Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Countdown To The Finish

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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17 comments:

  1. So. There are 30 in the box of tablets and you're leaving in 37 days, right? You're counting down to the week before you go, but won't you need to wash any dishes in that week before you leave or have you stocked up on paper plates and plastic cutlery too?
    (As I write this, my dishwasher is rumbling along, hissing water at my proliferation of pasta bowls, cat bowls, cereal bowls, silverware and cofee cups.) I counted my "green" dish-pellets this morning too! I use them every other day and I have 4 left, so I'm good until Christmas Eve. I better get some in before the shops close! It's toilet paper you really have to keep a close eye on, isn't it? And somehow it seems to run out without you realizing it. (I better check my supplies.) Thanks for the tip, Alan!

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  2. Ah Ah, the picture was for illustrative reasons only. The box I bought yesterday was a "Mega Value" containing 60 tablets. This gives me plenty in hand so I can double-wash over Christmas and have plenty left for when I return from holiday.

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  3. At some point maybe we will get a look at this shirt that you will be wearing; but then again ............

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  4. I'm counting towards Christmas in mince pies...oh dear.

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  5. nice, i might be tempted to use a few at a time to get it to come faster though...lol.

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  6. John : As for the shirt - that's a promise.

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  7. Have great fun in the sun, Alan! I need to see that Hawaiian shirt with studs.

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  8. Brian : That's cheating.

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  9. Don't do two dishwashing programmes too often Alan or you'll be embarking on your trip too soon. Interesting about all the different ways to do countdowns. In case I forget to say... have a great time.


    'My Christmas Reading'
    http://tinyurl.com/ydzcty8

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  10. Ditch the dishwasher. Haven't had one in 5 years and don't miss it at all. Does wonders for your electrickery bill too, not to mention your carbon wotsit.

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  11. How fun- I am counting down to something myself and am loving it!

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  12. I guess you could give Father Time a run for his money, wot? And I miss those Advent calendars! And I know all 'bout those dreaded shots for foreign places...ouch!

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  13. This was delightful, Alan! I'm jealous of the coming trip! Sounds like so much fun! I'd be doing a countdown, too!

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  14. Polishin' your nails? I think we need a photo of that, Alan. I am totally envious of your up coming holiday. Sounds heavenly and so worthy of a proper count down!

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  15. I just got my first flu shot in ten years earlier today and will have another for H1N1 in a fortnight...When I was younger, life involved always being vaccinated against some dreaded malady in our part of the world.

    I hope you'll enjoy your trip. I've never had a dishwasher of my own...

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  16. Off topic I know, but when my daughter was at "The Polytechnic" in 'Uddersfield she spent more time than she should in a pub called "The Zetland" (I think that's right, it was right by the poly), in the 1980's.

    When my ex-wife *spit* and I visited her I always had the great privilege of buying her drinks all night!

    I looked on your Pubs blog, but I can't find ant reference to it. Is it still in existence?

    Like your mastheader btw, it's nearly as good as mine. . .

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  17. I second the idea of showing the Hawaiian shirt! Sounds like an exciting trip (& nice Fred Astaire reference).

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