IF IT’S not too impertinent to ask, what do you do with your time? You look up from your labour – which is not how you should see reading this column but there it is – and reply: “What time? I never have any time, ken?” Oh, I ken. I ken.

Well, fear not. For, soon, you may have more time than you know what to do with. Now, I know that many people are not up to their earlobes in work or parenting or reading newspapers. Some folk happily coast into retirement, for example, and manage the existential challenge of boredom rather well (though reports this week suggest growing numbers are working beyond pension age).

But, for many decent ratepayers, time means work. Work is what makes money, and money makes life easier, at least when we’ve time to spend it. Well, brace yourself for this: an influential think-tank called Autonomy is seriously and urgently suggesting that, if we really want to save the planet (and, personally, I’ve not made up my mind yet but carry on), then we’re all going to have to go on a nine-hour working week.

When I say “we all”, I’m referring to the citizens of Britland. In Germany, it would be three hours and, in Sweden, a laborious 12. If you’re not getting the logic of this, come with me as I endeavour to make some up.

The idea is that (as I’m sure many of you have guessed) when we work we increase carbon emissions. This is because our economies and current levels of productivity are carbon-intensive. I’m sure this is correct, though I can’t pretend I follow it. I will be quite candid with you here and confess that, until recently, I had never thought that I was going about the place emitting. But there it is. Apparently, I am.

Probably driving doesn’t help. Ditto breathing and allowing one’s bottom to blow a raspberry. Maybe, at work, we use tools, from pens to spanners, that incur carbon emissions in their production.

As I say, I’m not doubting it. Just finding it hard to grasp. And I can never see the idea of a short working week catching on in Britain.

When computers started, folk said our working weeks would be cut by two-thirds. But what they did was fire two-thirds of the staff and give the remaining third three times as much work.

It’s a total non-starter expecting the notoriously industrious Germans to settle for a three-hour week. With all that time on their hands, they might start getting restless – and we really don’t want that. But we’ll all be getting restless. We could take up a hobby, I suppose, but who’s going to spend 31 hours a week with their train set? Oh, you are, madam? Well, there’s always one.

According to Autonomy, relaxing at home should now be “less of a luxury and more of an urgency”. As for incomes, well, at least we’ll have “time prosperity”. I’m afraid if you think the capitalists are going to pay us the full wage for a nine-hour week, then you’ve more irrational optimism than a new Scotland football manager.

As for productivity, it’s recommended that robots could be deployed but, after the experience of having one as prime minister

for the last three years (present writer holds large onion under eye and pretends to greet in sympathy), the jury is out on the efficacy of that.

The point you have to keep in front of you is that, according to those who know, the planet is in danger of going down the Suwannee if we don’t take radical action. Environmentalists say the need is urgent, but I suspect we’d have to go about this gradually, one day at a time, and that’s before we start thinking about the implications for income.

So, the challenge for the future might be for those of working age, as well as others, to use their spare time creatively and make it just as enjoyable as work. Joke. Perhaps we’ll see an explosion of art and an increase in voluntary activities. Or perhaps we’ll see increasing wear and tear on sofas, and a corresponding need to produce more of these.

UNIDENTIFIED monarch in the packing area! Her Majesty, a Queen, was shown the self-service tills at Sainsbury’s this week and had this question for the supermarket’s attendant goons: can one cheat with these?

The answer was that, theoretically, one could. However, it was felt by the supermarket that the essential goodness of human nature would prevent this from happening. The fools!

Somebody handed Her Maj one of these for-life bags – for whom the bag tills – but she already had her trademark handbag with her and it can hold many potatoes.

It has to be said that the Queen wore the mask of interest well – as she so often has to do – and, when told that many shoppers preferred the allegedly speedy checkouts, she averred: “I’m sure they do. Everybody wants to hurry.”

With all due respect, Ma’am, this is incorrect. Indeed, after a Sainsbury’s in yonder Brighton went all self-service, a movement has been growing to shun the bossy machines and bring back more tills with actual folk on them.

Some people will dismiss these protesters as basket-cases, but you’d be off your trolley to underestimate them. And, after all these awful puns, I think aisle move right along.

I WAS impressed, and a little relieved, that writer Ian Rankin had 50 boxes of papers and notes. So, it wasn’t just me who hoarded such stuff.

The difference is that Ian has donated his to the National Library of Scotland, whereas as I’ve given most of mine to recycling. I had to do it when moving house recently and, though it pained me, it was also therapeutic.

Perhaps sloughing off my past would help me make a new start, loosely based on the old starts. My youthful diaries went into the shredder Watergate-style, even though they could have formed the basis for an interesting and amusing novel based on lists of things that I’d watched on telly.

My early novel manuscripts were all pulped too. In the past, I thought I’d hang on to all my drafts and scribbles, as these would undoubtedly prove useful to the many biographers writing about me years after my death. However, I have privately conceded that this is looking unlikely now.

Everything I write today is on computer, anyway, and the thought of it being hoarded somewhere in the electronic ether, despite my best efforts to destroy it, is discombobulating in the extreme.

IT proved a bit much for our illustrious ancestors, the Picts, but it seem that at last Hadrian’s Wall is starting to crumble. It has become Hadrian’s Fall.

What could be bringing about the destruction of such an impressive military defensive structure, which has stood the test of time hitherto? Answer: marauding armies of holidaymakers armed with deadly technology used for taking “selfies”.

Whole families have been seen standing atop the structure, cheesing away for the all-seeing iPhone. There are signs telling folk not to do it but, doubtless, these are seen as infringing on people’s “rights”.

As a result, parts of the wall are starting to collapse. The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius said: “If it is not right do not do it.” Hardly rocket science, but you have to remember he lived before rockets were invented.

And he’s still basically right, though I suppose it depends how you define “right”? Is it right to stand on ancient monuments and wear them away so you can get a selfie to show your friends? Nope. It ain’t. So we need to put a stop to this. Otherwise future generations will be entitled to ask: what did we ever do for the Romans?