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Rock Maze
  • Writer's pictureNeil

Time Bandits

In the mid 70s I had a little cassette player. I would pop a cassette into the machine and listen to the music then when the side finished there was a click and the thing would shut down and patiently wait to be opened, I would then turn the cassette and the other side could be played. The good thing about this system was it did actually switch it’s self off. So at bedtime I’d pop in a cassette and rarely hear the end not even a click. It seemed the most soporific cassette I possessed was The Dark Side of the Moon, a Pink Floyd album (by the way which one’s Pink?) Sorry that’s from “Wish You Were Here”.

I clearly remember all the tracks and when I listen to them now I realise I remember all the lyrics. One track sprung to mind when I started to think about this post,

“Time”. Worthy of a listen or at the very least a read of the lyrics.

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

Tired of lying in the sunshine, staying home to watch the rain You are young and life is long, and there is time to kill today And then one day you find ten years have got behind you No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking Racing around to come up behind you again The sun is the same in a relative way but you're older Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way The time is gone, the song is over Thought I'd something more to say

Home Home again I like to be here When I can

When I come home Cold and tired It's good to warm my bones Beside the fire

Far away Across the field Tolling on the iron bell Calls the faithful to their knees To hear the softly spoken magic spell

I think I’ve always been a bit obsessed with time. I abhor lateness. I won’t say I’m never late but if I am it’s pretty atypical. It's ok to waste your time but don’t steal mine!

I have 3 time wasting vignettes to illustrate my frustration.

While working for the then Cornwall Careers Service, before the advent of accessible mobile phones, I had arranged a trip to the Minack Theatre at Porthcurno. I borrowed a minibus free of charge which I had to collect after working all day in Truro from Redruth and get back to Truro for our rendezvous time, of probably 6:30. I kept up my side of the bargain as did everyone else bar one. I allowed 5 minutes then left. The latecomer was left to make his own way there. He was not best pleased. If we all only waited another 5 minutes. Well as far as I was concerned we could have been another 25 minutes and spoilt our evening. The evening was a success. I deposited the gang in Truro, returned the minibus to Redruth then drove home to St Austell. A long day.

On another occasion I was to meet a colleague to travel to the Home Office in Westminster. I arranged to meet on the early train. He had the tickets. I duly got to St Austell rail station in good time before 6am, the train’s departure. I got on the train and scoured the full size intercity train from stem to stern to no avail. I then searched the train again from stern to stem, still no-one. Even with basic mobile phones by this time, I had no call or message. I got off the train at Liskeard and talked myself onto the sleeper train which was arriving in Cornwall. What had happened to my colleague “Oh sorry I missed the train”. A completely stolen day.

The third occasion had a happier ending. I was contracting at the Eden Project. Any work before 7am was charged at double time and at a minimum of one hour so being asked to start at 6:30 with two other contractors was OK. We were all charging similar amounts. The staff member we were to meet didn’t materialise until close to 7:30. He then had a cup of green tea. By 8am when we finally started work I had already earned 3 hours pay for sitting around. His excuse “I woke up when the alarm went off but decided to stay in bed a bit longer”.

As I get older I get more and more irritated by people’s tardiness. In my mind there’s rarely an acceptable excuse. Since my minutes have become more valuable I have become more intolerant.

If you make me wait. I won’t make any further arrangements to meet you. Well that’s my simple solution. If my walks start at 10am, then be there before 10am ‘cause I’m not waiting. If I’m leaving the house to be somewhere at three then I’m leaving to be there at three. Why should I accommodate your inabilities? Why should you steal my precious time?

My days and weeks are driven by time and I’m acutely aware I probably have less of it than you. I have to take medication 4 times each day at specific times, I have to eat my main meals at specific times, once a fortnight I have to be in Truro for my chemo at a specific time, 4 days prior to my chemo I have a blood test booked and a telephone consultation booked. Once a week I have my Coffee Club at 10am on the dot. Soon we'll be meeting outside for coffee. The walks will resume. You tell me. Have I ever been late? No! At least not without a justifiable reason.

Boris has given us hope and dates. I’ve taken those dates and applied some plans ...... Party plans, something to look forward to, to strive for, to survive for. My diary has never been so full.

Why am I almost never late?

Because it OK for me to waste my time but it’s not OK for me to steal yours.

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Juliet French
Juliet French

Another ❤! ⏰⏳🕰

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