Bones to pick with time

The Earl of St Vincent in Wadebridge has an amazing array of clocks

The Earl of St Vincent in Wadebridge has an amazing array of clocks

Having neglected The Quiet Hailer for a week, I feel ought to dedicate this week’s entry to time and its foibles. Here are some bones I have to pick with time:

A point on which I think we will all agree is that time goes too fast. No sooner have you woken up and eaten than its time to eat again and then go back to sleep and before you know it, your week has gone and it’s a different month. In between these regular events, I seem to spend most of my time writing to-do lists full of activities that I’m saving for that fabled ‘free time’ that I’ve heard so much about. The item at the top of my list is, in fact, find some free time.

It’s also really hard to calculate quickly. If like me, you were a bit slow when it came to learning to tell the time you probably also experienced the terror that arrived daily at school in nicely packaged little maths problems. You know the ones. They usually include Joan trying to catch a bus, only having £1 and needing to get from A to B and then C via A for less than a threepenny bit. I’m breaking out in a nervous sweat just thinking about it.  And if you don’t calculate it right she’ll be forced into accepting a lift and/or sweets from a stranger and we all know how that story ends (I may be merging lessons here but you get the gist).

Whoever thought it was a good idea to break up ‘time’ into 12 repeating pieces made up of 60 smaller bits needs a good smack if you ask me. Why, when money and weight and length and all manner of other things became decimalised, did time remain obscurely sliced? I was reminded at my friends’ world record breaking squash game at the weekend just how ridiculous this ’60 seconds to a minute’ nonsense is. Having never been in my maths class, and being under some misunderstanding about my ability to tell the time and add up, I was given a stopwatch and asked to record the length of each game and each break, and calculate time elapsed nice and neatly on the official paperwork. By Jove it was a challenge. Far worse than playing squash constantly for over 33 hours (probably). *

Lastly, time is actually really erratic. I know I initially said it goes too fast, but it can also go incredibly slowly. I think we can safely say that those 33 hours went pretty slowly for the squash players and the audience, and most days at work also fall into the slow category- especially the bit before dinner. Long distance flights, waiting for phone calls and test results, and catching a bus from A to B and then C via A all take much longer than the actual clock face would have you think. This is an actual fact, and the erratic nature of time is further amplified if you have a rectangular watch with only four flowers to help you.

I could go on of course but I need to write another to-do list before dinner time I simply don’t have the time.


*This was a genuine world record smash and charity fundraiser. If you want to check it out or sponsor Adam and Alex, you can still do so here:


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