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Saturday, 30 October 2010

Hours Not To Reason Why?

For as long as I can remember, I have had this ominous feeling that one day, a hand will fall on my shoulder and a voice will say “Alright Sunny Jim, we’ve got you bang to rights, you come along with us now”. Quite why my nemesis should talk like a regugee from Dixon of Dock Green, I don’t know, but there it is.
The reason why I have this sense of impending doom hit me in a blinding flash of inspiration last night, the sort that would have had St. Paul crying “Oh no, not again” and giving up the commute to Damascus for good. It was simple, I have an hour that does not belong to me.
You are all no doubt aware of the farce that we go through twice yearly, turning our clocks backward in October and forward in March, to the general confusion of all and the benefit of very few. Apparently we have a gent named William Willet (1857 – 1915) to thank for this. He pestered MPs, town councils and businesses from 1907 onwards with a view to improving health, happiness and saving £2.5 million pounds. I think that probably tells us all we need to know about Mr. Willet.
What suddenly occurred to me the last time we 'changed the clocks', as I was prowling from room to room trying to track down any errant timepieces in need of adjustment, was that, dependent on when you are born in the year, you must spend your life either an hour up or an hour down.
Let me explain the principle. If you were born between October and March, your first encounter with our bi-annual time shift left you with an hour less than you started with. Agreed? However, if, like me, you were born between March and October, then you gained an hour in October that you had not previously lost, hence my permanent expectation of a visitation from the Time Police. The only way to arrange for this to balance itself out over your lifetime, is to ensure that your death follows the opposite clock adjustment from the one that followed your birth. So, to dispose of the extra hour, my demise would need to take place between March and October, so that the next, and, in my case, very final, bout of “changing the clocks” would remove my additional hour without any danger of this being reinstated in October, at which point I would be pushing up the daisies (or probably not, in October).
The more I think about this (and I’m beginning to wish that I had never started), the more I am sure that this explains a great deal about the human condition, and the British in particular. We all know, do we not, people who spend their lives in the sure and certain knowledge that they have been cheated in some way? Who never have a minute to spare? Who begrudge the expenditure of time in all its forms? How likely then, that these same people are those who are an hour down on the deal? Whereas those who procrastinate and always seem to have time to waste (and I count myself in that number) may well be those who have an hour to spare, and always will have.
I ask for nothing for this major advance in our knowledge. Erect no statues, confer no honours. It is enough to know that my time has come…or possibly gone.

The first collection of stories - "Steady Past Your Granny's" is now available in Kindle e-book format at Amazon UK and Amazon USA.  This story features in the new bumper collection now released as a Kindle edition - "Crutches for Ducks" at Amazon.co.uk and at Amazon.com