Time is our nemesis

Daniel Hutchinson
From The Hutch

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

And there we have it - our travel bubble with Australia is complete thanks to a complicated recipe and a double down on the Devil’s detail.

The problem with bubbles is that they are notoriously fragile and almost certain to pop. In fact, Covid-19 is the only context in which bubbles are a thing of assurance and safety.

Nobody talks fondly of a housing bubble or a bubble in the stock market.

Soapy bubbles are okay - mainly for children who like to watch the pretty things float away or poke them with a finger and make them burst.

Just don’t ask Macbeth or his wife how that bubbling cauldron prophecy worked out for them.

For the Australians, this week’s announcement of a trans-Tasman bubble is probably more of a beach ball than a bubble. Kiwis and returning Aussies have enjoyed unfettered re-entry into the Lucky Country from New Zealand for a few weeks now.

Flyer beware

It has only been upon entering New Zealand that things have got complicated, with two weeks of quarantine required.

So, if you want to head to Oz, and don’t plan to return before April 20, then book your flight and bugger off.

However, the returning thing is still a bit up in the air - excuse the pun.

Our Prime Minister has issued a ‘flyer beware’ warning to anyone thinking of running the gauntlet to Australia. Should there be an outbreak of Covid-19 over there, the borders could close at very short notice. Two weeks’ quarantine could be required with all the associated costs.

For those missing family on either side of the ditch, this is great news but for others it does make it a little bit difficult to relax on the Gold Coast.

Spoiling for a clock fight

It’s that time of the year when the annual argument over making daylight saving permanent becomes most relevant.

It seems pretty simple - we like to spend our late afternoons making snow angels in the dead leaves and throwing frisbees to the labradoodle in the park.

Both of these things make more sense during daylight hours.

However, when you start thinking about time, it starts getting a bit weird and especially when it comes to daylight saving.

For starters, we have already made daylight saving permanent.

In 1868 New Zealand set its time at 11 and a half hours after Greenwich Mean Time. Then, in 1927, after a push for daylight saving, The Summer Time Act was introduced and people were instructed to move their clocks forward one hour, from November 6 to March 4. It was later amended so people only put their clocks forward by half an hour.

Then, in 1946, the Summer Time Act was amended so daylight saving was all year round - hence our new standard time of 12 hours past GMT.

In the 70s, daylight saving was introduced again, this time a full hour ahead of New Zealand standard time.

It has been tinkered with a few times since then, to lengthen the period in which it happens and now, we put our clocks forward a full hour, from the last Sunday in September to the first Sunday in April.

Catch and release

The problem with this is that messing with time, messes with our circadian rhythm and our sleep and makes us grumpy.

Anyone who has ever owned a cockerill will confirm this.

Now, I’m not the bloodthirsty type. I’ve had to put a few animals out of their misery over the years. For sport and food I have shot a bunny or two, and hooked some particularly incompetent fish.

But I’m no hunter.

In fact, I had a catch and release policy with mice for a while. They would get bored with the sauvignon blanc grapes in the vineyard down the road and sneak into the house we rented on the outskirts of Blenheim.

Dark little secrets

Every few days I would catch these little critters in a non-lethal tilt trap and then go outside to “take care of it”.

That involved driving them a bit further out of town and releasing them back into the vines. They were clearly beer drinkers so it was a pretty inhumane thing to do really.

But that pales in comparison with the cockerel who would set his alarm to go at exactly 10 minutes to dawn.

That was fine in the winter months but all I can say is that rooster never saw the summer solstice.

So, the moral of this story is we should just pick a time and stick with it - none of this messing around with the clocks please.



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