Oh I do enjoy that fine old saying "where did the time go?"

Because it makes basically no sense at all because we don't know where it went ... except that it was dispatched to somewhere in the past.

Although I know where time went back in 1985 when I thought I was just swell and dandy because I had acquired what in hindsight was a pointless time-piece.

It was a digital watch (virtually an extinct species now) which for reasons nothing more than novelty had a calculator board on the face.

Advertisement

A calculator board so small you needed the tip of a ballpoint pen or a match to depress any of the buttons.

It had no practicality whatsoever as even if you were able to push a couple of buttons the image on the tiny screen was almost impossible to read anyway.

But hey, it was a conversation piece and like the daft berk I was I wore it everywhere.

Even during a wander along Mahia Beach with the family once and when one of the kids pointed out a little crab in the shallows I plunged my hand in after it.

The digital watch, it transpired, was far from waterproof and that day ended its pointless life.

Final score ... little crab 1, pointless piece of Japanese-made digital tomfoolery nil.

So on that occasion yes, I knew where time went.

It went into about 20cm of salt water.

As I dash this tale out I realise time has indeed been dissolving at quite a rate of late.

For it is now, in calendar terms, mid-winter.

Time has nibbled away six of the 12 weeks devoted to winter already, which is a good thing for those who have no time for the most chilled of seasons for they will shout with glee that in six weeks time the freesias will be in full flourish and the blossom will paint the landscape.

Thus far I have used a raincoat just twice, and one of the most intriguing things I have heard of late was that "we could do with it being a bit colder" - that came from a member of the wine industry.

They want some very chilled, dormant days to step everything back to absolute neutral so that when spring does arrive ... in about seven hours ... the vines will step into a whole new, clear and fresh growing world.

For things have been, on the whole, rather mild.

Given the common consensus back in the weird warmth of mid-June that July would see it "really kick in" I would have to assume it will now be August when things will really come apart, in the meteorological sense.

And if it doesn't the early spring of September will be targeted.

Ahh the passing of time, and at this stage of the year, while the sun is still rather gloomily low in the sky, it needs to be noted that the days are indeed beginning to get longer.

Last Tuesday the sun rose at 7.30am and set at 5.06pm.

Today it will rise around 7.27am and set at 5.11pm.

We've made up eight minutes in one week ... break out the sunscreen.

Of course these are the writings of an individual in winter denial, or which I have always been.

Unlike a chap I was talking to (about the weather) last week who confessed he wasn't big on the sapping summers.

He preferred winter.

So I daresay my musings of the days growing longer and the lack of true refrigeration temperatures will not strike a chord in his direction, but he need not be too concerned for Father Time will soon deliver him another winter, although I'd rather not think about that right now.

So let me consider that word "time".

For it is one of those four-letter words which can be re-jigged letter-wise to create four different words.

Time, emit, item and mite.

Whilst languishing there at 3 in the morning in the mysterious land of insomnia I often sift through the landscape of words, seeking such insignificant literary facts.

Like three words from three letters ... apt, tap and pat.

Then, whilst considering that in what will seem like the blink of an eye it will be spring, I came up with four letters which can make five words and felt very chuffed.

So what do you reckon?

I'll disclose it next week ... that's plenty of time for any other sleepless wordsmiths to come up with such a literary suspect.

- Roger Moroney is an award-winning journalist for Hawke's Bay Today and observer of the slightly off-centre.