Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Clocking on - but in Your Own Time

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Clocking on - but in Your Own Time

Article excerpt


MY FAVOURITE aunt kept every clock in the house 20 minutes fast. That way, she argued, when the Westminster chimes warned the one o'clock bus was due at the road end, she still had 20 minutes to spare.

And when the hour sounded to announce my Uncle Davie Renton's imminent, whistling return from the fields for his lunch, Aunt Mary still had time to get the mince bubbling and the tatties peeled safe in the knowledge that he had another four rows to plough before "lowsing" time.

I never fully understood the logic, but happily went along with the fiction and as a result, always got my lunch on time and never missed a bus. That, I reasoned, was Renton Time.

This week, I was reminded of another crazy time zone: Ghana Time.

Invited to the register office wedding of our daughter-in-law's brother, 'Er Outdoors and I arrived in West Dulwich 15 minutes before the appointed hour. The place was deserted. "Ah, yes," she explained, "I know it says 1.30pm on the invitation, but most of the guests are from Ghana and you know what that means."

Actually, I do: my dear daughter-inlaw and her family are blissfully late for all appointments; I fear she will one day miss my own funeral.

"We've been told to expect guests to start arriving around two-thirty and hope to get started by three, but we've booked four o'clock as a fallback position."

Ninety minutes later, with lunch and an art gallery visit under our belts, we returned to find the place packed with guests and my crestfallen daughter-in-law who, having heard of our premature arrival, said: "I'm sorry, I should have warned you ... but you should have known."

However, there's also Banks Time: according to my diary I was due to speak at Glanton WI, a pleasure I'd been looking forward to ever since they contacted me eight months ago. …

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