Well the hour has been taken off and the nights are dark by around 5pm. At present the mornings are an hour lighter, the rooks fly over at the time I am drinking my morning tea again, but that always seems to disappear more quickly. By 5pm yesterday, because it was a cloudy day, it was dark here in the Dales. And we have another eight or so weeks before there will be any sign that things have changed and it is beginning to get light again.
In the far North things are so much worse - even the North of Scotland suffers long hours of darkness and Shetland even worse, although I find it interesting that they liven up their dark days with all kinds of celebrations and festivals - I suppose it is called 'making the best of it'.
In the middle of Summer the reverse is true of course. We spent mid-summer's day and the surrounding days way up above the Arctic Circle one year and in Tromso in Norway folk were sitting in pavement cafes and children were playing around their feet at one o'clock in the morning, the sun still just visible on the horizon.
I suppose one gets used to it. We accept our British Summer Time of one hour forward and our Winter time of one hour back. And it does make a difference. Now I see there is a move afoot to make it two hours forward for British Summer Time and just one hour back in the Winter. What are the advantages and disadvantages?
The farmer immediately jumps into the argument and tells of the times during the war years (when there was a two hour 'daylight saving' for a year or two), to tell how at the time the farm had a huge flock of free range chickens, who wandered around the fields all day and went into their huts at dusk. Dusk? Around midnight! Who wishes to stay up until then when they have to milk the milking herd at 6am the next morning? They used to have to 'round up' the hens with the sheep dogs to get them to bed.
I must say that I do find the long dark nights quite depressing. Alright, it is rather nice on a cold Winter's night to have all the curtains drawn, the wood-burner ticking over and toast by the fireside at 5pm. But it does make for a very long evening.
But maybe the lighter mornings would be better for children going to school. I would like to know the pros and cons. Can you provide me with a few? (not that it will make any difference, the politicians will make up their minds and land us with a fait accompli, whether we like it or not.