Tuesday, 30 May 2017


What on earth was the Manchester suicide bomber doing buying scourers and tins of Glade the day before he was intending to blow himself and others to kingdom come? It suggests some forethought and expectation of need at some future time, unless he was buying these items for his mum. Inexplicable.

Talking of time, I'm one of those people who would, if possible, rather be half an hour early for a meeting than five minutes late. Something I inherited from my father (certainly not my mother). It may also come from my seafaring career, where knowing the exact time is critical to knowing your position and when to relieve the previous watch.

However, I rarely know accurately what the time is in our house. I sport an old, 1960s, self-winding Omega watch that was my father's, which loses anything from 1 minute to 5 minutes in a day, depending on the temperature, phase of the moon and day of the week. I also have an old art deco spring driven clock on my desk which, in addition to the foregoing criteria, seems to be affected by the season.

The only reliable timepieces in my possession are my mobile phone (and I rarely view it to determine the time) and a battery driven clock on the wall in the living room. The microwave keeps good time, but cooking times are based on time elapsed and not absolute time, so the actual time it displays is not important and can be wildly wrong, as I can't be certain it was set correctly after the last power failure and never really bother to ensure it's correct.

Knowing the exact time is rarely an issue though, as it's only crucial for teleconferences, where my phone calendar keeps me appraised of when to call in. For meetings I rely on Waze, which I've never found to be out by more than a couple of minutes in its prediction of my ETA - I set my destination well before leaving and then head for the door when I have 15 minutes to spare (by the phone's clock). Barring unexpected accidents en route, I have yet to arrive late at meetings.

Having worked from home for many years means I'm not subject to the clock-watching mentality that makes so many office workers anxious. The freedom from having to catch a bus or train at a specific time, or to be potentially delayed by traffic jams, is so liberating.

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