Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Time stretched itself out a bit.

This morning I had a hectic schedule. I had to have Tess to the dog parlour for stripping at 9.30 (a half-hour journey), then back into town for my own hair appointment at 10, then a quick rush round the shops and back to the dentist for ten minutes past eleven. After that it was home, get a quick lunch and be back at the dog parlour to collect Tess at 1pm. Oddly enough it all worked out well and I had plenty of time to spare. I even got to the dentist half an hour early and was able to sit and read one or two swish magazines, which always litter their table in the waiting room.

Then after collecting Tess I made myself a cup of tea and sat down to read David's Yorkshire Post. I smiled at today's article by the poet Ian Macmillan. He writes in such an amusing way and today he is writing about time. He speaks of all the ways we chart time with out looking at the clock. That set me making a list.

The farmer and I are really creatures of habit. As he milked a dairy herd for forty years, his body clock needs no wrist watch or ticking grandfather clock to tell him when to get up in the morning. If he is not up and dressed by half past six then he is 'late' - but for what I don't ask.

He brings me a cup of tea in bed and then I get up as the digital clock on the bedside table goes on to both 00's at 7am. The farmer who lives opposite is also a creature of habit and he always drives across his field and goes to collect his newspaper at 7 - so invariably, as I stand in the bedroom window putting on my dressing gown, Geoffrey drives past on his way for the paper.

Lunch is an unmoveable feast at 12.30 and tea at 5pm. When the farmer is off across the fields hedging or fencing or cutting down tree branches for the logs this winter, he needs to know exactly what time to come home for his meals. It makes sense to keep to a routine, but for me, coming to such a routine late in life, it was not easy at first.

Time is such a funny thing, isn't it? Sometimes things go slowly and sometimes they whizz past. The run up to a holiday abroad always seems endless to me. I count the days and think it will never come. Then suddenly departure day arrives and before you know it you are back home and the holiday is just a happy memory.

And what about time going back through the ages? Tomorrow evening I am talking to a group of people about the beck which runs through our fields. In order to get over the point that people have lived here for thousands of years, I am taking with me a box of little 'treasures' which David has found in his fields. Here is a list:-

There is a neolithic axe head (bronze age) from about 3000BC; a tiny, carefully shaped flint knife (stone age?); a whorl weight, used for holding down the thread on a hand-spinner. Made of lead there are plenty of these about and could date from any time in the last thousand years; a clay pipe - again there are plenty of these to be dug up but this one is interesting because it has the logo of an early farm workers trade union on the side. There are also a couple of sixteenth century crotal bells. Finally a fob which I wear on a chain but which was probably lost from a pocket watch chain. It is silver and hall marked 1835.

They will all lie on the table together tomorrow night. What a huge stretch of time will be represented there and to think that none of the people involved in these things would have even the slightest notion that they would all end up being represented together on a table in the twenty-first century.

TS Eliot seems to have neasured out his life in coffee spoons. I am not sure how I would measure mine - there are so many ways - places I have lived, jobs I have had,
hobbies - the list is endless but however you do it it involves time.

Time, that elusive thing that is so important to us all and yet impossible to catch, just a notion floating about in the air for us to catch hold of and order our lives by.

Tess knows all about time, although she cannot put it into words. When the farmer puts down his morning paper and picks up his mobile phone it is walk time. When I load the last coffee cup into the dishwasher after lunch she appears at my feet as if by magic for her afternoon walk. At dusk David can whisper that he is going to shut the hens in - or even tell me in sign language, but she is still at the back door before he is!

Are you a creature of habit where time is concerned, or do you wander through life able to make your own haphazard timetable?I would love to know - there might even be a correlation between time-keeping and blogging. Do you put your blog on at the same time every day, or when you have a spare minute. When you have time pop over to my blog and leave a time-based comment and let's see where it leads us.

###Message to Trace if you read this - thank you for visiting my blog - I would love to leave a comment on yours but can't find any way of leaving one.

Have a nice evening.


The Wife of a Dairyman said...

What a lovely post! I don't wear a watch, although there are clocks all around. And I DO post my blog posts at the same time everyday...5 p.m. Have a fabulous day from one farmer's wife to another:)

Elizabeth said...

