Step back in time

Sunday proved to be a confusing day in the Brit Out Of Water household, given that the whole family was convinced that the clocks had gone back an hour. It wasn’t until about 4pm that we realised the error, and only then because somebody turned up for dinner at the “wrong” time and managed to put us straight. Having had the bliss of an extra hour in bed, it came as a bit of a shock to the system to lose an hour unexpectedly in the middle of the day.

In the United States, it would appear, clocks don’t go back until next weekend this year, thanks to the President Bush-endorsed Energy Policy Act of 2005. The bill decreed that daylight saving would begin three weeks earlier than normal and end a week later, in the hope of saving up to 100,000 extra barrels of oil every year. Not that any saving would make even a dent in America’s wasteful use of natural resources, but you’ve got to appreciate the gesture.

For a week, then, New York is only four hours behind the UK (a fact I won’t be revealing to my mum, who is still struggling to come to terms with what time it is in New York when she’s settling down with her Horlicks late at night). But whatever the time difference, there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s noticeably darker for substantially longer periods here than it is back in Blighty.

Getting up this morning at 6.30am to make a school lunch of peanut butter sandwiches (wrong, I know), I stubbed my toe on the treacherous walk to the bathroom due to it being absolutely pitch black outside. Then looking out of the office windows at 5.30pm, it was pitch black again – the day having disappeared without me going outside once. And remember, this is before daylight saving time even kicks in.

Given New York and London’s relative geographical positions, maybe the difference in daylight is unsurprising – but that doesn’t make it any easier to come to terms with. It’s only October after all, and this is going to get worse before it gets better. By the time of the shortest day on December 22, I’m fully expecting dawn at around 1pm, with sunset about an hour and a half later. I’ll be coming to work in my pyjamas, just so you know.

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