We are in that peculiar soft-centred hiatus between Christmas, strewn with chocolate wrappers and discarded paper hats and gift tags and exhausted Selotape, and a shiny brand New Year.


Pause for thought.


Does the Time really go faster when you’re a Grown Up or does it just appear that way? Time a Whirling Dervish.








Slipping. Slipping too quickly between my desperately grasping fingers.  Time a stereotypetoofastblur


I read a poem with my son. For English.


I stumble upon a phrase Tallow. Perishable Treasure.


Christmas Candles, I think.






And Time. Molten. Melting. Disappearing. Precious, precious Time.


Hat wished Christmas would hurry up.


Don’t wish your life away, I warned. As my mother warned me.


Now, with Christmas over, she wishes she hadn’t. Wished it upon us so fast.


But she is too little to worry about liquid days, fluid hours, a deluge of weeks that are submerged by months. So that before we know it next Christmas will come flooding in.


I wish Thursday would hurry up and come, she says.


On Thursday we are going to the beach.


I want to tack Time down. To fasten it firmly where I can keep an eye on it.  Quicksilver Mercurial Time won’t have it though.


Despite my efforts.


I take photographs.









To capture a single moment. So that, weeks, months, years from now, I can cast my mind back. Back in Time. And smile. And say, ‘Do you remember that Christmas …?’


And I gather a collection of words. Round them up. So that they might evoke a single day – an hour within a single day if I am lucky – with perfectly articulated precision. So that I might taste the honeyed saltiness of a ham, so that I might remember the piquancy of the Real English Mustard that accompanied it, so that I might recall my children’s smiles as they opened a particular gift, so that I might picture the storm that swept Christmas morning in so that power was swept out and stockings opened to candlelight cast at dawn. So that I might remember.


So that I might pin Time down. For a moment.


With my back to December, I face January. Briefly I am mythical two-faced Janus. If I were to catalogue my past year alphabetically, I wonder, what would I list under A?


I am an A. So is my eldest daughter. And my Husband. A for Africa.

B for my son. And Bush. I Live In The Bush.

C for Cyberspace. I live there too.

D-for-Dogs and walking on a Dam, E, F, G … H for Hat. My sustenance in O-for-Outpost. And Hats. To protect my A-for-African-weathered S-for-Skin and Sunny and Sandy and Solitary existence.

M gets the Most though: M defines Me, a Mum: Motherhood. Marriage. Madness. Absorbed by the first two, I tread respectfully, carefully tip-toe, about the third. My geography tempts it too close sometimes. Burton is his Anatomy of Melancholy (another one, another M): Be not solitary (too late, I am). Be not idle.


So I try not to be. And in this soft-centred hollow carved by retiring 2008 and incoming 2009, I scribble resolutions: understand more, worry less, learn French.


Don’t waste Time.








29 Responses to “Time”

  1. Janelle Says:

    great post anthea! and lets MAKE MORE TIME so we get to see each other this year…YES YES YES!!!! heaps of love always xxx janelle

  2. Catherine Yigit Says:

    Isolation seems to have the effect of forcing you to wish life away. Life becomes measured in visitors, holidays, trips away. A single day can be both an endless chore and yet fly by too fast to remember.

    Relativity’s a funny thing, with a twisted sense of humour.

    I hope you and yours have a very happy, peaceful New Year.


  3. Dumdad Says:

    An attempt to slow time is trying to stop a river with your bare hands. It can’t be done nor should it be. Go with the flow; tempus fugit, whatever.

    Thoughtful post. Well, it made me realise (again) how we must try to enjoy the moment. Photos and words and pictures can capture some of that essence.

    Bonne Année!

  4. Leilani Weatherington Says:

    Actually, I think there really is something different in the brains of adults that causes time to appear to pass more quickly than it does in children. You are so right about photographs and capturing the moment. To remember…

  5. The Finely Tuned Woman Says:

    yes, time passes more quickly as we get older. it is a great shame that it does, because we need more of it with all of our experience to apply to the finer points of life. but when i am bored and alone, i am glad it passes quickly and happy when i’ll be in the company of people again. i pray for the night to pass in the blink of an eye, feeling sleep to be a waste of time. i must make contact somehow, somewhere, through whatever means. all time alone is missed opportunity and wasted hours that have rushed by emptily. i blog, therefor i am.

  6. Iota Says:

    Happy New Year!

  7. Stinking Billy Says:

    memsahib, at last, and as I suspected, brilliance, no less, you are a poet (ess). I so wish we knew each other. x

  8. Mud Says:

    I am aware that I wish time away. Only I am not entirely sure what I am wishing it toward. This serves as a timely reminder to me to try to seize the day, or at least, to appreciate it.

    I’m glad you have your family back around the same table and hope that 2009 brings you all joy and laughter.

  9. French Fancy Says:

    That was so lovely I actually read it aloud.

