When I was a student, we went on a field trip. Imagine it. Thirty or so like-minded, bright, optimistic young things being shuttled away on a day trip. When you're studying property at Reading University, trust me, a day out is a fine and glorious thing. I imagine that we all hopped out of bed that morning with the giddy excitement of a child on Christmas morning, put on the uniform appropriate to our social set (jeans, trainers, and a holey jumper for some, chinos, deck shoes, and Ralph Loren with the collar flipped up for others) and skipped onto campus to pile onto a coach and hit the M4. In my mind, the sun was shining and there was Cliff Richard style singing in the aisle.
Oh yes. You can't beat it. The open road. The route set for an educational, but light hearted day out to see a case study in the flesh. That's right folks. We were going to a new housing estate in Essex.
I don't recall much about the housing estate in question. I don't even remember what it was called now, or why it was a relevant that we were shipped there to
What I do remember is that, in the middle of said estate, there was a green, and around the edge of the green there were nine huge boulders. Each one had a smooth side, and in large, foot high letters, a word was etched into the face. Standing in the middle of the green, and reading around, they said "take time while time is, for time will away".
Something about the phrase resonated with me. I googled (is "google" a verb?) it today. It's an old Russian proverb. Quite a nice sentiment, don't you think?
And never has it been more pertinent than recently. Time is in short supply!
My office days are flat out at the moment. I don't know if you've heard, but there's this recession thing going around, and it makes my work doubly hard and half as financially rewarding. I'm not complaining. I've got a job, which is more than a lot of people can say, so please consider me grateful to be over worked and under paid (well, perhaps not grateful exactly, but you know what I mean). But it doesn't half take a lot of time.
And there's this new house. It's great! My own little set of walls, and I love them! But MY WORD! they take a lot of loving! As we all know, just the cleaning, cooking, washing, ironing is enough to keep a girl busy, without the sanding, wallpaper stripping, hole filling, hole drilling stuff too. Time, time, time!
Then there is Loulou Workshop. It's my passion. I would give my arm to spend more time on it, but the time it takes is already significant. I always have a hundred more ideas for pieces, than I have time to make and I really want to have the time to be a bit more creative. I'm bursting with inspiration at the the moment, but you know what inspiration takes? That's right. Time.
And now there is a new project. With a group of friends from the Open House event, we are planning a BIG local contemporary art project. I think that I'm too much of a craftsman, and not enough of an artist to be an exhibitor, but there's talk of management committees and workshops and educational projects. It'll be a long term commitment. Yesterday, at the latest meeting about it all, I heard myself saying "I'm happy to dedicate time to this," and wondered as I said it where I thought this time would come from.
This weekend was the first one in four months in which I had nothing in my diary. I didn't have to be anywhere with anyone doing anything, with the exception of the quick art project meeting yesterday. Three days to myself. Heaven!
So, I went to the supermarket, viewed a shop for the art project, had friends for lunch, viewed another shop, had an impromptu brainstorm about the project, went into the West End for a leaving do, had the planned art project meeting, went back to the supermarket for all the things I'd forgotten, bought and hung curtains in the spare room, baked cakes, went to a friend's house on a tea-and-sympathy basis, dropped some books to another friend, went on a fruitless boot shopping mission (more about this another time I think), cleaned the house, did three loads of laundry and spoke to my mother.
Isn't it nice to have a bit of spare time?