This week's throwback Thursday takes us back seven years, with a post from 31 October 2010.
The weather, though, is still not unpleasant. Outside temperatures are still hitting double figures by late morning, and there is a reasonable amount of sunshine, albeit not every day. That means I haven’t yet needed to change to my winter tyres, and the forecast is indicating that I shan’t need to for at least a couple of weeks. When I do, we shall be trying to improve on last year’s time for the job. Although not expecting to achieve it in the sub-four seconds managed by the formula one pit crews, there being only two of us and only one jack and wheel brace between us, I do hope to manage it in less than half an hour this time!
This is a very special time of year here. Not only are the woodlands and tree-lined avenues at their glorious best, showing riots of yellows, oranges, flame reds and greens but, being on a migration route from Scandinavia to Gibraltar, we are often treated to the sight of birds that we don’t often see. During the week, whilst I was in the second floor study and Clare was on the terrace hanging out some washing, waves of what we believe to be storks passed over at quite high speed and making rather a lot of noise. Clare grabbed the nearest camera, pointed it in roughly into the middle of the flock (too close to the sun to see a reasonable image in the LCD screen) and clicked. By the time I got down, looked out of the front, then ran through to the back and eventually found her, they had gone. Here is her shot.
For some reason, Trevor didn’t bark at that lot. Unusual for him – he doesn’t often turn down the chance to bark at something, particularly something as noisy as that. Perhaps we have been overworking him. Just to show you that life isn’t all work here; that we do know how to relax and unwind, here are Clare, Trevor and Shitzu doing just that!
Not that there can be too much of that. Yesterday, we acquired a FoodSaver vacuum packer. It is going to be really useful for a lot of things, but there is a side benefit that we shall see straight away. The dogs enjoy certain hide chews that come in a sealed pack of about ten which, when opened, stinks to high heaven. The dogs love them, but the smell is really bad. Now, however, we can open the pack, give the dogs one each, and vacuum-pack the rest, so they won’t smell. I wonder if vacuum-packing the dogs would help…
The clocks went back this morning, and so it is time for the annual bleats by those who would like either to harmonise with European time, be it to “help business” or for reasons of daylight availability, or to remain on UTC+1 all year round. To this latter I could offer a modicum of support, it being a royal pain to have to adjust clocks and watches every six months. Having said that, I have just adjusted the central heating timer, the microwave and cooker, two wall clocks and the DVD recorder. Clare will need to adjust her wristwatch. All other devices take their time either from an internet time server, or from a radio time source. As the Omega advert in the 80s had it, “One day all watches will be made this way”.
So to those with a business agenda. Generally, their mantra goes something like “business would be aided by being in the same time zone as our major partners”. What baloney! The 48 contiguous United States are covered by four time zones (five if you include Alaska, six if you also include Hawaii), Canada by five, Australia by three and Russia by nine. Oh yes – Portugal is in the same time zone as the UK and Greece is on Eastern European time, so even the Euro zone is covered by three time zones! China is alone amongst countries that cover more than thirty degrees of longitude in having a single time zone. When it is 12 noon throughout the country, the far west of the land had seen the sun is at its azimuth an hour previously, and the most easterly regions wouldn’t see it for another three hours. I worked for some years with a man whose answer to most things was a resounding “Get over it!”. Whilst not universally appropriate, such a riposte would certainly fit the bill for those who would change time zones “for business purposes”.
I saw a report today suggesting that there are potential health benefits to changing time zones, because it would give more daylight hours. With these extra daylight hours, people can do more outdoor and sporting activities and thus be healthier. What?!?! There is, for most of the UK, a fringe period between clock change and the depth of winter when dawn arrives before many people get up, and a reduction of evening light. I lived much of my life in the south of England and regularly, during the winter, drove to work in darkness and drove back in darkness. Would that have been any different without the clock change? I think not. I have lived in lands where sunrise happened all year at around 6am, and sunset, all year, at around 6pm, and where there was little or no twilight. We all coped. Iceland, in the depth of winter, receives no more than 3 hours sunlight per day. They cope. Another case of “Get over it”, methinks.