The past, as we all know, is another country. Commonly, when we visit a distant land, we seek to navigate by making comparisons with home, and one of the easiest landmarks we may use is the time – we know we are on GMT, or Eastern Standard Time, and we compare that with the time at home so that we can think about what our friends or family might be doing.

Similarly, we link ourselves to the past – on this day, we think, Henry VIII was crowned, or Luther nailed his theses to the door of the Cathedral at Wittenburg. Such a comparison seems to give us a peep at another time – allowing us to create an image in our mind of a concrete event. But beware – time is more slippery than you may think – hours, days, months, and even years may not be what they seem.

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