Time’s running out


Despite the time displayed, I did not take this photo at 3.25am (silly clock!)


Farewell, old friend

It was 1982. I’d saved enough pocket money. I was ready to spend it on my first major purchase – a clock radio. So Mum and Dad took me to – I’m tempted to say Brashes, to make the story sound more 80s, but it could have been anywhere – and I returned with a big box under my arm. I plugged it in, set and tuned it, and the radio has stayed with me ever since.

At the time, the idea of having my own alarm clock made me feel big and grown up (only adults, as far as I knew, needed an alarm to wake up. I didn’t. I was still in primary school and woke at the same time every day. Oh, how things have changed!)

But it wasn’t just the fact I now had my own clock, which lit up at night, and an alarm. Which was pretty good, but this offered even more. This was no ordinary alarm clock. It was a clock RADIO – with FM band, no less.

I was now able to listen in the morning, or when I went to sleep (weekends only, of course). Every Sunday night, sometime after Countdown had finished on TV, I’d go to bed, and tune into Fox FM. Getting ready to listen to American Top 40, hosted by Casey KasemCasey’s .. Coast to Coast‘. American Radio. Have a listen to the link here (a bit of David Bowie, and a bit of Irene Cara – what a combination!)) What could be cooler than going to sleep listening to Bonnie Tyler, singing Total Eclipse of the Heart? (unless it was the new Hall and Oates song, of course – or maybe Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder singing ‘Ebony and Ivory’, or … the list goes on). I knew all the songs played at the nearest roller rink – not that we went often, but still. And I loved being up with the latest music and gossip.

Despite newer models – upstarts, really – I’ve never replaced my original radio. It’s remained with me, along with my books, side by side on my bedside table. It’s not without its quirks, I’ll grant you, but until now, I’ve embraced them.

  • I’m used to the process of not being able to reset the alarm instantly, instead scroll through the entire 24 hour cycle (inevitably missing it, only to run through it again). It’s somewhat meditative, strangely. Don’t rush the alarm setting process. Switch off from other distractions and go with the flow of the alarm setting process. Focus on the time as it rolls through. And then – and only then – will you will reach your desired time period setting.
  • The sound quality has deteriorated over time (or maybe my expectations have increased?). Either way, there seems to be a lot of static coming through the speakers, and the tuning is becoming less accurate.  But I no longer lie in bed listening to it (phones and ipads have replaced it). And to be honest, the irritation it causes adds to its effectiveness as an alarm, because I can’t lie there ignoring it once its out of tune crackling starts. So, actually, this adds to its charm as well. I’ve been prepared to see this as a positive as well.

But recently, it’s deteriorated further, and this is sometime I can’t just accept. Because it’s started to mess with the times. More specifically, it’s adding time. And that messes with my mind.

Initially I didn’t mind. I thought it was my husband, helping me get organised in the morning by adding minutes to the clock (therefore factoring in my dawdling time). Then I realised it wasn’t him. But it was still ok, because the time changes were reasonably slight – 10 to 20 minutes. And so I would wake up, get dressed and find that I had extra time up my sleeve. Bonus. However. Over the last week or so, it’s become out of control.

My husband, Al, congratulated me earlier in the week for giving myself enough time for a short run before work, and I looked at him strangely, because I thought I’d cut it fine (even allowing for the clock moving a bit forward). But no. I still had a lot of time. Strange. Then I realised, my alarm clock has been added progressively bigger advances in time over the past few days. I woke in a panic yesterday, thinking it was 8.15am (I kept hitting the snooze button to stop the crackle), but actually, it was only 6.10am. Last night, I went to bed a little late (one of the areas I am working on), but my clock told me it was FOUR HOURS later than I thought (and that it was). Clock, this time you’ve gone too far.

