September 2008 Clock Changes

Clocks change

The English have been moving their clocks backwards and forwards since 1916. Businessman William Willett had noticed that during the summer people wasted the light mornings in bed. He proposed that the clocks be moved forward by one hour for summer so that the extra light could be put to better use in the afternoon, and put back for winter.

What does the clocks going back mean to you? Shorter, darker days is just the beginning for most of us.

While we can still enjoy flip flops and holiday memories at the moment, once the clocks change we will have to accept the inevitable. It is the end of summer and the beginning of the relentless, unstoppable descent into Christmas madness.

Almost as soon as those hands go back, we have packed away light, airy summer thoughts. The mornings get darker and the chilliness starts to set in. We notice the pumpkins and spiders decorating the shops. Small children dress like monsters and demand free stuff. Not that unusual, but it is indeed Halloween again.

Within a few days we find ourselves oohing and aahing over fireworks and perhaps even wearing a scarf. Must be Bonfire Night. We can fool ourselves a little longer by playing in the garden and taking fresh country walks in big jumpers. Maybe we can even still sit outside the pub to have a few beers.

But by mid-November there is only one destination: the festive season. Before we know it, we're gazing longingly at aspirational Christmas scenes on magazines, loitering near the wrapping paper, and planning Christmas drinks with old friends. The warm, cosy arms of Christmas are enveloping us.

It's only a matter of time before we find ourselves devouring mince pies, knocking back the mulled wine and singing Fairytale of New York. There is no hope for us.

Every year, we go Christmas crazy and demand joy and goodwill from everyone. Then it's January and we're all depressed. The cosiness of confinement has turned to claustrophobia and we've got at least three more months of it with nothing else to look forward to.

This is when we need to make plans: organise days out; cook some big old roasts for family and friends; book a West End show; take a city break, ski trip or a winter sun holiday. And look forward to spring when the clocks will go forward and we'll start all over again.


by Maxine Clarke