Christine Tongue: What I did when the Judge called time on court hearing

Christine has been pondering the meaning of time

A message to my MP: Craig, I know you read my column and you must be wondering why I haven’t been to Southwark Crown Court lately. Here’s why.

I had a physio appointment in London this Friday at the specialist (NHS of course) hospital that understands my peculiar bones. It costs a lot to go to London these days, (private train companies of course) so I combine seeing friends, family and popping in to see my MP, Craig Mackinlay, in court, with the medical stuff.

I planned to visit my friend Jackie, see her new grandchild, pop into court with her, take auntie for a curry and go to physio.

But courts are unpredictable beasts. The judge decides when they start and end and this week there was apparently a good reason for taking two days off.

So I had a free day. I used it to meditate on the meaning of time.

First I saw the physio, Anne, who was – as they always are – wildly encouraging even when you feel really decrepit. My core muscles have not vanished, I’m tightening the glutes really well. I’ve progressed to a stronger stretchy band thing to tie myself up in and do exercises, and I tried out using trekking poles instead of a stick – works your back better and makes you feel like a cross country skier, only without the snow, or the skis, or the apres ski, or anything actually.

But that didn’t stop Anne making me feel it might all be possible. She looks you in the eyes, smiles cheerily and you think you could achieve anything – in time!

I then went off to the Tate Modern to see more time in action. There’s a huge exhibition called Clock. It’s a 24 hour film which takes clips of film from all eras and countries and shows the exact time that it is just then. I know, sounds awful. But it’s wonderful. Big stars are only in there to glance nervously at their watches, Big Ben is everywhere, people hanging from the hands, people waiting for explosions or train arrivals, or important meetings.

You sit on comfortable settees and stay for hours. And you’re never late for anything as you know the exactly right time!

As a film maker I love the way it’s edited. Richard Gere stares at a clock that in the next shot is in the station in High Noon, for example. I made that up actually but that’s the idea.

I was determined to go for twelve noon as that’s such a significant moment in so many films, and I’d never have managed it if the court had been sitting. So thanks, Judge Edis, I had my chance!

But when I think about who should be in charge of what I do with my time. It’s not MPs or judges – they just upset you and make you worry about the future. It’s physios who should be in charge of everything! They’d smile in our faces and say “Well done! You can do much better than that!” And you can.

You could say I spent the day doing time – but please don’t!

At the time of writing, the case continues.

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