I’ve had to accept that my trusty alarm clock is no longer working. It’s starting to break. And so, after all this time together, we actually do need to make a break. It’s time for something new. And soon. But since the early 80s, it’s a whole new world of alarm systems, including connecting in with the iphone or ipad. Time to get on board. Time for a change. But once I’ve worked out what to replace you with, I’ll miss you. At least, for a little while.


The time has come – the fun run is now!

Speaking of time running out, the fun run that I’ve been trying to avoid thinking about is almost here. On Saturday I’m meant to be running 14km in one of the Great Ocean Road Marathon events. And I’m pretty nervous, largely because I haven’t trained properly. I’ve been thinking about why (I gave myself enough time). But time wasn’t the issue.

I’m realising, not for the first time, the importance of the relationship between a) action and b) self belief / self image / how we frame how we see ourselves. And that there are steps involved in changing this self image. I’m still unpicking it, and hope to write some more next week about what the experience has been teaching me.

In the meantime, I am hoping for reasonable weather. And I am aiming to draw on some inner reserves to do the best I can, even though this will still involve walking part of the course. And hoping to have fun, and be supportive of other members of my family, and our friends, doing other runs over the weekend (including the 44km ‘marathon and a bit’). Because, after all, this is a fun event. And, even more importantly, if I learn something from this, that is good too.

As someone said recently, ‘progress is more important than perfection or completion’. I agree. Now I just have to believe!



Over to you –

  • I need to replace my old alarm – any suggestions of where to start are welcome! (and no, I don’t want to use my phone solely – the risk of not charging it is too great).  
  • Have you held onto things a lot longer than other people? Why – because you are still attached to them? Because they still work so why would you replace them? For other reasons? (I’d love to know I am not alone!)
  • Any suggestions for my fun run to make sure it’s fun would be welcome  – I’m really starting to get nervous now!



8 thoughts on “Time’s running out

  1. Great writing Helen! I remember the purchase- was it at Myers? Very nostalgic.

    Thanks for sharing it.

    Hope you all have fun at Apollo Bay at the weekend.

    Keep well and safe.

    Love to you all,

    Mum and Dad etc xxxxx

    Sent by iPad power



    1. Thanks Mum and Dad! I really can’t remember where we bought it, but I do know it was very exciting for us all! (Liz was jealous, from memory, which also added to my feeling of pride!) Thank you – I’m sure we’ll all have fun – the kids are now registered for their events too xx


    1. I know – what a shame Brashes is no more (except in a facebook page take-off). And you’re right – the weather is meant to be lovely, so it will be fun, whatever my performance turns out to be!) x


  2. Ahhh, Helen. Your post took me back to my youth – the clock radio – if you had one of those, you needed nothing else in life. You didn’t mention the Top Eight at Eight – surely the same era? My Mum had the Rolls Royce of clock radios – hers had a tape deck – so you could tape off the radio! I know. So flash! It’s sad about your clock – but four hours! Good luck with your run. Even being spectator at these events is exhilarating – the adrenalin will see you right. Enjoy it. xx


    1. Maybe I did – American Top 40 has stayed in my mind though. And clearly I never needed anything else as I’m only just getting rid of this one (but had I known of the tape deck option …) Which reminds me – remember the tape to tape players? How fantastic were they? (Kids these days will never know the joy of mixed tapes). Thanks for your well wishes for the run (which will probably be mostly a walk, but that’s ok, really. It will be beautiful down there anyway) xx


  3. I cant believe it has lasted so long. Thats a testament to how well things used to be made… back in the old days 😉
    I have one that my iphone docks into so I can listen to radio or the music I have on my phone. How did the run go or is it this SaTURDAY? XX


    1. I think that’s what I’m going for (I haven’t quite got purchased one yet, but I checked them out today). And yes, the run – or more accurately, the run and then ralk (run/walk) went better than expected – and in such beautiful surrounds. Imagine if I’d trained?? Now I’ve covered the distance, even if I had to walk at times, I’m less scared of it, and will look towards 10km runs that I run fully. Building up the distance! xx


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