Graham Dukes calls for the abolition of February and March
I have been thinking.
I don’t do it very often, because it tends to give me a headache; however, I have some hope that one day it may earn me a medal.
This particular train of thought started up a while ago when I found myself turning the fingers of our grandfather clock forward by an hour to mark the start of Summer Time. Where I live there was still snow on the ground, but the European Union had declared that it was now summertime, so who was I to argue? Nor does our grandfather clock see the logic in it; it survived its first century without having its fingers fiddled with twice a year, and it groans audibly whenever I do it.
According to my encyclopaedia it was one William Willett who devised Daylight Saving; he never earned a medal for doing so, though they did put up a monument for him.
The idea seems to have caught on in most of the western world, though the Russians and Asians soon threw it out, and most of Africa ignores it. I also recall spending a summer holiday in a remote boarding house in Wales run by two old ladies who had spurned Daylight Saving from the start, declaring that it interfered with Nature. In practice that meant that guests were not allowed their fried eggs until ten o’clock in the morning, with the clocks still pointing sternly to nine.
Be that as it may, the fact remains that in our corner of the world we have now interfered with Nature with some success for ninety years, so why should we not go a little further? Not that one can hope to improve everything, much though one might wish to do so. I can’t do much about the fact that we seem doomed to go on living with twenty-four artificial hours in a day, merely because it has been like that ever since the time of Ancient Egypt and the Pharaoh Senenmut. It is no use my proposing a ten-hour decimal day, with a hundred minutes to the hour; the French Revolution did precisely that, and its decimal clock didn’t even survive Napoleon .
I believe I am on firmer ground with the calendar. We haven’t interfered with that for three centuries and we still confuse our offspring with doggerel to the effect that “Thirty Days hath September, April, June and November…” – to say nothing about that misery with February and Leap Year. Surely we can do better? Admittedly even the European Commission can’t change the fact that the earth takes three hundred and sixty five days (and a bit) to go round the sun, but let us at least make an effort to divide up that time logically. What about having ten decimal months – just like the Romans did – and giving them 36 days each? In each month we can have six six-day weeks, each composed of four working days (which is quite enough for most of us) and two days to recover from the effort. Oh, I hear you say, but what about the five days that are left over at the end of the year? No problem at all. We scrap February and March, which are wretched miserable months anyway; in January we have a quick six-week winter to throw snowballs at each other, and follow that up with a five day monthless Bonanza when we trip the light fantastic and prepare to greet the sweet Spring in April. Climate Change will take care of that.
So am I happy with this approach? More or less, so now I can start campaigning for it. The Australians may prove awkward, but they can lie on the beach right through the Bonanza whilst the rest of us are tripping. And while we are about it, we might as well get rid of Daylight Saving Time, just to make things simpler. At least our grandfather clock will be pleased.
And that odd day in Leap Year? Ah, that will be the day when everyone joins hands and dances around my monument, to celebrate the medal that I earned for dreaming it all up.