British Summer Time ended on October 31st . This was, for me, more of a trick than a treat because I was still waiting for summer to start. I hate having to get up in the dark: I tell myself it’ll be cold, I don’t need to get up right now; I’ll function better if I have more sleep. I eventually force myself out of bed, only to feel frantic because I’m late and then groggy for hours. Writers are often told to produce “morning pages”, for which you might have to get up an hour earlier than usual. For me, that’d be a night page and I write those before I go to bed. Confusing or what? Soon it’ll be dark in the late afternoon as well and that’s no fun because, thanks to the Meniere’s, when I can’t see, I can’t balance. Walking stick, torch: not exactly winter fashion items, and I’m fed up with being told to take more water with it.
I wasn’t surprised to read that Monday 1st November was “officially” the most miserable day of the year. Not only was it cold and grey, but the clocks went back as well. I don’t know who these officials are, but they probably live in households like mine –my husband retired and I’m the first person up and it’s really hard to get going. I agree with Garfield, the grumpy cartoon cat: if people were meant to pop out of bed, we’d all sleep in toasters. I’d like mornings better if they started later- 6am is too early.
A senior academic argued that if we did not put the clocks back at the end of October, but still put them forward in the spring, we would vastly improve our health and well-being. He says that we are happier, more energetic and less likely to be sick in the longer and brighter days of summer, but our mood tends to decline during the shorter and duller days of winter. So far, so obvious, but he also points out that where there is less daylight we spend more time indoors, making it harder to do vigorous physical activity and get fit, which can allegedly help protect against coronary heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and some cancers.
The Jewish religion give a guide to how one should face getting up. There’s a prayer that thanks God for returning the soul and there is a series of blessings centering on the routine of waking up. You’re supposed to wash your hands as soon as possible – right hand first. There is even a rule for putting your shoes on: the right shoe on first but tie the left one before the right. We’re told to “Arise like a lion to serve your Creator in the morning” although, in my case, it’s more like Garfield, again.
As if that wasn’t enough to make me feel inadequate, let’s not forget the Woman of Valour, whose virtues are listed in Proverbs 31:10-31. This Superwoman gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and also that her children arise and call her blessed. Yes to the first two but no to the third in my house – unless you count “blessed” as a substitute for something less complimentary, followed by variations on “go away”. The passage goes on to say that her husband also arises and praises her. As if.
We’re also told that she selects wool and flax and that when it snows she has no fear for her household, for all of them are clothed in scarlet. With that in mind, I got the knitting needles out. It was then that the entire family refused to wear anything hand-knitted by me: it’s either too hot, the wrong shape or not stripy, depending on who you ask. Even the cat runs off when she sees me advancing with the tape measure. Anyone interested in a job-lot of red yarn? Buyer collects.