And So It Begins…

This is another moan from me about messing around with the time by putting the clocks back and forward.

This is 2022. Farmers have headlights on their vehicles, and computer-guided ploughing.

Kids in most areas get taken to school by car, or go on a school bus or coach. In cities where they still walk to school, there are street lights. In country districts where they still walk to school there are presumably parents to escort them, if they are young enough to be in any danger.

What is the point of this archaic practice? No doubt you will tell me, and no doubt I will disagree.

Last night in Beetley, it was pitch dark by 5:10 pm. That makes the night feel longer than it needs to be, and affects people (like me) with SAD.

My dog Ollie will take a while to adjust. He wanted to go out for his walk at 10:45 am, and nagged for his dinner before 1pm.

I felt as if I wanted to eat my own dinner before 6pm, and I was ready to go to bed just after 9:45 pm.

Stop it, you powers that be. Let’s get into the 21st century. We no longer live in the nineteenth.

We have electric lights, not candles.

Victoria is no longer the Queen. She has been dead since 1901.

Farmers are selling off land for house-building and solar panels. We import much of our food as a consequence.

Animals live in barns or sheds, in the main. They have lighting, warmth, and are fed and milked by machines.

Get a grip, and realise it is completely unnecessary.


The Extra Hour

This morning, we woke up to the seasonal time change. It was almost eight, but now only seven, in ‘new time’. I have posted previously about how much I detest this messing around with time. Of course, those early mornings will be a little lighter, but it will now be dark not long after four-thirty, and the evenings will seem interminably long.

I no longer like driving in the dark, as there is little or no road lighting in Norfolk. So any trips will have to start earlier, to make sure I get home before it is pitch black. Other than making the early morning school run lighter for parents and children, I really cannot see the point of continuing this archaic process. I doubt the farmers get anymore done in just one hour, especially when you consider that they lose that light at the end of the day anyway.

And animals don’t have watches. They know how to cope with the changing seasons without having to fiddle with the concept of time. Ollie is not fooled by it, and adjusts almost immediately to the slight change in his routine. Although when it gets to midday later, and he thinks it will soon be time for his afternoon walk, he will be a little confused as to why I am not getting ready.

It is high time (pun intended) we just scrapped this silly old tradition. Nobody wants it, and if time has any real value, it shouldn’t be messed with.

Thinking Aloud on A Sunday

What’s O’Clock?

This is a rather ancient expression for asking the time. You might see it in a Shakespeare play.
I woke up thinking about Time this morning, specifically how to tell the time.

When I was young, I was taught to say “Do you have the time please?” when enquiring of an adult. Telling the time was something I remember learning from a very young age. A wooden clock face, with moving hands, and coloured numbers. My Mum asking me constantly, “If the big hand is on-, and the small hand is on-, what time is it? She would place the hands close together around the dial, explaining “This is a quarter-past, this is half-past”, and so on.

By the time I was in the ‘big school’, (juniors) it was taken for granted that I could tell the time. Every classroom had a big clock on the wall, as well as one in every corridor, and in the school entrance. Time was important of course. We had to be in school by a certain time, go for breaks and lunch at other times, and we all soon learned the time that school finished for the day. I was too young to be given a watch. Rough play and football games would almost certainly have resulted in it being damaged or destroyed, and watches were expensive, in 1959.

In central London, there was no shortage of clocks to see what the time was. Many churches had four clock faces, as did the local Town Hall, most other public buildings, and lots of shops, who used the clocks outside to double as advertising their name. Between my school and home, I could probably have seen the time easily, at least five or six times. Once at secondary school, I got a watch, given as a treasured present for a birthday, or perhaps at Christmas. It was mechanical of course, with an audible tick, and it had to be wound up every night, when I went to bed. Later on, I was given a more stylish example, with a date function visible under a magnified section of the glass face.

