We all have our own way of marking the passage of time. I am not thinking of rings on the tree trunk of life such as double chins or heart by-passes, I am thinking more of counting down to important events. For example, I have relatives I am particularly fond of who live in Spain. The husband recently had to come to England for a week on business and leave his wife behind in Spain. Each evening she would post to Facebook and mark the passage of time before her husbands returned in terms of how many times she would have to groom their two dogs alone. It was quite sweet.
Advent calendars are a kind of institutionalised form of counting down to an anticipated event. Each morning you can open the little cardboard doors and pull out a chocolate treat and mark one day nearer your Christmas celebrations. Other forms of countdown tend to be more prosaic. You can go, for example, to several websites and get an accurate, second-by-second, countdown to the start of the 2012 London Olympic Games (when I checked a minute ago it was 955 days, 8 hours, 47 minutes and 48 seconds in case you are interested). The problem with this form of over-complex approach is that it smothers you with information and it is quite possible for you to get so involved with the mechanics and the precision of the detailed countdown that you miss the event all together.
A good countdown needs to effortlessly combine simplicity with meaning : like dog-brushes or chocolate drops. Or, in my case, dishwasher tablets. Yes, yesterday I bought the last box of dishwasher tablets I will need to acquire before we jet off to our holiday in the sun in January. I can now dust off the suitcases, order my Hawaiian shirt, and buy in a supply of sun protection cream. As the little tablets of concentrated soap powder drop one-by-one into the dishwasher, I can begin to check the weather forecast for the West Indies and not for West Yorkshire. As the dirty coffee cups are kept busy in the pre-rinse cycle I can be kept busy dudein' up my shirt front, puttin' in the shirt studs and polishin' my nails. Today I go for my last injection against whatever dreadful disease the GLW fears I might succumb to in the tropics. In 37 days, 11 hours, 15 minutes and 42 seconds we set off. If truth be told, I am nothing more than a big kid at heart.
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IRREVERENT IRRELEVANCE : Whenever I read Jeffscape's posts I am reminded of Churchill's phrase about a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. He writes as well as anyone I have come across, and his blog will always be on my "must read" list.
EXTRACT FROM A SHIP'S LOG : What I got up to on my last cruise.