Saturday, 17 March 2007


I've ripped the effing clock up. I've come into the office, ripped it into bits, scattered it all over the floor and jumped up and down on it, pulling my hair out and gnashing my teeth. I would set fire to the pieces now but I'd burn down the house. Perhaps its worth it.

Sod this home education lark. We're all going back to school. I'm taking a crap job again as a crap teacher in a crap school with a crap head and I'm frog marching the kids down to the local crap sink. They'll be dressed in black and white and hate every minute of it but HA! at least they'll know what an effing minute is.

I'm feeling a bit better now. I'll explain.

Squirrel, Shark and Tiger are learning how to tell the time. Now, I accept that as a family we have a general problem with lateness. So the children are starting off with a congenital disadvantage here. Neither me or Dig can be on time, early, or in any understanding of the word, 'punctual'. It's just our predisposition. Words like 'deadline' mean 'start point for negotiation'. Expressions like 'on the dot' mean, 'we'll be fifteen minutes late'. Anyone who deals with us would be advised to lie about the start point for events. If your show starts at midday, tell us it starts at 11am. I won't mind. You are doing us a favour.

I'm not taking all the blame, mind. It's the clocks.

All the clocks in the house tell different times. I've counted them up now. We have fifteen clocks. Three are in a drawer. One of those is still ticking. Yesterday, Shark said 'There's a strange sound coming from the drawer.' So we all stand round, listening, wondering if it is a bomb. The idea that it might be a clock in a drawer doesn't occur to any of us. It crosses my mind that it might be an unexploded warhead Squirrel has found in a field, brought home undetected and shoved in one of her nests. But no. It's a clock that Tiger made last year. Then I remembered. I put all the home-made clocks in the drawer because I couldn't stand the ticking. It was like living behind Big Ben. I've disarmed the warhead now by taking out the battery.

Six of our clocks are attached to the walls. One I took the battery out ages ago because it was a very loud tick and anyway, the minute hand was always getting stuck and just jumped up and down when it got to number 8. The other clock, facing it, is five minutes slow. Which I take into account when I look at the one in the kitchen, which is three minutes fast.

The rest of the clocks are scattered around on various electronic items. The oven clock is the best. Since the oven door fell off, I wonder if there's been consequential damage, probably from the enormous amount of heat which rises up everytime we try and bake potatoes. Anyway, it does its own thing. Last week it was trying to tell me it was 27:80.

So perhaps, what with the genes and the realia resources, I am at a disadvantage in trying to teach the time to Squirrel, Shark and Tiger. But I've tried. And not just today, either.

I've pointed out all the different times on all the different clocks. We've looked at pictures in books. We've moved plastic hands round plastic faces. We've made our own clocks, as the evidence shows, in the drawer. I've drawn lots of clocks over paper plates. I've drawn a half-metre-high clock on the big blackboard. We've watched clocks on platforms, in airports, and at the dentist. We've done tell-the-time jigsaws with Thomas the Tank Engine, tell-the-time jigsaws with Pooh and Tigger, tell-the-time with Peter Rabbit, tell the time with effing sodding Bunny and all his effing Pixie friends.

So it's not surprising I'm becoming a tad frustrated on this one.

Take today. After an hour and a half of watching the minute hand on the clock tick round, pointing it out, writing down its movements, looking at our paper plate teaching clock I made this morning, explaining the big hand, the little hand, the minutes, the hours, the seconds of the terrible toiling progress of those dreadful hands, tick-tocking their way round the Alice in Wonderland clock face, I'm foolish enough to wonder if any of it has gone in, perhaps just this once.

'What time is it?' I ask Shark. The big hand is pointing to the 2 and the little hand is pointing to a fraction past 5. 'Two minutes past five' Shark says. So I get up very quietly, come into the office, and rip up my paper plate teaching clock. And I look over to the office clock. It's stopped. Now, where are the matches?


grit said...

Well, how surprising. You'll notice that this posting was apparently made at 13.34. Oh really. According to my clock it was made at 18:22.

And I'm posting it two days late and massaged the date. But hey, it was in draft.

Michelle said...

Yes, I've been meaning to tell you your PC doesn't seem set to GMT. You need to change your settings. But I felt you had enough problems already. :-)

As someone who did not learn to tell the time until well into junior school, I think Shark is doing brilliantly well. She's so nearly right and that's a very easy mistake to make.