Well, I was the recipient of this yesterday.except it wasn’t buried.

We sold my mother’s house last year, making sure the house was cleared of everything before it went on the market. However, it turns out it wasn’t quite empty: the new owners had discovered a box in the attic. What treasures could it hold? we wondered. We had cleared that attic but somehow missed one box, or so thought.

Fortunately, I live within the restricted distance so I was able to collect it yesterday. I had rung in advance so the box was waiting outside when I arrived. I had a quick look when I got it in the car, just enough to see there was a scrapbook, picture and scrolled up documents. I couldn’t wait to get home and examine everything thoroughly.

Back at home, Trish and I opened the box of treasures and placed them on the table. There were framed pictures, but not of people. I recognised a framed photo of Padre Pio my grandmother kept in her bedroom. A signed print from an artist who’s name now escapes me. A 1931 Boys Own annual that I had vague memories of reading – it had belonged to my father.

A scrapbook featuring the Moon landing in 1969 brought me back to that year when as a 15-year-old boy I kept newspaper cuttings of the before and after news and photos of that seismic moment which I had viewed on TV. I had thought I threw that away years ago!

There were about 20 certificates dating from 1933-1956 relating to my aunt Betty and uncle John. Primary, Intermediate and Leaving Cert exam results, school attendance merit certs for a full year without missing a day in school, summer exams in secondary school. As I scrolled through them they revealed their secrets. Music examms (Betty) a successful correspondence course in salesmanship (John) were also included.

As if that wasn’t enough I also discovered my Primary Cert and Inter Cert results. My memory must have deserted me as I didn’t recall failing science and mechanical drawing in the Inter. Science totally baffled me, while mechanical drawing also draws a blank. The less said the better.