By the time I was 15, I had to get two trains to go to school, so time became more important than ever. I was bought an alarm clock, to make sure I got up in time; it had an incredibly loud tick, luminous numbers and hands, and two jangling bells on top. Once washed and dressed, on went the wristwatch, checking that I was in time for the train. As I approached the station, the large platform clock became visible, and I would check my watch against it, in case there was a minute or two difference. When I left school and started work, that routine continued for a while, as I soon discovered than employers do not like their staff turning up late. Technology was moving on with me, and watches now had batteries, and no longer needed to be wound up. But I liked my old watch, so kept winding it happily.

Not long after that, I saw my first digital watch. A clunky, black-plastic affair made by Casio, with red numbers telling the time. I thought it looked awful, and stuck with my conventional leather-strap watch. Those new digital watches soon became so common, they were giving them away at petrol stations if you filled up, or you could buy them for next to nothing, even in street markets. But I saw a real issue. They had no hands. You looked at the red or blue numbers, and they showed the time in a digital format, such as 3:10. You could press a button on the side, and the date would appear, usually the wrong (American) way round, like 11/23.

Much later, I realised the full impact of this change. Young people were no longer learning how to tell the time. The big clocks on public buildings and shops were not corrected anymore, and many were left showing the same time forever. Clocks in schools and offices were changed to digital displays in the main, and not long after, the station clocks were replaced with digital alternatives too. But all this was nothing, once the mobile phone achieved its modern popularity. All phones can be set to show the time, in a digital format. Watches became redundant, for those with phones. Car clocks became linked to DAB radios, and no longer had hands either. With the exception of the iconic clock known as Big Ben, there were hardly any hands on anything that told the correct time. Digital time-keeping had arrived, on everything from a microwave oven, to the central heating controller.

Generations of people have grown up not knowing something as simple as how to tell the time by looking at a clock face.

I don’t know about you, but I think that’s very sad.

Thinking Aloud on a Sunday

Altering time

Julie was away last night, visiting her grandson. After a quiet evening watching some Nordic-noir drama on TV, and some blogging duties, I went to bed before midnight. I slept very well with no disturbances, rousing this morning before 9 am, not bad for me on a weekend.

But I soon realised that it wasn’t 9 am at all, it was 8 am. How did this happen? You might wonder. Had I slipped through some time anomaly as I slumbered? Was I living in a Twilight Zone episode, where time made its own decisions? The explanation is far from exciting, I am sorry to tell you.

The clocks had gone back. As with most years, I had forgotten, and became confused by the clocks on the cooker and microwave saying one time, but the (self-adjusting) clock on the central-heating timer telling me something else. As it was still quite gloomy outside, that should have told me that it was not yet sunrise. But the Beetley skies are often gloomy, so that’s of little use as an indicator.

Later on, I will have to reset those clocks that still tell yesterday’s time, and wind my watch back an hour. Many devices do reset themselves on these occasions. The clock on the PC is telling the ‘right’ time, as is my phone, and the TV too. If the DAB radio signal works well enough in my car, that will sort itself out as well. So, we had that much-lauded extra hour in bed, as the TV presenters always like to refer to it. When this happens the other way round, in the Spring, we supposedly lose one hour of sleep. If you are a shift-worker, as I was for most of my life, you might have worked an extra hour for nothing last night. Not much fun, I assure you. They say that you make it up by gaining that hour in the Spring, but what if you are not on duty that night?

Anyway, enough waffling, what am I thinking aloud about?

Well I am thinking that time is something of a nonsense, to be honest. If I fly across the world to another country, the time there will be different, as it will be in another time zone. Anyone visiting Europe from today will find themselves two hours ‘behind’, but only for the next six months. Time as we know it is something of a meaningless construction, something that can be altered by turning the hands on a watch, or by the edicts of a government. In fact, time as we all generally accept it doesn’t actually exist. It was invented, then played around with, to give structure to the working day, or for the benefit of the hordes of agricultural workers who once farmed the land. Later on, it was retained so that school children could walk to school in daylight, and everyone knew what time a train departed from a station.

I would like to see so-called ‘daylight saving time’ scrapped. No more BST/GMT please. It has no place in a modern world. We have enough time issues to deal with, without having to mess around with clocks twice a year, then end up believing it is getting dark ‘too early’, when in fact it was the same time it got dark yesterday.

For those of you reading this in the UK, enjoy that ‘extra hour’.