As much as I like spontaneity, impromptu and off chance I also crave routine.

At school we were governed by bells, the bell that jangled first thing in the morning indicating it was time to put our cosy toes onto cold Lino, the clanging bell calling us to breakfast where we would line up outside the dining hall ready to take our places at our tables for the term, the ringing bell that chivvied us to assembly, then the end of lesson bells that were like torture when it was a double lesson. No need for timepieces as our world was determined by bells.

Going to college was a different bell game, there were no bells for wake up calls as we were expected to wake up and get to breakfast ourselves, we looked at our watches and made our way to lessons where there were bells indicating the start and end of lessons.

During the holidays the Broadmoor alarm rang out at 10am every Monday reminding us that the alarms were being tested and then a few minutes later the all clear. If the alarm went off at any other time we were made aware that we had to go somewhere safe or not leave where we were.

The bells, the bells – they ruled us, they made us get to where we were meant to be and in hindsight it made us a tad lazy.

Working in an office there were no bells, no end of the working day klaxon but we knew we had to be at our desks for 9 and at 530 we would throw whatever hadn’t been done into the intray and we’d file out past security to the trains where the whistle blew or the guard would wave. No beep beep beep like the trains of today, when the doors shut the train would leave.

Now though the bells have been replaced by different triggers – alarms on phones, the news on the radio with the presenter saying “here’s insert name with the insert time “, a clock watching child who hates to be late to school and then the plain old body clock.

Oh yes the bodyclock. During the holidays I woke up at 615 with no alarm clock, yesterday I turned over at 630am and went back to sleep until 7am, waking in a panic at 745. Today I woke up at 520.

I long for routine!


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