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23 May 2022

Then & Now: So why do we change the clocks?

Then & Now: So why do we change the clocks?

Spring forward, fall back: This year the clocks will go forward an hour on Sunday, March 27 and will then go back again on Sunday, October 30. Under EU law, clocks in all member states must go back an

SPRING FORWARD fall backwards is the easy way to remember how to change our clocks and timepieces to comply with daylight saving time.Each year on the last Sunday in March, and the last Sunday in October this ritual takes place.

This is due to change in the future, but for now our clocks will change forward at 1am (to 2am) this Sunday, March 27.

But why change at all and who’s bright idea was it in the first place? William Willett who lived in Kent England over one hundred years ago was the man who campaigned for the change.

He considered it a great waste of useful daylight time in the morning during the summer months. He was an early riser and he noticed that the majority of people were still asleep even though the sun was up for hours.

This observation led him to run with the idea to save daylight time. He became a tireless campaigner, and his idea was eventually adopted by the British Government

He compiled data and published a pamphlet in 1907 outlining the saving on electric light, gas, oil, and candles, for rich and poor alike.

He claimed that two hundred and ten additional hours of daylight could be gained over the six months in every year. The amount saved a year would be at least 2,500,000 pounds which would benefit the people of Britain and Ireland. He also made the case that changing the time would discourage drinking and unruly behaviour on the grounds that later evenings would leave less time for carousing.

He campaigned to have his idea accepted until his death from influenza aged 58 years in March 1915. The British Government still refused even though Winston Churchill was a strong supporter, but the farming community was not in favour. Germany introduced his system a year after his death, and Britain followed and the first day of British Summer Time was May 21, 1916.

The commencement of the First World War and the promise of money saving on fuel brought the debate to a head and the scheme was considered worth a try.

It was used in other countries including Ireland during World War One, but most European countries abandoned daylight saving time after 1919. Following the Easter Rising, the time difference between Ireland and Britain was regarded as a bit of a nuisance for telegraphic communication and the Time (Ireland) Act 1916 provided that Irish time would be the same as British time from Sunday October 1, 1916.

Time as they say doesn’t stand still and Summer Time was further regulated by acts in 1923, 1924, and 1925.

In some country areas the time change was not observed, and it caused a lot of problems for people who could be one hour early or one hour late for events such as mass, meetings, or dances. From 1968 Central European Time was observed but this was changed in 1971 to harmonize with the six EEC countries.

In 2000 an EU directive was issued on the subject and most countries in Europe now follow the same synchronized daylight saving time. This means that the people of Ireland move its clocks forward an hour in March and back an hour in October.

Daffodil Day
THE SIGHT of daffodils blowing in the wind reminds me of far off schooldays when I awaited in anticipation the buds opening slowly to reveal their yellow trumpets.

We had a line of them growing along the old boreen from the road into the house, and I would have been watching them closely as I passed in and out each day to school.

They provided a lovely show and Shakespeare once wrote of ‘’Daffodils that come before the swallow dares’’ William Wordsworth was also impressed by them and his poem ‘’The Daffodils’’ was one of my favourites while at school.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of golden daffodils,
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
The breeze makes the daffodils dance and their performance recalls to mind the performers in Riverdance during the Eurovision Song Contest all those years ago.
The daffodils take pride of place during the month of March with their rich yellow colour standing out from a vast bare green background.

The wild daffodil is smaller than the many hundreds of cultivated varieties grown in gardens which are sometimes naturalized in the wider countryside. This turf forming plant has leafless stems (scapes) and grows to a height of 30-50 cm and a flowering season from March to May.

The solitary flowers are made up of six outer pale primrose yellow tepals (petal-like sepals and petals), and a central trumpet (corona), which is a darker opaquer yellow.

Each flower has a green or brown papery spathe at the base. The grey-green basal leaves are flat, linear and fleshy.
The fruit capsule contains many seeds, helping extensive colonies to develop.

A note of caution: the bulbs resemble onions, but they are highly poisonous, and if eaten can cause the fatal collapse of the nervous system. The wild daffodil can be found in woodland and meadows, on river banks and along hedgerows.

The sight of them can gladden the heart and put pep in the step, and they are a garden of hope for cancer patients.

Mothers' day
MOTHERS’ DAY is this Sunday, and I would like to share the following words from the great writer DH Lawrence about his own mother. He wrote of Lydia Lawrence, who was a pupil-teacher and a lace-factory worker before becoming a wife and a mother. “She was my first great love. She was a wonderful , rare women-you do not know as strong and steadfast, and as generous as the sun”.

“She could be as swift as a white whiplash, as kind and gentle as the warm rain, and as steadfast as the irreducible earth beneath us.”

Why did I share these words? Because Lawrence said, “You do not know.”

And, if you have, or have had, a good mother then I am sure you do know! It is only one of the many wonders of a mother that they can share so many attributes, but still be uniquely special to every child.

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