And while I am on the subject of mental health, my commiserations are with everyone whose mood has dipped following the annual farce of putting the clocks back. Now, for the coldest, most miserable time of the year, we can also enjoy (?) even darker days.
Now, I didn’t know this but apparently the idea for putting the clocks back originated in 1784 when Benjamin Franklin said that if people got up earlier when it was lighter, it would save money on candles. Us Brits didn’t get round to it until 1916. And we have Coldplay to blame for that.
Well, not quite Coldplay – they’ve committed enough crimes in terms of music, so we’ll let them off this one – but Chris Martin’s great-great-grandfather, a bloke called William Willett, who in 1907 wrote a pamphlet called ‘The Waste of Daylight’. He wasn’t so concerned about saving money on candles, although he wanted everyone to get up earlier. Mainly, he was a keen golfer and was angry about the way his games were curtailed because it got too dark for him to complete them. Sadly, for old Bill, Britain did not introduce ‘daylight saving’ until 1916, the year after he died.
For most people, putting the clocks back has a zero to minimal effect on their mood. I suggest most people find it a complete waste of time but they just get on with things and just moan about it from time to time. For some, it is a horrible time of year.
My mood dipped massively last Sunday, a few hours after the changing of the clocks. It wasn’t for a few days that I remembered why, not least because it happens every single year. After crawling back to half-decent mental health, I once again found myself feeling hopeless, listless, tearful and, yes, depressed. In the words of Tommy Cooper, it happened “just like that”. And I know that my aversion to the dark winter days affects me far less than it does others, some of whom simple cannot bear the winter months, wishing them away in search of a literally brighter day.
I am not sure we need the government to continue with this farce. This is not 1784, or 1916 for that matter. Our lives, it is fair to say, are very different and we don’t need to save daylight hours. Let’s just leave the clock the same all year round, or better still operate double summer time in summer and summer time in winter.