I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Take care, you're leaking

To waste time is to admit that that part of our life is meaningless. Shocking! - for time is a non-renewable resource and we cannot know how much we've been allocated.

You know what? Such truisms  are a waste in themselves. Time is lost as a matter of course.

Has your electric kettle got an external tube indicating the level of water within? Good. You choose to boil water for a cup of Bovril. Afterwards is there water left in the tube? If so, you wasted time and electricity.

Your mind is rotting and you opt for Huw Edwards disgorging the News At Ten. You turn on the telly and watch the last ninety seconds of Mrs Brown's Boys. A programme you truly loathe; you could have reflected on Augustine of Hippo's prayer: "Grant me chastity, but not yet." A minute and a half passes irretrievably.

Your computer is slow to boot up. Rather than use Defrag and/or CleanDisk you contemplate your hankie, trying to decide if it should go into the wash. Eventually returning it to your pocket.  What's more you always knew it was dirty.

Ever read an Agatha Christie? And you, a self-confessed intellectual!

Purgatory awaits – only sipping whisky to drink and a video loop of George W. Bush Jr's campaign speeches.


Saint Peter sat by the celestial gate;
His keys were rusty, and the lock was dull,
So little trouble had been given of late;
Not that the place by any means was full.

Third line’s rather terrible - as broken-backed as any mountain. But it's meant to be fun, the clue being "by any means". Perhaps English fun.

Byron (Gosh! It looks like I was wrong).


  1. What about the delaying tactics putting off a job you are not enthusiastic about, perhaps for example making an awkward phone call to tell lies to get you out of having to attend somebody’s sixtieth in a village hall? I find myself even doing other jobs that I dislike only a bit less than the phone call - maybe gardening or emptying the dishwasher.


    I see what you mean by “by any means” but for me it makes it a clumsy line, like tripping on a path but not exactly falling. Putting “was" in its alternative place makes the thing flow, but then…

  2. In my (maybe soon to be former) profession, time is measured by bells. It is a nervous way to live, but maybe more worrying is the propensity of us pedagogs to count our days and weeks away. "Only x more sleeps." and "x more weeks!" are two of the phrases, but we all seem to have forgotten that x is a finite number.

  3. Well, maybe those hours that are wasted on pointless telly and other pointless pursuits are somehow recuperated, adding to one's allotted time span, when a sudden burst of intense creative energy occurs and time becomes compressed as it was at the (no longer quite certain) Big Bang.
    That's my theory anyway.

  4. I like Natalie's theory!

    Still recuperating with a cane, I can only say that time moves slowly for me and anybody with me.

  5. Sir Hugh: Delaying things is something else entirely, although both boil down to self-delusion, a stepping-away from the logical world. In fact there may be further self-delusion in using "dislike" to cover both the options you cite. You may well dislike emptying the washing machine but your reasons for staying away from the sixtieth may - if you are honest enough - be rooted in a mild case of social terror. You look ahead and see yourself cranking up another form of Sir Hugh to deal with the strain of polite talk and the prospect makes you sweat, ever so slightly.

    Re-arranging "was". Recite both choices out loud and you will see that your improvement on Byron introduces a scansion problem.

    Blonde Two: Congratulations. You touch on another aspect of time-wasting which my 300-word limit prevented me from including. The wishing-away of the period that intervenes before some satisfactory future event. Looked at in the cold light of reason this is truly shocking; imagine it carried to an illogical limit with all the duller bits edited out, leaving only the highlights. As if life were the first draft of an over-blown short story.

    It's courageous of you to raise this point, although you of all people seem least likely to be its victim, given your espousal of perpetual motion.

    Natalie: 'twas ever thus; The Way Of All Flesh, as Samuel Butler would have it. The temptation to enlist the uncertainty of the future as a somewhat shaky bulwark against reality. Although inevitably there is some slippage between between what I intended and what you perceived.

    To waste hours demands a genuine and conscious commitment to profligate inertia and may well generate its own penalty in the form of guilt. Agatha Christie apart, I was referring to much smaller periods which we deliberately ignore, relaxing our judgment about what constitutes time-wasting, in effect putting our ability to think rationally on hold. An aggravated crime, as the law describes it. Made all the more piquant in that the "crime" can only be recognised by the criminal. There are no outer forces for good.

    RW (zS): I must admit le Grand Seigneur seems keen to test you to destruction. Stretching out time appears to make time less valuable. You might be forgiven for sinking into the non-thinking abyss. But I and your other pals know this will not happen; you are in the end self-sufficient. Take away beer, however, and you might... I daren't speculate further.