Time memorial

Saturday 29th October 2011

GAVE my father a wrist-watch, they did; for long service; an Omega; silver, self-winding, expensive-looking, with elasticated silver strap… though they didn’t go so far as to inscribe his name on the back: all it says is ‘waterproof’.

Mum thought I should inherit this timepiece when he died. In many ways we were a traditional post-war family: the only son was sort of first in line. It would have been disrespectful not to accept.

Previously I had worn a neither-here-nor-there watch of much less interest than its strap, for I took great delight in fashioning a wrist-band from black-and-white, cotton or plastic, tape measures. I use the plural because it had to be replaced regularly, as the hole through which catch of the buckle passed would quickly fray or expand.

The heirloom lasted six years, during which time I became an unemployed single parent.

When I took it in for repairs, the smith explained that the self-winding mechanism needed replacing. Digital devices were all the fashion. He said I’d be better off buying something from Woolies.

Sadly, I put my father’s watch into a drawer. Happily, I have not worn one since.

The division of time into hours and minutes is a human construct. Yes, I know we all rely upon train timetables, broadcast schedules, egg-timers and alarm clocks, but need we be so entrapped by the artificiality of lunch hours, twenty-minute breaks, bed times, and ‘so much looking forward to the weekend’s?

And I say that as somebody who values punctuality and almost always arrives early, but to do so is, I’d suggest, nothing more than courtesy.

Tonight sees the official end of British Summer Time. This is also a time of personal sadness, for tomorrow marks the end of the life, fives years ago, of my dearest Mum. On Tuesday it will be eight years since the death my beloved son, Gaius.

I shall spend the ‘extra hour’s sleep’ awake, in remembrance of happier times and the beauty of their lives.

Clocks may go back and forth, but time, alas, does not.



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One Response to Time memorial

  1. danholloway says:

    My thoughts will be with you tomorrow. It must be closer to 30 years than 20 since we’ve met, but I see your name around regularly and every time I do, I wonder if you are the same marcus Moore who was the delightful, passionate (an, um, eccentric) inspirational chap I remember from my days at school in Stroud. I happened on this blog today in one of those roundabout ways as I was reading through the history of Hammer and Tongue (for some reason I can’t quite fathom I’ve not performed there before and am doing so in Oxford on November 8th). My parents told me about Gaius’ death at the time, and I was very saddened. We sat next to each other for large segments of our final year at Church St and spent hours playing with words and devising new languages, though at the time I had no idea where he got his fascination with wordcraft from. So my thoughts will go out to you tomorrow. I hope we get the chance to meet up somewhere on the poetry circuit soon. Do drop me a line :)

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