Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Time, Warped

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Time, Warped

Article excerpt

August is the cruellest month for teachers. Making the most of the brief freedom it brings from school's wearying embrace comes at a price. While you enjoy your respite from the clamour of small children, and the mountains of paperwork that crush your spirits, and the morbid fear that Ofsted might pounce at any moment, dark clouds have already begun to gather. On the not-too-distant horizon, September looms.

Right now I'm trying to make the most of the last day of our family holiday by lying in the shade with a cold beer and my Kindle edition of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. But unfortunately I'm being pestered by a fly that is repeatedly landing on various parts of my anatomy. I have made several attempts to swat it into fly oblivion but without success.

Sensing my growing annoyance, Brendan from County Cork, whom I met at the bar two nights ago, explains the reason I can't hit it. Apparently flies perceive time in a way that is entirely different from the way a teacher on a sun lounger in Lanzarote does.

I had no idea that flies even had a perception of time. I thought the only thing they perceived was animal matter in various states of decay. (And my exposed body parts, which probably amount to the same thing.) This revelation prompted me to do some Kindle-based research.

In 2013, a team of scientists led by Dr Andrew Jackson from Trinity College Dublin reported the results of an investigation that explains why flies are difficult to swat. …

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