"This doesn't look like Shoreditch, Professor!" exclaimed Ace.

The Doctor silently pointed towards the freshly-cleaned street sign, which read simply "Brick Lane. E1." There was no denying that it was East London.

Ace nodded. "I'm not saying it isn't Shoreditch, mind. But it doesn't look like it. You weren't messing about when you said that your ship is a time machine."

"What year would you say this is, Ace?" asked the Doctor.

"Knock it off. How am I supposed to know, Professor?" replied Ace.

"Your past? Your future?"

"The future, I can tell that. These cars are all weird-looking, not old ones."

"But how far in the future? What year is it?" asked the Doctor, more insistently.

"Hey, there's that bagel shop!" said Ace, changing the subject. She was starting to get hungry, and was glad to spot something of the Shoreditch she knew. "Fancy a bite, Professor?"

"I don't see why not," said the Doctor. "But keep your eyes open!"

"What for?" wondered Ace.

"The year!" said the Doctor.

They went into the shop and joined the queue. The bagel shop hasn't changed a bit, thought Ace. In fact, wasn't that the same woman working behind the counter? Couple of decades older at least, though.

When they got to the head of the queue the Doctor ordered a cream cheese bagel, while Ace went for a salt beef with mustard. The Doctor started to scrabble around in his pockets for money, but the woman said "It's on the house, Doctor. As always."

The Doctor insisted on paying anyway, but all he was able to find was a fifty Euro note, whatever that was, which the woman politely declined. They started their lunch in the corner of the shop, and the Doctor tried to explain European Monetary Union.

"Any thoughts about the year?"

"Well, those prices. They're well expensive. But they're still in pounds. And... I think I recognise that woman who served us. She'd have been 20 years younger then."


"2007", picked Ace.

"Not bad, Ace. Not bad," said the Doctor, approvingly.


"It's 2013," said the Doctor, definitively.

"And how can you tell that," asked Ace?

"It says so in this newspaper," replied the Doctor.

"That's cheating!" declared Ace.

"It's not a game," said the Doctor. "And if it was, there are no rules against looking in the easiest places. Always ask the obvious questions, Ace."

Ace munched her bagel, lost in thought for a moment. If this was 2013...

"Something on your mind, Ace?" asked the Doctor.

"I just did some sums. I was born in 1971."


"So, now I'm 42!"

"That's not how it works," said the Doctor.

"Still," replied Ace, and they finished their bagels in silence.