Memory plays tricks on what week it is

THE prospect of making someone eternally grateful is too tempting to pass up. A kind reader has invited me to earn his time-limitless appreciation by explaining to him how he can recall something from half a century ago but not the recent past. What promp

THE prospect of making someone eternally grateful is too tempting to pass up.

A kind reader has invited me to earn his time-limitless appreciation by explaining to him how he can recall something from half a century ago but not the recent past.

What prompted this was the mystery picture (below) in last week's Perspective of an unusual sundial on the side of a house in Hitchin.

I wondered what some of the symbols and markings featured might mean.


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My helpful correspondent points out that there appears to be the hours from 10 to six on the bottom half of the sundial and around the dial are what he thinks are the symbols from the 12 signs of the zodiac.

"To me that would make perfect sense on such an object - light, sun, months, four seasons etc," he writes.

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To prove his correctness he says: "I am sure I recognise these symbols from a book I had when a child, around 50 years ago."

As he suspects that he and I are of a similar age - I suppose he means mature but still in the prime of life - he wonders if I can enlighten him on why he can remember something from all those years ago but not recall what he did last week.

I'm glad to. Its simple really, all to do with long term memory and short term memory. They are different beasts.

I take great pleasure exploring my mind thanks to my old friend long term memory but must admit that I can suffer from the other sort.

I hope that is of some help to whatsisname who wrote to me the other day.

I'm swiftly coming to the conclusion that "special" weeks to promote this that and the other are becoming wackier.

They used to be few and far between - National Smile Week is one I remember from years ago - but now everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon and filling the calendar to bursting point and beyond.

Did you know that last week was International TV Turn Off Week? Apparently this was prompted by the fact that children cram in nearly six hours of inactive screen time a day.

This sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity, putting health in danger, so what better than to turn off the TV and get busy buzzing round the kitchen creating healthy meals majoring on fruit and vegetables? I reckon the only way to get most youngsters to do that is to guarantee that there is a TV on the worktop.

Coming up in May is National Weed Control Week which I understand is not about kicking sand in the face of six-stone weaklings on the beach but more to do with getting out in the garden - ah, the healthy open-air choice - and doing battle with the dandelions, rosebay willowherb, common thistle, common couch and broad-leaved dock before they completely take over your plot.

Surprise, surprise - promoting this week is a horticulture company trying to flog its brand of weed killer.

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