Changing Times (Andrew)

For six years I worked at the Western Isles Hospital as a porter. I would provide cover whenever I was home from university and I’d generally work full time most weeks on either morning, evening or night shift. 

Night shift was the best and worst. It was the best because I was paid time and half, and if it was the weekend I’d get another half for working a Saturday and another half again for working Sunday. (And if it was a public holiday like Christmas then it would double again – jackpot!).

But there was one night I hated working – the night the clocks went back an hour. At 2am, when the clocks changed, I’d walk round the hospital and move all the clock hands back by one hour to 1pm. And then I’d have to work that hour again… without pay. 

That might sound harsh but, when the clocks jumped forward and 2am became 3am, I would work one hour less and still get paid for an eight hour shift. So, I would try really hard to be available to work at the end of March but to be away at the end of October. 

For that reason, I’ve always like when the clocks go forward. It reminds me of getting paid for doing nothing.

This year, as I’ve worked more from the office than from home, it’s great to get the extra hour of light in the evening so I can run or cycle home without having to wear more lights than a Christmas tree. It’s good to feel the sun on my skin and to start to wear t-shirts rather than a running jacket, hat, gloves and, in Glasgow, oilskins for the days it’s really wet. 

I do however miss the pleasures of night-time running – which mostly involve people leaving their curtains open and getting a good gawk in their living room. But also, the pleasure of running and not seeing where you are going. Night-time running reduces distances as you tend to focus on the light pool around you rather than looking to the end of a street in daylight and seeing everything before you clearly.  (It’s for the same reason muggers hate the clocks going forward, people can now see them.)

The good thing about living in Glasgow though is that the clocks going forward is not a guarantee of daylight – in Scotland it can just as dark at 3pm as midnight when the rain clouds gather so while it’s good to see the change of the seasons, it’s also good to know that we don’t lose nighttime running even in June. 

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