Charles Nevin: Time now for the canine o'clock news

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The Independent Online

Happy Monday. Forgive me for running a bit late, but I'm celebrating the 20th anniversary two days ago of the lodging of a patent in the United States by RH Metts and BD Thomas for a watch to keep animal time as well as human time. They wanted you to be able to switch between GMT and, for example, DST (Dog Standard Time), which, of course, is seven times faster. You figure out how it works with British Summer Time, how quickly the hands would go round, and why on earth it hasn't caught on yet; I've a sudden and uncontrollable urge to take myself for a walk.

Actually, though, while we're on time, I should tell you that Michael Dean, a 59-year-old self-employed computer programmer and father of six from Brentwood, has finally been awarded his BSc by the Open University after 34 years, while a tortoise missing for two days in Devon has been found not very far away. According to my calculations, that's equivalent, in tortoise time, to how long it takes Chris Huhne to brake. Mystery, meanwhile, still surrounds how an eight-year-old cat missing from Birkenhead came to be found on the other side of the Mersey in Liverpool. There are the tunnels, of course, but that would not have allowed the Liverpool Echo the excellent headline, "Furry Cross the Mersey".

The experience of Mr Dean (above) prompts me to ponder other things that can take time: 1 Reading Gordon Brown's handwriting; 2 Reading the Archbishop of Canterbury; 3 Distinguishing between Gordon Brown and a Swedish model; 4 Considering who might have a grudge against Ed Balls;5 Working out which exam question is the wrong one; 6 Deciding exactly where to put your bat after a cruel run out; 7 Why Sepp Blatter has called in Placido Domingo rather than a fat lady; 8 Distinguishing between the Coalition and Chaos; 9 Deciding which Miliband is what; 10 No, I wouldn't bother with Sarah Palin's emails, either.

Time to remember Alexander the Great, who died, oh, 2,334 years ago today. Alexander's epitaph, reputedly, was, "A tomb now suffices for whom the world was not enough". You might prefer the epitaph WC Fields chose for himself: "On the whole, I would rather be living in Philadelphia". Happy Monday.