Message in bottle finally gets a reply

The 23 year wait is over

Royal Mail might get some stick, particularly around Christmas time, but it’s still a vast improvement on more antiquated methods of communicating, such as messages in bottles, which are notoriously unreliable and slow to arrive.

Still, though, the thrill of getting a reply from the latter probably makes the uncertain wait well worth it. This is certainly true of Zoe Averianov, 33, from Greater Manchester. When she was 10 years old, departing Hull on a ferry to Belgium for a family holiday, she threw a message in a bottle overboard.

The note detailed her enjoyment for “ballet, playing the flute and the piano” and revealed she had a hamster called Sparkle and a fish called Speckle. She requested of her prospective recipient: “Please will you write to me. I would like it a lot.”

This Christmas, more than 23 years after she sent the message, her wish was granted. Piet Lateur, who was walking his dog on a beach in the Netherlands, discovered the bottle among other washed up debris. It had travelled more than 350 miles.'s dramatic reconstruction of the bottle's journey

His reply read: “Dear Zoe, on one of my many walks with my wife along the dikes of Oosterschelde, I found a little plastic bottle containing your message. I am keeping your little letter on my piano. I know you are no longer a little girl, but you asked me to write so I have.”

Speaking to the press, Zoe, who is now married and works in a jewellery shop, said: “It’s been a bit crazy really. My parents came to visit on Christmas Day and they had this letter from Europe addressed to my maiden name.

“The first thing I saw was my handwriting as a child and my little letter saying who I was and about my pets and hobbies. It made me a bit emotional.”