Relax, soon you will retire

11th September 1998 at 01:00
A WEEK, as Harold Wilson might have remarked, can be a very long time in Class 5J, particularly when they've started dishing out double lessons to the nine-year-olds.

Sixty yawning minutes of maths is a pretty depressing way to start anyone's week so I've been teaching Ginny a little trick that I used when faced myself with the unbroken monotony of school terms.

After all, if you can just stagger as far as break on Monday morning you're already halfway through to lunch, so it won't be much longer before you've got the whole morning out the way which, when you think about it, then puts you more than half way through day one already.

Thereafter you've only got Tuesday to complete before it's virtually Wednesday lunchtime, midpoint of the entire week. Then it's downhill all the way: less distance to travel than you've come already and suddenly - hooray - it's the weekend again. Hardly worth turning up in the first place.

I didn't invent this system. It was taught to me by my father who needed it because he had double maths on a Monday morning all his working life. The only drawback with clawing the future towards you so that it doesn't seem so daunting a prospect is that this process can also work against us. Turning 40 gave me no worries until a friend pointed out recently that I was now fourth-fifths of my way towards qualifying for a Saga holiday. My offspring are looking forward to half term already and why not? This Friday they'll be almost halfway towards the half way point on their holiday countdown - which is great - but that blissful week in October only comes down to five school-free days so, by her first Monday morning off, poor Ginny will already be able to see the entire week telescoping down to nothing ahead of her.

The shops don't help either with their blasted BACK TO SCHOOL signs as soon as we hit August. There'll soon be Hallowe'en masks, fireworks and, before we know where we are, it's November and Jingle Jingle Christmas in the stores already.

So from time to time it becomes necessary to slow time down a bit. Invite a life insurance salesman to call, ring a PC helpline and listen to Vivaldi for 15 minutes. Better still opt for a very long double period of maths every Monday morning.

And just wallow in it.

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