Summertime

ROSPA has a whole fact sheet devoted to the ill effects of moving the clocks forward and back proving fairly comprehensively that it’s a bad thing on all sorts of levels.

For me it’s personal – from the sense that, when we lose an hour tonight I will feel robbed – if only of an hour’s sleep – to the days of adjustment, feeling slightly jet lagged while your body catches up, to a childhood memory of early mornings shared with my father.

When I was eight or nine years old, I was an early riser with a very regular internal clock. I don’t remember the time we went to bed but, in the summer, I woke up at 6.00am without fail. Dad, who had to leave for work by 7.00am, was already awake and I’d go downstairs, clothes quickly pulled on* and share a cup of tea with him, a bite of breakfast and the pleasure of being the only two up and awake.

I had a job too – I’d run around to the newsagents to pick up dad’s newspaper (in those days the Sketch and the Mirror). Mr Huxley, the newsagent would beam at me, promising me work as a paperboy when I was old enough. Inevitably, by the time I was 13, this sort of early rising was well behind me.

After dad set off up the road I entered a sort of happy limbo, when, I felt, normal rules no longer applied. I’d mooch around exploring all the places I knew I shouldn’t. I’d steal my baby sister’s rusks and take a swig of her gripewater. Feeling it couldn’t do me any harm I’d take a swig of cough medicine too. Then, at about 7.30 I’d set off for school, meandering through the town, by the brook and on the riverbank with all the time in the world.

Alas, it was a summer dream only – when the clocks went forward in October I woke at exactly the same time, an hour later – dad gone to work and the house starting to stir around me…

*Memories of getting dressed as a child still represents a sort of gold standard for me. In the summer it was pants, shorts and tshirt and you were good to go. Winter added a little more wool, but it was still pretty swift. Getting dressed as an adult is so boooring in comparison.

Summertime