Friday, 4 January 2013

In which I dream of becoming the Queen of Time.

I think: I would like to read more books. My house is stuffed with books; they lie on every surface. It is like living in a library. But I have got into a bad habit of only reading seriously for work.

I want to go back to reading, quite randomly, for sheer, unalloyed pleasure. I want to fall in love with words again for their own sake.

When I am out walking the dog, I have tremendous resolutions. I shall get up at six and read for an hour each morning, before the Today programme starts. The chances of this actually happening are so minuscule that they cannot be seen by the naked eye.

The problem is always time. Time is not my strong suit. By the time I have done the horses, seen the Mother and the Stepfather for breakfast, settled at my desk to work, done the small domestic tasks and run the errands of which all ordinary lives are made, gone back to do the horses in the evening, kept tabs on the intricacies of American politics which fascinate me so, read the paper, had a bet, cooked lunch, eaten lunch, made a half-hearted attempt to tidy the house, washed up, replied to emails, returned calls, and pondered what the next day shall bring, the hours are fled, and the moon is rising over the trees.

I don’t even have to commute, or look after children, or organise a social life, or do any of the other things which are the emperors of time-suckage. I lead a small life; I should have acres of time over which to roam. And yet, there it all goes, scrabbling past me like the Road-Runner at top speed, a blur of improbable legs and cartoon velocity.

Even if I am very strict and do not allow myself to gaze at horse pictures on Facebook (one of my favourite time-wasting activities), or get into spirited discussions with my Twitter racing massive about who is going to win the Champion Hurdle, there are still not enough minutes.

Is this just a classic part of middle-age? I suspect it may be. It drive me nuts in the head. I am always, always in a rush, and I never, ever catch up. It feels a bit like some kind of life parable. Still, no good complaining about temporal unchangeables. One must play the hand one is dealt. If I believed in New Year’s resolutions, I would make one which said: become better with time. I would like to grow into a Time Expert, shiny with brilliance at managing the hours. I suppose a girl may dream.


Today’s pictures:

It was a lovely, mild day, with some sunshine, and soft air coming down from the west.

4 Jan 1

4 Jan 2

4 Jan 3

4 Jan 4

4 Jan 5

4 Jan 6

The herd, despite being very slightly out-of-focus, was happy and calm and moochy and good:

4 Jan 10

Mr Stanley the Dog was so excited about chasing his stick that BOTH his ears went straight up in the air, instead of the customary flying one:

4 Jan 7

There really is nobility in that fine face.

And the hill was still and stately:

4 Jan 15


  1. 1) Mr Stanley really does have the most marvelous red collar.
    2) The brilliance of walking is all the ideas that hit one at the same time. It is a state I should like to be in permanently.
    3) I had a similar epiphany yesterday and bought the new Anne Lamott, some Rumi, & a Leonard Cohen biography to add to the piles of books that lie around the house unread. Perhaps we should start a resolution together?
    Love from the canyon to the wilds of Aberdeenshire.
    Miss W xx

  2. Alternatively, you could simply take great joy in the fact that you are the best example of somebody who Lives In The Moment that I've ever come across. That is a resolution to which many of us would do well to aspire.

  3. Stanley really has stepped in his role as photographic model. Wonder how often that is on a dog's job description?

    Re time and time management, is that the most universal problem in the 'civilized' world? Then how come no one ever solves it? At least your days' activities are worthwhile. I consider breakfast with the mother and stepfather, and hours with the dogs and horses, and a walk down the beech avenue, etc., VERY good additions to the day.


  4. If you find out how to wrangle time, let me know, would you?

  5. I use to read every night before going to sleep & on those glorious snowed in weekend days - but I've gone to the "other" side - the net!
    Now it seems I only read when I go on vacation - I picked up your book for my trip this year & made it half way through. I hate to think I won't be able to finish it until next year's vacation...........
    I'll just have to make it a train trip, I did one 2 years ago and was actually able to finish a book.
    Hmmmm, isn't this the time of year for resolutions. May have to replace the bulb in the bedside lamp this weekend :)

  6. I know what you mean. When I was younger I could spend days, weekends and weeks reading. Now I take a book to bed and fall asleep on the opening. You have described the time issue perfectly. I am so in love with those ears. I have never seen a dog with ears like it. Love them.

  7. Oops, but at least i now have a handle.
    We are loving Stanley's pics, BOTH EARS! This is a first, one happy dog, he and we know he's in the right place.
    I second Cassie's commendation. Right This Minute is the very best place to live.

  8. Well, I've been wrestling with that exact same situation lately. Which is why today I sat on my couch, drank copious amounts of English Breakfast Tea with honey from my mom's beehives and cream, and read a novel. For hours and hours. With my cats like bookends, one on either side. Then I watched a movie and ate popcorn. This is what I accomplished today. And you know what? The world didn't end after all. And I feel WONDERFUL.


    1. Let me say this right up front - the drums, and any other
      musical instrument, should be "fun" above all else. If you
      are not having fun while playing an instrument, then being
      a musician probably isn't for you. Sure there will be
      challenging times where you really need to focus on developing
      a few difficult techniques, but at the end of the day - it
      needs to be fulfilling to you. If you aren't having fun,
      it's only a matter of time before practices become a chore,
      and gigs become a hassle.

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  9. "Time is let's do the 'Time Warp' again...." (from one of my all-time favorite movies "The Rocky Horror Picture Show").
    Apparently time DOES pick up speed the older one becomes. Some math whiz recently filled a computer screen with calculations to "prove" this. Since my math consists mostly of figuring out sales percentage reductions or tripling recipes, I took his word for it.
    It's no consolation that the nearly 25-year-old daughter (OMG, a quarter of a century already, she says!) has also felt for some while that time has accelerated. When I was her age, it moved glacially.
    I wholeheartedly support Marcheline's solution: take a reading day...(and wallow in it)! It can be bookended by the necessary (& pleasurable) attention to animals. And, as Bird points out, breakfast with your mother & stepfather is a not-to-be-missed plus.

    Or, you could become a Time Lord.

    Happy New Year!
    XX Pat

    PS Family & friends (whom I've often kept waiting) would find it more than ironic that I even dare to discuss "time".


    1. Find someone who has a lot of experience teaching and
      performing. Make sure it is someone who will teach you
      to read music and understand some music theory. You DON'T
      want a teacher who just bangs away and tells you to follow

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