It is one of my favourite days of the year. The day the clocks finally go back to a user-friendly time, as far as I am concerned. My reward for the annual body shock I am submitted to by the Enlightened Authorities whenever Summer Time kicks in. The welcome opportunity of having an extra hour’s sleep and yet waking up not regretting that one has already wasted precious free time in bed. The official acknowledgement that autumn is in full swing. Keep your baby pastel spring blossoms, and your strident summer sun. Give me the deep, warm colours of autumn. The paths of my local park are a carpet of burnt sienna, ochre and crimson. Conkers smooth and shiny as swirls of chestnut marble are carried off by grey squirrels bounding among tufts of dark green grass. Holly bushes carry scarlet berries that will be gone before Christmas. As you stroll, leaves of soft gold drift down towards you, swaying on invisible wings. The light has warm gold in it. It does not attack with demands. It caresses your brow with the understanding of experience. It is mature enough to know how to temper summer passion. Autumn feelings run as deep as its hues. Spring is in your face. Summer bullies all who are not its gang. Autumn requires a fine ear, a keen eye and finely tuned senses to be enjoyed. For as long as I can remember, autumn has been for me the mark of new beginnings. New academic years, new hopes, new projects. There would be no spring rebirth, if autumn did not sing its soft lullaby before the winter nap.
Wear bright colours and short sleeves, and everyone will remark, “You look so summery!” The compliment is implied. I am going to a friend’s show. I will wear doeskin brown, with a shawl of fir green, terracotta, crimson, Titian and gold. I do not anticipate anyone commenting on my elegant “autumnal” dress.
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Our Government is, once again, airing the suggestion that we should not bring the clocks back at the end of October, but keep them on Summer Time then, come late March, add an extra hour for the Daylight Saving scheme. They are proposing a three-year trial. Trial. That is what they call an imposed change that is brought on softly, softly, till the monkey is caught. Like the act of generosity that brought down our VAT from 17.5% to 15%. Once the period of indulgence was over, VAT did not return to its original 17.5% but rose up to the current 20%. Give with one hand. Remove with the other. The Government is explaining that the United Kingdom’s clocks should align with Europe’s. How touching that the British Government should suddenly wish to turn its back on the casual, convenience-based relationship with the European Union, by proposing to join it in holy matrimony.
As usual, we are told that changing to permanent Summer Time is for own good; like everything else our recent governments have brought in. Apparently, having longer dark winter mornings but then longer light evenings would cut the number of road accidents, boost tourism, and reduce energy use. Do they assume that sleepy people getting up two or three hours before dawn (and that is in the South of the island alone) will brush their teeth and have breakfast without turning on the lights, then have quick reflexes while driving to work? I know it is somewhat depressing to walk out of your workplace when it is already night time but how does that compare to the overwhelming feeling of wrongness and physical self-violence when getting up in the dark, and arriving at work when it is still dark? As for saving energy, could we start by turning off the lights, outside working hours, in the City offices, shops and department stores? Could we ban overhead heaters outside cafés and restaurants?
If any health issues arise from this change, will university medical departments begin to spend millions on researching the culprit and finally blame a previously undiscovered virus? Will there be a naming ceremony for a new syndrome? Will pharmaceutical companies concoct a new drug?
I am still trying to follow the argument which states that bringing the clocks forward will boost tourism.
Nights have never put anyone off socialising or partying. Getting up to go to work in the pitch black – now that is inhuman.
In the meantime, a happy All Hallows’ Eve to you all.
© Scribe Doll