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Open letter on... confusing clocks

Spring forward: It might sound insane but whole countries move the time arbitrarily twice a year


HOUR CHANGE: But most importantly have I gained or lost sleep?

HOUR CHANGE: But most importantly have I gained or lost sleep?

HOUR CHANGE: But most importantly have I gained or lost sleep?

Is it an hour earlier or an hour later? More importantly, have I gained sleep or lost sleep, because all the big things in life are measured in sleep.

If I've lost an hour is this what jet lag feels like, since it's the closest I'm getting to it for the foreseeable future.

And maybe this time I will actually remember how to change the clock on my car. It's the simplest of things which you couldn't possibly forget every six months, but I guarantee a week from now it will be unchanged and I'll be mentally adding or subtracting an hour from the time and imploring the nearest teenager to fix my basic tech. The central heating clock has remained a mystery for years.

While my phone has smoothly put itself to the right time in the night, the clocks around the house will also be in various time zones for days depending on whether I need to stand on a chair to reach them, and how temperamental they are. One refuses to work for days if it's handled incorrectly. Don't we all.

There is the added issue that my bedroom clock is set nine minutes fast. It's a psychological trick to get myself out of bed on time in the morning.

It used to be 20 minutes fast, so I'd wake up, add 20 minutes to the time and sleep in.

Then I tried 17 minutes fast because I can't do that much mental maths first thing in the morning. I'd wake up, add nearly 20 minutes to the time and still sleep in.

The clock and I have now mutually agreed on nine minutes fast which makes no difference at all but it's a habit as ingrained as Daylight Saving Time, so it stays.

It might sound slightly insane but whole countries arbitrarily move the time twice a year. It's a habit the EU voted to break from 2021, but no one has come up with an alternative so France, Germany and the rest of the lads will still be waking up one hour later, or earlier today.

I keep feeling it's not that hard to understand but it's like trying to hold on to jelly. And the whole 'spring forward, fall back' thing is an Americanism too far.

The reasons vary from something to do with Scottish farmers, children walking to school, various wars and efforts to save electricity costs, and whatever the Nazis felt like. French patriots in World War II used to snub their noses at Berlin time because even the smallest acts were a resistance.

For much of the forties Ireland and Northern Ireland were in different time zones, and for nearly four decades until 1916 Dublin Mean Time kept the city 25 minutes and 21 seconds behind the UK. It makes my morning alarm routine look completely rational.

But if some of us struggle with the concept of losing an hour, Samoa decided to skip a whole day back in 2011 to jump from Californian time to Australian time. December 30 just didn't happen that year - a trick we've all wished for at some stage, in my case usually involving alcohol.

Two years earlier it had pulled off the even bigger feat of switching from driving on the right to driving on the left overnight - it's got a major crush on Australia.

At least the EU vote on abolishing Daylight Saving Time won't change things in Ireland, which has promised it won't leave Northern Ireland in a different time zone. Insert your own joke here.

Sunday World

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