Saturday, 26 March 2022

Birthdays. And hikes. And changing the clocks.

Today has been a bit busy. I ran down the Donkey Line first thing, to make a change from running round the village. My plan after that was to do some washing and then head for Tesco, to buy a few odds and ends. The washing was done and then my daughter got in touch. Today is her number 2 daughter’s 19th birthday. The birthday girl wanted to go for a hike up to Heights Church, one of her favourite places. Ideally, her older sister would have come along with the dog but she was feeling a bit feeble - she has rather wonky arthritic feet. 

So the rest of us - well, me, my daughter, the birthday girl and two small siblings - set off up the hill to Heights. There we ran into an old friend of my daughter’s, born in the house next door to ours when we lived in the valley between Delph and Denshaw. We shared our picnic with her. The two small ones played “We’re going on a bear hunt” around the graveyard. The five and half year old told the story over and over again while the two and a half year old followed on, joining in whenever he could. 

After we walked down the hill again, my daughter gave me a lift to Tesco so that I could pick up the odds and ends I had listed in the morning. She went on her way, planning to visit the oldest granddaughter. I whizzed round the supermarket and caught the 5.00 bus home. Such efficiency!

Tonight, overnight, we put the clocks forward. They steal an hour of my sleeping time! Here’s a little something from an article about it:

“Not only do you lose an hour’s sleep, you also get to spend thirty minutes once you are awake on a Sunday morning trying to work out how to change the clock on the microwave and the washing machine if you have them.

The ritual owes its origins in the UK to the first world war. The annual hourly changing of the clock was first established in the UK more than 100 years ago under the Summer Time Act 1916, with the thought that lighter evenings might preserve fuel for the war effort.

In the debate in parliament about introducing it at the time, Henry Petty-FitzMaurice, the Marquess of Lansdowne, made reference to Benjamin Franklin, who had, half-jokingly, proposed a type of daylight saving time while living in Paris. There, in 1784, Franklin observed that the sun had risen much earlier than his Parisienne acquaintances. He argued they would save money on candles if they opted for earlier mornings rather than continue to enjoy their later nightlife.

It would have been impossible to introduce daylight saving time on this side of the channel that early though, as the UK didn’t even have legal standardised time until 1880. Prior to that date, people calculated when noon was locally, and worked from that, but the introduction of railways and their timetables made ultra-local timezones confusing.”

Not only regional dialects then, but regional time zones.

And here’s something from a certain Stefano Pavone: 

“Tonight in Britain the clocks will go forward – all except mine

For a start, changing the clocks is bad for our health. This is because we humans (and many other lifeforms on this planet) are synchronised with Earth’s natural orbit – we naturally wake up when the day begins and sleep when night falls. Changing our “social clock” creates a gulf between the time on our watches and the height of the sun in the sky. (This was made even worse during the second world war, when British double summer time was introduced, time-shifting the natural day by two hours instead of one.) In 2019, a group of experts in psychology, neurology and sleep cycles concluded that “if we want to improve human health … we should abandon DST”, after studies showed that, in the weeks after a clock change, sleep durations fall and heart attacks increase. There is a strong safety case, too: when DST was paused as an experiment in the 1960s, road traffic accidents in England and Wales fell by 11%.”

There you go. Stay safe and well, everyone!

No comments:

Post a Comment