    Time is so odd- the days just drift by here in a haze.

    I want to wish you and your loved ones a good year ahead. I sometimes get the impression that you are a very sad person and I hope it is not too overwhelming. It must be hard to be so far away from the life you once knew. Isn’t it strange how we end up in places we never imagined for one moment we would be in.

    Be well

  10. Mr Farty Says:

    Beautiful post. Thank you.


  11. kathleen Says:

    Happy New Year and Best Wishes to you and your family!

  12. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Janelle, yes. Lets x

    Catherine. you are right. they, the visits, the escapes, become the milestones with which i measure time. they help to speed it when it is too slow and lonely. but, alas, there is nothing to slow it down once i am there or they are here. i think happinness accelerates time.

    Dumdad – et vous aussi, Bonne Année! I think that’s the trick to nailing time down: extract the essence of every single moment and distil it as the perfect, perfect memory.

    thank you leilani, and for visiting.

    Finely Tuned – like you, i hate sleeping. i long for mornings. my nights are often broken. i like the connection. it is limited at 3am!

    and you Iota. ANd you. Perhaps we’ll share stories over a latte in 2009 x

    Thank you Stinking Billy. Oh but we do, know one another, in a way x

    Only I am not entirely sure what I am wishing it toward. – perfect Mud, perfect. I don’t think any of us do most of the time.

    Thank you French. I think i am sad sometimes. i think being lonely makes me sad. and directionlessness is bad for prompting feelings of sadness. i think i shall add Remember To Be Happier to that list … thank you.

    Thank you Mr Farty – and thank you especially for directing me to that link. I adore that song. I wrote a post once about bottling memories https://reluctantmemsahib.wordpress.com/2008/01/31/bottling-memories/

    and you, Kathleen, and you. All of you, Happy New Year x

  13. rosiero Says:

    Now I can put a face to a name! Best wishes for 2009.

  14. doglover Says:

    OK, we can’t stop time and, because so many things mean much less to us when we are older, we immediately forget them and are left looking back on partial days – unlike when we took an interest in every little detail of the day. So time seems to go much more quickly.

    One possibility is to keep a diary of all the things we have done and we can read it later to keep our memories alive. Photos, as you say, also help. And you will have your brilliant blogs to remind you of how you felt at different times.

    Thank you for fascinating us with your writings. May 2009 be a very happy year for you.

  15. val Says:

    OMG time – that slippery bandit of life. time it was nailed down or at least slowed. I thought it was an age thing, but young people tell me they feel it too. I think the Mayans have a theory on time moving faster and faster. Not sure – but it sure scares me! have a great 2009 and just live in the moment if you can 🙂

  16. Potty Mummy Says:

    Great post RM. And salutory, too. Note to self; stop and take time to actually enjoy this life, those boys will be gone before I know it.

  17. JoeInVegas Says:

    Very nice writing. I’ve spent a while here reading backwards – thank you for sharing.

  18. Stinking Billy Says:

    How did you come to miss memsahib out of your

  19. ali la loca Says:

    Loved this. Really, truly loved it. It spoke to me and expressed everything I wished I could during the New Year period.

  20. French Fancy Says:

    I returned to see how you were feeling and realised in my previous comment I forget to say something vital – even though you can’t see much of you in that photo, what you can see looks ever so glamorous – a big reason to be cheerful in my book.

  21. Sarah Ryan Says:

    wonderful. leaving me, as usual, with much to ponder.

  22. janelle Says:

    ok ok ok…where in allah’s name are you???? xxx

  23. Sarah Wolfe nee Nicklin /McAlpine Says:

    Hello stranger – this is where you have been hiding all these years!! Mind you it doesnt help me going away as well.

    Would love to catch with you again – back in contact with a few of the “gang” from GAS on facebook – join in its fun!!

    Now i have found your site – I will sit down with a glass of wine or two or anything really and catch up that way.

    Best wishes


  24. Nicola Says:

    Loukia sent me to your site, and I glad she did. You sum up this season and the hurry for the next ‘time’ perfectly!

  25. Laura Jane Williams Says:

    What a beautiful way you have with words… I have just found you via Lulu at Family Affairs. What a beautiful New Year surprise!


  26. Susanna (A Modern Mother) Says:

    Yes, you can’t stop it, even with a photo. Happy New Year!

  27. Maggie May Says:

    Time does go faster as you get older. I feel I am on a merry go round speeding up!
    Happy New Year.

  28. Roberta Says:

    Time has a way of fluctuating and changing everything you see. Watch it, revel in it, and appreciate the flow.

    Happy New Year Madame and know you have changed and enlightened the lives of all that read you!

  29. Anil Says:

    If only we could leave time alone, or maybe if only it would leave us alone!

    Not knowing a moment from an hour, an hour from a day, we would live by the light of the day.

    Happy New Year.

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