Clocks call time on Britain's Indian summer

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The Independent Online
Charge up your Seasonal Affective Disorder lamps, stock up on anti-freeze and warm your socks, for the end of the Indian Summer is nigh. Winter is upon us, with its associations of crumpets by the fire but also the threat of SAD and the dreaded countdown to Christmas.

At 2am tomorrow clocks go back an hour and at Dyffryn Gardens, near Cardiff (above), groundsman Mike Grant thought it wise to check his against a sundial. The time switch means an extra hour in bed but could presage black moods and aching bones. Depression and osteoporosis are just two effects of daylight deprivation, says Allan Wilson, head of Spectra-Light, which makes SAD lamps. But the British are waking up to the fact that lack of daylight can damage their health, he added. "We've sold double the number of lamps this year and we're getting a great deal more interest from commercial organisations ... putting this kind of lighting into their offices.

"We normally produce about 50 lights for delivery at the end of September. We went through those in about a fortnight and are putting more stock in now. People are becoming much more aware of their living in doom." Research shows that up to 60 per cent of Britain's workers have insufficient exposure to natural daylight to maintain the basic biochemical processes, said Mr Wilson.

Tomorrow's outlook is fittingly wintry. A London Weather Centre spokesman said: "We've got some quite vigorous lows now developing on the Western side of the Atlantic. It's going to run across the far north-west on Sunday." On a Continental note, it could be the last time France joins us in the ritual. As reported in The Independent yesterday, Alain Juppe, the Prime Minister, has asked the relevant commission in Brussels for the clock change to be dropped. Photograph: Rob Stratton