Telling the time

Who would have thought that telling the time could be so much fun and a riveting topic of conversation?!

Two summers ago, grandson was promised a watch, if he could learn to tell the time. Well, he did, sort of, but two years later, we are still talking about the time. We’ve just missed a bus and the next one is in thirteen minutes, what will the time be? If the cake is cooked in twenty minutes, what time will it be? If we have to wait a quarter of an hour for it to cool, when can we eat it? And so on.

Kids are used to working in base ten,  but asking them to work in base sixty and in units of five is another thing altogether. Quarters are fifteen minutes long. There is five minutes between each number on the clock. How can forty-four minutes past ten also be sixteen minutes to eleven? Quarter past or quarter to? How can fifteen o’clock also be three o’clock? Lots to think about.

And then there’s clock watching. I spent part of one morning clock watching the secondhand with grandkids. “Tick, tick, tick, tick, five, tick, tick, tick, tick, ten, tick … ” When we got to sixty, the long hand had moved one space and we started again – for twenty minutes! At eleven o’clock, they were rewarded with crisps, biscuits and a drink.

Working with the oldest grandchildren, the younger ones overhear and try to join in. Will learning to tell the time be any easier for them? Who knows?


Do we get the leaders we deserve?

When the results of the last general election in 2010 were announced, I was disappointed that no party got overall majority. Things might have been more clear-cut. But then I thought that to have two parties in power might not be a bad thing. At least they could moderate each other’s excesses, couldn’t they?

When we elect leader, we tend to choose people in our image. People who think like us,who have similar values to us. So our MPs, in this case, are a reflection of what we are like collectively. I suppose you could say we get the leaders we deserve. Hmm …

Now, in 2012, we are asked to chose a mayor for London. Who is best suited to serve your interests and those of your fellow Londoners? None of them, probably. We might say that those who have been mayor did a bad job and those who aspire to the role have limited experience to be able to undertake such a task.

Londoners will use different strategies to choose the best candidate to be mayor. Some will blindly support the candidate that represents the political party of their choice, without thinking too hard about the consequences. Others will seriously consider the record and proposals of each candidate and weigh them up before voting. And I am sure there are those who will just take a stab in the dark and hope for the best. Ultimately, it may be that the candidate chosen on the day might be the one who has presented themselves best during the televised hustings. It only takes one fatal slip to expose a candidate’s faults and put them out of the running.

Let’s face it, there will be no unanimous acceptance of the winner. Whoever is chosen will have an uphill struggle to win the hearts and minds of all Londoners. Will we get the leader we deserve? As one friend suggested, maybe we should pray for a good outcome of the election.