Back on home ground, instituting yet another attempt to bring routine into my life, I realise I am psychologically stalled by three o’ clock in the afternoon. By stalled, I don’t mean I have reached a point where I can’t do anything. It’s more that I’ve reached a point where I’m resigned to not achieving anything for the rest of the day.
This is of course a silly way to see the day. I don’t have this problem on holiday. Away from Leeds, I can look at the time around about now and think: Great, loads of time to do x,y,z.
But here in real life, 3pm is my witching hour. My Cinderella moment. If it’s not done by now, forget it until tomorrow. I can see clearly how it’s happened: it’s all the fault of 16 years of school runs. ‘My’ day necessarily stopped as soon as I had to go and collect children. Now I don’t have to collect anyone, my circadian rhythms are all skewed. I have to retrain my mind to work through 3pm.
And so I’m sitting down now to read a book of memoirs about the great singer Kathleen Ferrier which I picked up for 50p this morning at The Leeds Library book sale. I shall give it to my mother after I’ve finished it. I have a million other things to do and read, but I’ve busied myself with post-holiday jobs and admin all day so far, so this is a little interlude into another world.
Written and compiled in 1954, it’s a world where being a Lancashire Lass was THE defining characteristic of this extraordinary singer. Where post-war austerity was still in evidence, and hard graft and thrift were leavened and rewarded for ordinary folk by enthusiastic music-making.
I am sitting here and reading it as part of my mental re-training exercise. I can think of no better way of achieving freedom from the tyranny of 3pm.