Friday, 8 May 2009

Time - Your Greatest Resource

I was dreaming about my old school last night, doubtless a consequence of reading about the Old Boys’ Association and their proposed name change. I guess I am something of a traditionalist, and don’t much care for change. The school in question is generally called simply Trinity School, but its official name is Trinity School of John Whitgift. Until 1956, the school was known as Whitgift Middle, and thus the Old Boys’ Association were named the Old Mid-Whitgiftians. Perfectly logical and sensible, yet 1956 is now a long time ago, and the argument for changing the name is that not many club members attended the school during its former identity. I would be sad to see the name go though. Old Midwives is a cool nickname for the club if nothing else.

Time is a strange beast, and so relative. When I started at the school in 1967, it was only 11 years into its new identity, yet from my perspective the former name might as well have been from the 16th century. Sometimes, it’s only when you look back that you get the proper perspective on things. As a kid I would ride my bicycle around the Kenley Aeordrome, close to where I lived. Me and my friends, I had some in those days, would explore the blast-pens and the bunkers, but the tales of the war from back in the 1940s were again stories that had about as much relevance to me at the time as tales of Julius Caesar or William the Conqueror.

Looking back though, the war was less than 20 years prior. As I write, it is 64 years to the day since the war ended in Europe. My old Mum was at the gates of Buckingham Palace celebrating, and not so old as she is now. (Sadly, it was the last time any member of my family has had anything to celebrate at the Palace). It’s only as you get older I think, that you can get a fuller perspective of time. I remember reading that time seems slower when you are younger because as a percentage of your life, any time interval is more. For example when you are ten years old, it seems like an eternity from one Xmas to the next, because as a percentage of your life, you have to wait 10%. When you are 50, and yes, people do live to that ripe old age so I am told, one Xmas to the next is just 2%.

Anyway, so that this post can be included in a betting blog, I’ll just mention that my first ever bet was struck in my first year at Trinity, on May 29th 1968. I wagered a full 6d, that’s 2½p to you younger readers, on Benfica to beat Manchester United in the European Cup Final. The newspapers were full of talk of how it was 10 years since the Munich Disaster, but once again, at that tender age, an event from 10 years earlier was in the same frame of reference as the Titanic going down.

My school was also influential in teaching me probability and being where I learned what 11 to 4 really meant and what the origins were of such a strange format. Strangely enough, this was all explained during one of our weekly government mandated Religious Studies classes, called Divinity in my day. That was a waste of time. I think once I’d realised that Santa Claus was made up, (when I was about 17 I think), it wasn’t a giant leap to suspect that God was imaginary too, and nothing has happened since to persuade me otherwise. The lesson on betting odds was at least useful, and I suspect the teacher shared my opinion on religion and was pleased to have something real to talk about.

I actually had two ladies knocking at my door yesterday, I am being totally serious I swear to God, spreading the word of Jehovah. After a brief exchange of opinions, I think they went away questioning their faith! I heard such gems as "Evolution isn't real because dogs can't give birth to cats", and "The Earth is 6,000 years old". Sadly, they seemd quite sincere about this. "Isn’t that about when Portsmouth last won the league?" I asked. "Or was that Liverpool"? In either case, it’s so long ago as to be irrelevant today…


PhilipH said...

Excellent and interesting post Cass. My take on religion, god and suchlike is the same as yours. I have to put up with much well-meant religious stuff from my sister-in-law, a spinster of the parish of Richmond on Thames. She was completely bewitched by Billy Graham when he came to the UK and she since then devoted her life to spreading the word. She went to Kobe, Japan, as a missionary for the Japanese Evangelical Band around 1960-ish and stayed there until she "retired" about ten years ago.

Although I think she is somewhat potty about her beliefs I do not ever argue with her or complain about her OTT faith. She is happy and has many friends of the same type - so good luck to them all.

Personally I think religion has always been a ploy to keep the serfs in place. God is watching you all the time, so be very, very careful! What tosh!

Still, to each his own.
Cheers, Phil

Anonymous said...

Hello Cassini, I hope you are well, I have been a daily reader of your blog for the last year and enjot your musings immensely.

I was wondering , if its possible would you provide a link to my blog as I have decided to start one as well.

Either way, Many thanks

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much fot that mate.

Many Regards