Summer Time Confusion

There’s a conversation happening up and down the country today;

“Don’t the clocks change around this time?”

“Yea, I think so, but I can never remember if they go back or forward…. let’s see, I think it’s fall back and spring forward…. I think!””Ok, but does that mean an hour more, or an hour less in bed?”

“Umm-spring forward…. the clock goes forward so 8 o’clock becomes 7… no 9 o’clock. So instead of getting up at 8, you will be getting up at 9.”

“So that’s an extra hour in bed then?”

“No I think it’s an hour less… oh I don’t know!”

“I suppose this also means the cooker clock is going to be wrong again for 6 Months because no one knows how to change the bloody thing!”

Figuring out the time change can be a nuisance but at least it’s better then the alternative morning after conversation

“Come, or we will miss our flight.”

“What time is the flight again?”

“10:30 – That gives us over 2 hours”

“But it’s 9 now! Oh no, did the clocks change last night?”

” Oh for f@%& sakes…..”

The precise details of the up coming clock change is:

At 1 am on Sunday March 24th (ie. Saturday night into Sunday Morning), the clocks will go forward an hour to 2am. You will have 1 hour less in bed!

IMG_0156Although the original idea of changing the clocks is thought to have been proposed by Ben Franklin in the 1700s, it was not till 1916 during World War I that it was officially adopted by Germany, the first nation to do so. The idea was to have more daylight during working hours and thus improve productivity and decrease energy consumption (less heat and light needed!). Although they were at war at the time, the British followed suit a year later. Obviously even when you are fighting with the Germans, you got to admire their efficiency. Over the following years, different countries adopted the move and although the dates and hour change has changed and even been abandoned by some for a while, it has been with us ever since.

Because the hour change occurs at different times across the world (the US for instance put their clocks forward 2 weeks ago), calculating time difference around the globe is a challenge this time of year as well as in October when the clocks go back again! In the US itself it is even more confusing because States like Arizona don’t change at all and in Florida they have just decided to stay on Summer time all year round!

The energy saving argument is long past. The 24hr energy consumption of the modern world means the hour change makes zero difference. Some argue that brighter mornings in winter and longer evenings in summer make travelling, especially for school children safer. Again, with modern transport and lighting, there are no figures to support this claim beyond anecdotal arguments.

So it would appear that many of the original practical reasons for the hour change have gone but yet we cling to the tradition like a safety blanket. To be honest, despite all the confusion it creates I like the hour change. To get a sudden 60 min of sunshine in one day really lifts my spirits and in this part of the world where the seasons can blend one into the other, the clock changes act look book ends to winter and summer which to me seems somewhat comforting!

And I leave you with a quote from one of the major advocates of ‘Summer Time’ 100 years ago.

“An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn is all that we ask in return for dazzling gifts. We borrow an hour one night in April; we pay it back with golden interest five months later.”

Winston Churchill

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