SPRING is here and we’ve been blessed with some suitably warm weather in which to enjoy our extra hour of daylight, but for parents this comes at a cost.
Not only do we have to drag ourselves out of bed having lost an hour at the weekend, but our offsprings’ body clocks are all over the place too.
Anyone with teenagers will know how tough it is to wake them from their blissful slumber (or stinky pit, as it’s known in our house) on any given school day. But take an hour off them and everything can get a little shoutier. We’re extra tired because we didn’t go to bed early enough ourselves; they’re extra tired because they didn’t want to go to bed on time, yet alone early, and probably lay in bed texting into the early hours.
The smaller ones are usually up with the lark anyway – that’s the eight and four-year-olds in our house – but even they struggle with the clocks going forward and are decidedly grumpier than usual. And those of you with babies will already be battling with routines without another spanner being thrown into the works.
Poor Bloke and little Bill were on the early shift on Sunday, getting to Long Buckby by 9.15am (8.15am really) for a minis’ rugby tournament.
Meanwhile I was at home with the other three, and while I didn’t oversleep, I did forget that I’d only turned half the house’s many clocks forward the night before and hence only realised the older boys’ rugby training had started too late to do anything about it.
There’s one man responsible for our weird habit of mucking about with time, and his name was William Willett, and he died a year before his big idea actually came into law in 1916.
He was a builder living in Kent who worked out that the nation was sleeping through the lighter hours of the summer and that everyone would be happier and more productive if we gradually moved time forward by 20 minutes each Sunday in April. Then time would be ‘given back’ the same amount each Sunday in September.
His proposal was ridiculed but a Daylight Saving Bill was introduced to parliament in 1909, but was batted away before war broke out in 1914.
However, in 1916 the bill was passed as a temporary wartime ‘measure of economy’, in Britain and a week later in most of Europe, although William didn’t live to see his dream become a reality.
Most countries then abandoned the idea after the war, but then saw the positives it brought and reintroduced it.
You may, like me, have wondered why they don’t just stick with Daylight Saving Time, or British Standard Time (BST); the lighter-houred time we are in now, all year round, therefore skipping the dismal darkness that comes after October 28. Apparently they tried it, between 1968 and 1971, to fall in line with other European countries with whom we did much of our trade.
This was abandoned in 1972 because children in Scotland, by virtue of their more northerly location, were having to go to school in the dark. This is an argument still voiced today, and while many might argue that Scotland could put the clocks back and forward on its own, it is deemed too ridiculous to have to change time zones just to move across the border in part of the UK.
So for now we’ll have to make the most of those longer days and wait for our body clocks to re-sync. Which reminds me, I must go and take Bonnie for her around-about-midnight visit to the loo because she’s such a deep sleeper there’s no clock that could rouse her . . .