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‘How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?’ Dr Seuss.

Well, it’s Friday.  Again.  And while I am always pleased to see Friday come around (be it Friday the 13th or no) I am not always quite so sure how it got here.  This week was a case in point—I am quite certain the last time I looked up it was actually only Tuesday . . .

We have just completed our first week of Term 4 here at the college.  I did manage to have a few days break away from the office between last term and this.  It wasn’t a long break because although we had no classes running there was still plenty of work to be done but I booked three days leave and with the following weekend and a public holiday thrown in I had a lovely six day respite from students, databases and ringing phones.  The girls and I went for long walks, dug holes in the garden, read books and watched old movies.  Bliss.  Alas, that time passed all too quickly (as it usually does) and I now find myself back in the office and knee deep in paper again.

It is an oft-observed phenomenon that time seemed to pass so much more slowly when we were younger.  Each day we had to spend indoors in the classroom seemed interminable as the hours dragged on (and on and on . . . ), the school terms between holidays were excruciatingly drawn out and long-awaited birthdays never seemed to come around often enough.

But then, on the plus side, summer holidays when you finally got to them, stretched out in an endless stream of long hot days spent outside lazing under a shady tree, or boating, or swimming, or at the beach eating ice-lolls and watermelon and (in my case) getting horrific sunburn, occasional heatstroke and sand stuck in places it was never meant to reach . . .

My how things have changed.  Nowadays, for me at least, it seems that Christmas and Easter may as well be the same festivity for the space we get between them, holidays are still fun but are over in the blink of an eye—and, well, don’t even get me started on how often those birthdays come around!

If you actually stop and think about it, time is a really weird thing and I am not the only one who has pondered as to why the passage of time seems to pass so differently at various stages of our lives.

One theory is that each unit of time that you live through is only a small portion of your total experience, so for a one year old child, one year is, literally, a lifetime. To a ten year old, a year is one tenth of their total experience, and so their ‘clock’ has only just begun to move.  For those who are 70, 80 or 90, one year is nearer to 1% of their total life experience and so the shorter time that is left races ahead and the past stretches out far behind.

Perhaps it has more to do with anticipation and retrospection but, anyway, take it from me—reading up on the psychological, philosophical and physical theories about time can just about do your head in!

So I have decided that I like the Occam’s razor principle the best (the simplest explanation is usually the correct one) and in that vein I reckon Albert Einstein nailed it when he said,The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen all at once.’

Now that’s a theory I can get my head around . . .

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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“You can’t make footprints in the sands of time if you’re sitting on your butt. And who wants to make buttprints in the sands of time?” Bob Moawad.

I confess—I have been making some serious ‘buttprints’ all over the place during the last few weeks (in the sands of time . . . on my couch . . . in my bed . . . )  In fact, I have spent so much time sitting (or lying) on my (rather ample) behind that I can no longer even make a pretence of any kind of forward momentum.  Actually, I can’t make a pretence of movement in any direction at all reallyforwards, backwards, up or down . . .

In my defence I should point out that I am at the moment recovering (dear God, please let me be recovering) from my second (or is it my third?) bout of that really nasty flu that has been rampaging around the country this winter (apparently the flu shot I had earlier in the year was only effective for last year’s model) but even for me, who usually needs little or no excuse to do the absolute bare minimum, my current state of inertia is at a whole new level.

Normally when feeling somewhat under the weather I do what so many of us do—suck it up and soldier on.  I mean, it’s just a cold, or a cough, or the sniffles.  No big deal.  Right?  Well, not this time.  This time my body made it perfectly (and painfully) clear that we were having none of that ‘carry-on-regardless’ crap.  We were going nowhere.  Consequently (and because I really had no other option) I decided to be kind to myself.  I had some time off work.  I took the tablets, drank the medicine, wrapped myself (along with a trio of incredibly solicitious puppies) in blankets and slept.  And slept.  And slept.  I literally had no energy for anything else.  I did no reading, no writing, no sketching, no exercise.  I don’t think I even did any thinking (or at least none that I can recall . . . )

Two weeks later and I finally seem to be coming out of the other side.  I am on my feet again but apart from that there still appears to be little discernible sign of movement.   I feel like someone needs to wind me up to get me started again.  I mean, I should be doing something—anything—again by now.  Shouldn’t I?  (I should be writing, although I can’t think of a thing to say.  I should be sketching, although I can’t think of anything to draw.  I should start exercising again, although just getting the dogs across the park and back in the afternoon seems to be stretching me to my limits . . . )

You know Isaac Newton said (paraphrasing here) ‘‘An object at rest (i.e. me) will remain at rest until acted on by an outside force.”  And really—who am I to argue with Isaac Newton?  So, perhaps all I really need to do is take a few more days and wait for that inevitable intervention from an ‘outside force’ . . .

