Sunday, 27 October 2013

enough hours in the day

The clocks going back always feel like a much better idea than the clocks going forward. Whenever the clocks change it always seems like a trick of the mind, as though just for two days of the year, on a minuscule scale, we have suddenly learned to time travel. However, as somebody who constantly wishes I had a Bernard's Watch to conjure up a pause button for the clock, time gained feels much more magical than time lost. There's also less potential for embarrassment this way round. Turning up an hour early for something can be potentially disguised, and is in most cases more forgivable than arriving an hour late. Arriving late for something when the clocks go forward makes it abundantly clear to everyone that you are the person that forgot. Perhaps worse still, I vividly remember one year wanting to get up to do some schoolwork at 8am. Having got up at 7am believing the clocks had gone forward, I later found they had actually gone back. Doing homework at 6am on a Sunday morning has to be the ultimate daylight saving failure.

If one does negotiate the transition through time successfully, there is a much more positive feeling when the clocks go back. The air is filled with the sense of a little time gained, people seem better rested, or more productive, and the dark mornings and dark nights seem like a comforting prelude to wintry days spent wrapped up outside or curled up inside. Compare that to the sleep-deprived faces of spring, heavy eyelids and general disorientation that arises from unceremoniously having an hour deducted from your day. It seems a bizarre way to mark the season of new awakenings really, blundering around short of time and short of sleep, but maybe the bright(er) days that follow make it more tolerable.

I have enjoyed my extra hour today, although I haven't decided where it occurred. I resisted the urge to sleep in, and somehow it seems I have noticed my extra minutes all the more for that. I got up bright and early and raced through the revision I wanted to do. Getting up early, and working at the weekend without procrastinating are both unheard of for me, but perhaps I was ensuring I didn't waste the gift of time. 
Maybe the time we spent walking the dog is where the hour went. We walked to the train station, collected a thick wad of tickets for a variety of trips I will be taking in the coming months. The machine spat them out one by one, dates, times, stations, a pack of orange cards forming the calendar of my life. Coming back we headed by the lake and through the park. Muddy leaves squelched underfoot and we both staggered back each time the puppy threatened to jump up, joyfully imprinting paws onto our legs. The park ranger wasn't so cautious of his clothing, patting her head and asking her age as she bounded around his boots. We saw two squirrels, but she did not, although her beagle instinct caught their scent and she circled round the bases of the trees  with nose stuck to the ground.

Perhaps our spare hour was spent over lunch, using vouchers provided by my wonderful mum, to have a delicious and cost-free two course meal. We rarely eat out just the two of us, and the chance to do so was very welcome, as was the free food! I like the thought of losing the hour to a wonderfully cooked roast dinner, and some quality time with The Husband catching up and also practicing our Italian. It is funny which bits we each remember, between us I think we could just about make ourselves understood, although neither of us enjoy the grammar. Even if the hour went to being stuck in traffic on the way out I wouldn't mind. The blustery day, blowing the burnt orange leaves from the trees was lovely to observe, adding to my sense that winter was well and truly coming.

Or perhaps the time has been gained here, enjoying the opportunity to write these words, revelling in not an hour, but a whole day well spent.

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