I recall, as a child of about eight or nine, pressing my nose against a gift shop window in some Godforsaken seaside town. Among the novelties and faded boxes of toffees behind the yellow cellophane covered window was a small china plate emblazoned ‘A Round Tuit’.
Being an inquisitive chap, I inquired what it was. My father explained that this was a whimsy – a whim-wham – a grownups’ joke. Wives bought them for husbands, he said, who put off household chores intoning “I will fix that when I get around to it!”
I guess that’s what passed for humour in the 1960s before the advent of Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo.
But that epigram came back to me this week as I contemplated all the tasks unfulfilled over the Christmas and New Year holidays: The cooker knob which drops to the floor and rolls into the darkest recess of the kitchen whenever you use the oven; it just needs a drop of contact adhesive, the garden still littered with leaves and twigs from the autumn, that squeaky hinge, the dripping tap and the loose towel rail which just needs a new wall plug. It’s not as if Mrs F hasn’t mentioned it. Maybe even twice.
How did it ever come to this? Once summers were long and the year stretched out in front of the younger, more optimistic Freeman, like a perspective drawing reaching to a vanishing point in the far distance. Birthdays, anniversaries, pay rises, they all appeared separated by the open plains of life.
Is it just me, or do demands for council tax, car tax and MoTs now come twice as frequently as they once did? The only thing that appears to have disappeared off the calendar is the annual review of my salary.
This month quantum physicists have been investigating whether tiny sub-atomic particles called neutrinos can move faster than light, thus throwing human understanding of time and space into abject confusion.
I’m not sure we need a symposium. I can assure the scientific community time is DEFINITELY speeding up.