Temper fugitas the clocks go back again

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So, what did you do with your extra hour? Did you do as I did, and spend it in bed, thinking, "This is great. It feels like 8.30 but it's really half past seven. Whoopee. I've got an extra hour. I'm finally ahead. If only it was Monday"?

So, what did you do with your extra hour? Did you do as I did, and spend it in bed, thinking, "This is great. It feels like 8.30 but it's really half past seven. Whoopee. I've got an extra hour. I'm finally ahead. If only it was Monday"?

And then, did you also do as I did, which was to get up and realise, with slowly dawning dread, that there are about six different clocks in this building? There's a clock on the computer, a clock on the phone, a clock on the video, a clock on the mobile, a clock on the cooker and a clock on the wall, and they'll all need changing.

Now, where did I put the manual? And the manual, the manual, the manual and the manual? And then, before the horror of searching for half a dozen different manuals - hidden, of course, in six different locations - begins, I think, "I'll make a start with the one on the wall. It's the old-fashioned kind of clock. The kind for which you don't need a manual. All you have to do is stand on a chair, get the clock down without falling off, and run the hands back, well, manually."

And then, before so doing, I wonder what the right time is, because, although I am awash with six different clocks, they are showing six different times. So, then, I ring what was once called, charmingly, TIM but is now known, irritatingly, as 123 and hear that maddening message: "The time sponsored by Accurist... ", and then think, "What, all of it? The whole of time is sponsored by Accurist? From the dawn of creation to the present day? Well, how very nice of Accurist to sell us all watches, then."

I mean, where's the morality? You didn't get Martin Luther King saying, "I have a dream sponsored by Dunlopillo", did you? Where's it going to end? Will we have weather forecasters informing us to expect scattered showers sponsored by Gannex? Sunny periods sponsored by Sunblocks-R-Us?

Will we return home to find a note on the kitchen table? "Your flat has just been burgled by me and my mate, sponsored by Jack Straw"? Will there be announcements on TV, just before it closes down for the day: "And for manic depressives who can't cope with modern-day living for one minute longer, the whole of reality is sponsored by Exit."

Don't get me started on the subject of time. I've been known to have arguments with total strangers on the topic. They come up to me in the street and say, "Excuse me, mate, have you got the right time?"

And I say, "No. I haven't got the right time. What I have got is an approximate idea of the time. Which, by the time I've looked at my watch, computed the information and informed you of it, will then be a different time from the time when you first asked me what the right time is, or was. Do you follow my drift? Come back. I'm talking to you." Oh, yes, I'm a fun guy, me. And I wonder why I'm not invited out more often.

The temptation is to leave the clocks as they are; just wait for summer and the bit when we have to change them again, and everything will fall neatly into place. But the complications that would ensue are too dreadful to think about.

There's no way round it; I am going to have to change those clocks. So, I root around those kitchen drawers and in desks and cupboards and find those manuals. (Apart from the one that's always missing. OK, then. I'll just dump that particular clock. Into the bin with it for ever. Hooray.) And it's a slow, tiresome, irksome business, but it's done. Finally. And how long did all that take to accomplish? That's right. One hour.

Tempus fugit, they say. And I agree. Give or take a consonant or two.

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