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Merry Christmas - and a happy Easter...

PUBLISHED: 07:17 14 December 2017

Twenty-three seconds to go: don't crash those Pips, David...

Twenty-three seconds to go: don't crash those Pips, David...

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Hang on a minute - where did that year go? David Clayton wonders why time can seem so fast - and so slow.

You’ll be pleased to know I did it at the weekend. I’m not looking for your praise because you’ll have possibly done it too. I put the outside Christmas lights up. I realise I’m very late and with just a row of twinkling bulbs clinging to the guttering we’re very understated. I don’t have an illuminated nodding reindeer nor a jolly waving Santa, but respect to those who festoon their houses for our collective astonishment. We’re minimalist and given that the scaling of a ladder each succeeding year feels more foolhardy than brave, I’m pleased to have completed the annual task, unscathed.

Everyone, it seems, laments how early the festive season is unleashed, but it’s not so much the pressure of Christmas starting at the beginning of November that’s making me uneasy, no, it’s the undeniable feeling that I’m sure I only took last Christmas’s lights down barely a few months ago. Of course, I didn’t, I took them down around the January 6.

I went to retrieve them from the tatty, time-served carrier bags, advertising shops that probably no longer exist and it was then I stopped and shook my head in disbelief. How did that whole year rush past and hurtle us all at another Christmas? What is happening to time?

My year, probably like yours, has been punctuated with the usual highs and lows. Its been fulfilling and busy. Holidays have come and gone along with family birthdays and celebrations. You know, the sorts of occasions you look forward to and then seem to take an achingly long time to arrive? That surely should have spread time out a little.

I’ve hung on phone lines to call centres listening to music where time has stood still. I’ve served my time, stationary, at Norfolk’s own “Spaghetti Junction” next to the Broadland Business Park. I swear, I’ve never arrived at it to find the lights on green in whatever direction I’ve been travelling and in life, the odds should surely be around fifty-fifty?

You see what I’m saying? Enough of our lives stutter to time-stretching halts due to circumstances beyond our control we should be able to feel the tangible accumulation of time. So how is it then my Christmas lights moment has feigned to spirit away half a year of my life?

Is there some correlation between advancing age and passage of time? The older you get the quicker it goes, or so they say. But I’m using the same time as a twenty-year-old. (Note I didn’t say I’m HAVING the same time as a twenty-year-old!). The same clock ticks the same seconds and minutes by for all of us. So that can’t be it.

My own association with time might have made me wary and less able to cope. In the broadcasting world, we’re slaves to every damn second. The Pips wait for no one and crashing them is the ultimate sin. On TV I’ve had people bark urgent time into my earpiece while I’ve attempted to string a coherent sentence together and I’ve timed my run to a TV studio a bit too late. I arrived in front of the camera panting and unable to speak.

In radio studios we are ruled by clocks. They count us in and count us out. We stare at them, willing them on, awaiting a junction. We rush to squeeze stuff in and then again, we pad out what we’re saying just to serve that wretched clock.

Most broadcasters have a recurring nightmare of not quite making it to the studio on time and then stretching to grab a studio door that keeps falling away out of reach. Or is that just me?

Anyway, relax, our lights are up, it’s Christmas-time and someone, even now is working on an Easter Egg production line and before you know it...

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