Time

Something went wrong with my timing on WordPress when the UK clocks changed to British Summer Time (BST).

I generally write my posts the day before ‘publication’, and then schedule them to appear sometime between 7 and 8 am.  This timing was established, when to my astonishment, a couple of friends told me they checked the blog first thing in the morning from their beds.  Now, I’m not so flush with readers that I would risk disappointing the early birds.

So I was a bit nonplussed when I noticed that the post on Monday didn’t appear until after 8:30 (instead of the intended 7:30).  (Had I been up early on Sunday I would have noticed that one was late too, but the change in the clocks combined with staying up late to first watch and then discuss, the final episodes of The Killing conspired against this.)

Anyway, I believe I have since corrected the problem by resetting my timezone ……  nonetheless I will watch with interest this weekend, when I believe the US change their clocks, to see if I’m out of kilter again.

It did remind me of the period when I was in Russia where for at least one year the UK, mainland Europe, Russia, and the US all changed their clocks at different times.  I don’t recall the detail; what I remember is a memo from the office administrator setting out the time differences: from x to y, the time difference between Moscow and London, Paris and Frankfurt will be 2 hours; and New York will be 8 hours; from y to z the difference between Moscow and Paris and Frankfurt will be 1 hour, but remains 2 with London, and 7 with New York…… you get the picture.

Last year, a contractor trying to mend a problem at the other end of the development on which I live dug up the electricity supply cable serving the entire area of some 250 residences.  There was great difficulty in fixing the problem so they had to install a temporary generator to supply us all with power.

Weird things started to happen to the clocks in my flat.  So many electrical appliances have clocks on the front of them, don’t they?  Little green lights that flash in a distracting manner if they’ve been deprived of power.  I’d reset everything when power was restored, but after a couple of hours noticed that the clocks in the kitchen, on the oven and microwave, were losing time at the rate of 5 minutes or so per hour.

It was a different time in the kitchen to that in the rest of the flat.

Time was passing more slowly over the threshold.  I could be younger when I stepped inside to put the kettle on; I could make different decisions.  Time was being saved for me that I might use later on.  What if I stayed in there for too long?  Would I turn to dust when I stepped back into the later time in the rest of the flat?

I know, I know….. yes, I’ve been watching The Wonders of the Universe again.

The final episode was about light, but also to a certain extent about time.   The speed at which light travels has been key to scientists understanding both the size and the age of the Universe.  Because it takes time for light to travel the huge distances across the galaxies,  the further something is away, the further back in time we’re seeing it.

Prof Brain Cox explained that because of its distance from the Earth, we’re seeing the Sun 8 minutes in the past.  It excites my imagination to think of that, even though, if I do understand it, it is but for a fleeting moment.

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2 Comments

  1. brendan stallard

     /  March 31, 2011

    “I believe the US change their clocks, to see if I’m out of kilter again.”

    Rowena,

    We (The USA) changed a coupla weeks back.

    http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/clockchange.html?n=263

    I LOATHE Daylight Savings Time, the fellows who proposed it, and keep the stupidity going should be taken out and shot.

    Then taken out and shot again:)

    brendan

    Reply

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