I am all in a tizzy today, behind with all my jobs and unable to either present my promised post in the Family Six Pack series or get around to all the other Theme Thursday participants and view their interpretations of rhythm. It is partly that we have decorators in and the house is in chaos. It is partly that I ran out of the batteries that power my cochlear implant and had to get some more. And it is partly the fault of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Many years ago I used to do some guest lecturing on a University of London course called "Education in England". Another of the guest lecturers hired for a three week stint in the middle of the summer was a retired philosophy professor from Belfast called William McClure. Bill was a wonderful old chap with a store of tales to fit every occasion. Whilst our students were off enjoying a taste of the cultural sites and sounds of London in the evening, Bill and I used to retire to the pub and get slowly and satisfyingly drunk. One evening I was delayed for my meeting with Bill in the Public Bar of the pub opposite the Institute of Education and when I eventually arrived I apologised for keeping him waiting for almost an hour. His reply - in a soft and rolling Irish accent - was "Sure, it doesn't take me long to wait an hour". Over a pint or four he told me how he had heard an old farmer use this expression in a village in the Mourne Mountains when he turned up at the post office one morning a good hour before it opened. Bill went on to explain how the phrase perfectly summed up the theory of time as postulated by Ludwig Wittgenstein. I have to confess that the detailed philosophical explanation got lost in clouds of Fullers Best Bitter, but I remember the phrase well.
So this afternoon as I queued up at the hearing aid clinic to get a new supply of batteries (all free on our splendid NHS will all my American friends note) and the technician came out to apologise for the long wait, I simply put on my Bill McClure smile and even a bit of a Bill McClure accent and said "Sure, it won't take me long to wait an hour". The technician smiles and went off to write something in my notes. I sat there thinking vaguely philosophical thoughts. The clock moved on. I eventually got my batteries but it was too late to post my Family Six Pack piece. If you want to complain, direct your complaints to old Ludwig Wittgenstein ... wherever he may be.