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  • Time. It is relentless, unstoppable, immoveable, perpetual. The Arrow of Time has no beginning and no end.

    We are slaves to time. Time controls our daily lives. We have timetables, timesavers, timepieces, clocks, watches, chronographs, digital, analogue, even sundials and moondials. We have to ‘be there on time’, we try to ‘find time’ and we try to ‘save time’. We cannot escape it or ignore, it cannot be seen, touched or heard, yet it affects every one of us . . .

    Several years back, my life was in somewhat of a turmoil. I was not happy at work and my relationship with my partner had broken down. I was angry and lost. I spent too much time commuting, too much time working, and not enough time at home.

    I needed to clear my head, take a break from the stresses of daily life and recharge the batteries. I needed to take time out and find some time for myself, time to think, time to relax, time to reflect.

    I found that time in an all but brief week in Northern France. Normandy to be exact, near the D-Day beaches. It was an easy 4 hour drive from Calais to the cottage I rented on the edge of the Parc Naturel Régional des Marais du Cotentin et du Bessin. The Marias is a wetland, a beautiful area of flat marshes in the La Manche region of Normandy famous for President butter, Camembert cheese, black and white cows and Calvados. The Marais is dry in the summer and flooded in the winter, but always peaceful.

    Upon arrival, the very first thing I did, even before unpacking the car, or pouring a delicious glass of wine, was remove my watch and abandon it in the glove box of the car.

    For the entire 6 days, I tried to avoid anything that showed, spoke, inferred or even implied the time. I cooked at a time I wanted, I slept when I wanted, I rode my cycle when I wanted. My only awareness of the passage of time was day turning to night turning to day turning to night.

    I lived the whole week that way. It was a truly liberating experience. There was no ‘I have to be there for a certain time’ or ‘It’s time to go out’ or ‘Is it time to eat yet?’ It was a truly ‘stress free’ week. I was relaxed, I did my thinking and my batteries were recharged.

    It had been a wonderful week. I may not have been able to halt the onward advance of time, but for that one short week, time stopped for me.

    Sadly though, the week drew to a close. It was time to load the car, time to get on the road and get to the ferry in time for departure. It was time to go home, and time to get my life back on track.

    Ah yes, there was one last thing, it was time to put my watch back on!
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