I remember years ago when a friend rang me up in the middle of the night to tell me excitedly, "You know something? Time does not exist." He was reading a science fiction novel (it may have changed into science fact by now) and couldn’t wait to share his finding with friends. There was too the added bonus of ruining their sleep.

There are more clocks in my house than is rational. A couple of them are cuckoo clocks; now I know why they are called thus. They drive me cuckoo since one begins cu-ing and ckoo-ing just as the other is finishing. Which means that midnight sounds like it is 24 o’clock.

I once had the bright idea (like most of mankind) of making the clocks run 15 minutes faster so I would have an extra 15 minutes for whatever I wanted that extra 15 minutes for. "Hurry up, it’s eight o’clock," I could tell my wife when we were going out knowing full well that it was only 7.45. This is the only way in which some of us cheat on our wives, a psychologist once told me.

Then my wife caught on, and pushed everything back a further 15 minutes. This meant that when we had to leave at eight for a party, we actually left at 7.30 and had to endure dirty looks from our hosts who hadn’t finished cooking or dressing up yet, sometimes both.

Over the years, we bought more clocks and distributed them over more rooms in the house than is good for sanity. All the temporal confusion meant that we were either half an hour early for an appointment or three hours late. This is partly because some of the clocks needed to be wound once a week (the joy of antiques), others needed to have batteries put in them while a third category needed to be chucked away.

Unfortunately we couldn’t work out which clock needed what. You could often see time both crawl and fly in the same room. If that room was the kitchen, then meals I cooked became a bit of a lottery (wives don’t need to look at the clock while cooking). You could never tell beforehand if you were about to get something undercooked or over fried.

You might think that time prevents all things from happening at once. I mean there is a time for breakfast, a time for going out for a walk, a time for work, etc. But when you have so many clocks, chances are you will wake up one day, eat all your meals in one shot and go right back to sleep. Yes, time does not exist. Not in our house anyway.

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