That sounds good to me.  That sounds like a plan.  And if I happen to make a couple more buttprints around the place before that happens . . . well, I guess the sands of time and I will just have to live with that . . .

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘It’s like deja-vu, all over again.’ Yogi Berra.

holidayWell—that’s it.  Today ends my last full week of work for another year. I will be in the office on Monday and Tuesday next week but, hopefully, just ‘tidying up’.  (Actually, I take that back.  If you are a work colleague reading this and have just remembered something you need to forward to me for completion before the Christmas break—I am absolutely, positively NOT going to be in the office next Monday and Tuesday.)   On Wednesday I will be joining the rest of my College colleagues at our Staff Christmas Lunch (we’re going back to Oasis as we had such a good time there last year) and then I am on holiday.  Woo Hoo!

frognothingSince people found out I am going to be away from the office for the next three weeks (that is worth saying again—three weeks!) I have constantly been quizzed on where will I be going, what will I be doing, what plans do I have for my time off?  Well, I am here to tell you people—I have one plan, and one plan only.  I plan to be flat out busy doing nothing . . .

Does this sound all very familiar?

Well it is.  It is exactly what I did this time last year, and it worked so well for me then that I have decided to do it all over again.  I know from experience that the time will go by in a flash and before I know it I will be back in the office, head down, bum up and starting all over again . . .

peppermintpattyTime is a weird thing isn’t it?  It is an oft-observed phenomenon that time seemed to pass much more slowly when we were younger.  When we were kids each hour spent indoors in the classroom seemed to double in length as the day stretched on; the term between Christmas and Easter holidays was excruciatingly drawn out, and we hung out for birthdays which never seemed to come around often enough.

kids-summerOn the plus side, summer holidays (when we finally got to them) stretched out in an endless stream of hot days spent outside, trips to the beach, eating ice-lolls and watermelon, and (in my case) getting horrific sunburn and sand in places it just really wasn’t meant to be.  (To be fair, people with school-aged children probably still feel that summer holidays are endless—but for totally different reasons.)  Tempus fugit.  Now it seems to me that Christmas and Easter may as well be the same festivity for the space we get between them, holidays are still fun but are over in the blink of an eye—
and, well, don’t get me started on how often birthdays come around!

I wonder why the passage of time seems to pass so differently at various stages of our lives?

ageingOne theory is that each unit of time that you live through is only a small portion of your total experience, so, for example, for a one year old child, one year is, literally, a lifetime.  To a ten year old, a year is one tenth of their total experience, and so their ‘clock’ has really just begun to move.  For those who are 70, 80 or 90, one year is nearer to 1% of their total life experience and so the shorter time that is left races ahead and the past stretches out far behind.  Or, perhaps it all has to do with ‘anticipation’ and ‘retrospection’ . . .

ladydrinkWhy time passes the way it does doesn’t really matter though, does it (and reading up on the psychological, philosophical or physical theories on time can just about do your head in. . . )  so I am just going to accept it for what it is.

I am going to take this time to relax and recharge.  I am not going to feel pressured into thinking I should be doing something . . . anything . . .  with my precious time off.

Feel free to join me—we’ll find a quiet spot, open a bottle and put our feet up . . .

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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‘You know, in dog years I’d be dead already . . .’

sevenMabel turned 7 this week.  Seven.  That was a bit of a shock.  On two counts. . .

First . . . how did my lovely tiny 8-week-old little girlnot only grow upbut grow into almost-middle-age (in dog years)—in what seems to be almost the blink of an eye?