Two excellent and thoughtful posts, Weaver.
Time is the most weird stuff altogether. It just confuses me to think about it. At college I had to write a paper about St.Augustine's concept of time. I thought because he lived along time ago he would not have much to say...au contraire. i think the teacher was too kind to fail me...
Yes, it it very stretchy and bendy stuff.
I'm very much a creature of habit.
We have lunch at 11:30 and supper at 6. My mother would have a fit...
I take the dog out at 7:30, 11, 5 and 9pm. This is getting to be a very dull letter....
Loved the account of your writers' group.I sorely miss mine and wish I could join yours.
ps I have knitted 3 hats so far. I'm on a tear!

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Hello again, Weaver! Time certainly flies - after several months away from bloggyland, (under the ocean!) it's good to be back. With regard to regularity of blogging, I don't intend to repeat the gap!

I'm enjoying reading your lovely blog again - hooray!

Heather said...

Fascinating post Pat - I would love to see those ancient treasures. I used to find lots of broken clay pipes in our garden in Tiverton and dug up a silver salt spoon here some years ago but nothing really old. I like to breakfast at about 8.00 and lunch about 1.00 and we eat our evening meal round about 7.00, but I blog in any spare moments. I always feel that the first week of a two week holiday goes really slowly, but the second week flies by. When one is waiting for anything the time goes slowly, unless it is to be called into the dentist's surgery!

Gerry Snape said...

this is such a lovely post . I'm actually not a great keeper of time...a bit of a dreamer always ,but Alan is . His body clock works every day the same.
I love the collection of finds that you have collected over the years.Isn't it amazing that man has been in that area and living his normal life every day. I wonder what the next 1000 years will bring?

MorningAJ said...

I want to see the finds from the farm! Do you have photos?

Reader Wil said...

Your stories are always nice to read! Thanks for sharing! Thanks for your visit.

Penny said...

As another farmers wife, meal times dont move for any one!
But I have been known to wander off and get lost in pulling weeds in the garden and suddenly panic that there is nothing on for dinner.
I blog when I can but the dogs also demand to be fed at a set time (4.30) or they bark until fed.

Helsie said...

Interesting post Pat. When I thought about it, I divide my life (and therefore Time ) by the places I have lived. Nine different places in my 61 years. Those places represent different stages in my life from birth, the birth of my brother, to school years and marriage. My memories are anchored in those homes ( not houses you note !).
On the matter of daily routine, I notice that since I retired from teaching my body has gradually moved away from those set eating times and lunchtime is now whenever I can fit it in ( often 2:00pm when I'm out and about )but I start the day later and finish it later too - and even if I go to bed at midnight I NEVER just go to sleep but have to read a little first. Old habits ( and joys ) in some things never die!

Tom Stephenson said...

You have transported me - thanks so much for that. Also I have fallen in love with Tess.

Cloudia said...

Every day is different within a context of eternal returns and cycles. . .

Nice post!

Aloha from Hawaii

Comfort Spiral


ChrisJ said...

Being a teacher, time was always important to me. I do like to have a schedule, but I'm not inflexible. I can adjust if I know what time the adjustment will be.

Poet in Residence said...

a brief history of time

The Weaver of Grass said...

As I suspected - we do not fit into any pattern time-wise - we all do our own thing. Thanks for the replies.

Trace said...

Trace is me, but I change my blog identity from time to time, for no particular reason. So I am Ruby's Blog but also Rachel, where you have left comments before. I am not hiding anything, I just like to mess around on my blog from time to time as the mood takes me.

As for the your piece on time, we do not use alarm clocks, I wake up at the same time each day, just like country people do, at 6 and we get up and have our porridge and I find the cats if I can and if not I start to panic. If we have to wake up earlier I tell myself the night before and lo and behold I wake up. We have dinner at 12, or I do usually on my own, and my partner has his sandwiches and we speak on the mobile, and then tea at 5. We go to bed at 9.00 unless I am watching football, as I am now.

Dave King said...

Riveting. Such a fascinating subject and so competently tackled. Thanks for it.