And second of allhow did I?

clip-art-snoopy-033022 (1)Mabel was my ’50th-Birthday-Present-to-Myself’.  (I have always managed to buy myself the bestest presents.)   And, although maths was never my strong suit, even I can work out that a number of sneaky years have also surreptitiously been added to my own age as well as Mabel’s.  But, in spite of my ‘advancing’ years, I still remember very clearly the day I bought Mabel home.  (My long-term memory is still pretty much intact—it’s remembering what I did yesterday (or five minutes ago) which is more of an issue . . .)

Baby Mabel

Baby Mabel

I had actually gone out to buy myself a new car for my birthday.  I was turning 50.  It was a ‘milestone’.  I deserved something special.  And I got it.  I was walking past the pet shop (always a dangerous thing to do), I saw her sitting by the front door, in a little pen, all on her own (I know, I know, they really saw me coming . . . ) and I went in and paid for her on the spot. I don’t think I gave a second thought to a new car after that.  (Seven years later I still haven’t replaced that old car.  I’ve had it for 24 years now.  I have, however, managed to add two more dogs to our little family.  I guess that tells you a little bit about where my priorities lie . . . )

I had arranged with the pet shop that I would pick Mabel up the next day after work (after I had been shopping for new-puppy-things (because a new baby has to have new things all of their own)and also I  had to break it to my two then very-old dogs that they were getting a new little sister), but I was so excited I couldn’t wait until after work so I went and picked her up on my lunch break and took her back to the office with me.  Joneen (the College Manager) and I spent most of that afternoon taking turns in cuddling her (when she wasn’t sleeping in my handbag) and tossing screwed up bits of paper around the office for her to chase.adopted

Now that tiny little scrap of a creature is seven years old—and I’ve come over all reflective.   I wonder how Mabel remembers her first day with me?  Does she regale her sisters with stories of how exciting or happy or scary that first day was for her? Does she even remember it at all?   Or does she think she just ‘came into being’ and I have always been her mum?  (That is indeed a possibility.  We have never actually had the ‘you’re adopted’ talk.  I’ve been waiting for the right moment . . . )

Does Mabel remember when she was tiny and old Harry would grumble fiercely at her (while slyly wagging his tail at the same time), or how Frankie would lick her ears for hours and let her sleep on his back to stay warm? Does she miss them? Does she feel older—or does she still feel like a puppy inside?  (I don’t think I feel much older than I did 7 years ago (well—okay—except for one of my knees.  That knee often feels about 10 years older than the rest of me), but I am talking about ‘inside’.  ‘Inside’ I don’t feel anywhere near 57.)dogandbowl

I guess I’ll never know.  Anyone who has a dog knows that dogs have at least some concept of the passing of time (just look at their faces when you try to ignore their usual walk time, or are fifteen minutes late with their dinner), but it does seem that time, and memory, work differently for them.

We (humans) have what is called an ‘episodic’ memory.  We remember things based on individual personal experiences, specific events and emotions.  Those in the know believe that dogs don’t have this type of memory—they ‘learn’ what they need to from their experiences, rather than ‘remember’ specific events.  (Mabel caught a bee in her mouth when she was little and it stung her badly.  Her little face swelled up to twice it’s usual size.  To this day she is scared of ‘buzzie buzzies’ (among a myriad of other things) and will run and hide if she hears one.  She has ‘learned’ that bees are bad, but does she ‘remember’ why?)

snoopy-danceDogs, they say (the ubiquitous ‘they’), are programmed to live ‘in the moment’ (which is just another reason to love them even more as far as I am concerned) and it’s this programming that allows them to forget about what happened yesterday (or before lunch) and not worry unduly about what will happen tomorrow.  It’s also probably why they never seem to hold a grudge.  (We could learn a lot . . . )

All grown up.

All grown up.

So, if this is true, I guess I am going to have to do all the ‘remembering’ for all of us.  I am going to have to get all soppy and nostalgic about past-puppy experiences and embrace future doggie-delights my own way, and let the the girls enjoy them their way. I think I can probably handle that.  (Besides, if I keep telling you lot all about them, I’ll have you to help me remember too.)

So, Happy Birthday Mabel-girl, and here’s hoping we continue to share many more birthdays together.  (Although I do just have to say, it’s a good thing that the ‘dog years’ thing doesn’t work the other way about . . .   because in dog years . . .)

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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