Time to change


This year’s spring forward has gone much more smoothly than usual. Granted, it could hardly be worse than last year when I actually managed to miss a flight back from Dublin (‘That’ll be 75 euro to transfer you to the next flight, or *tap tap tap* a new ticket that will cost you *tap tap tap* ooh, 287 euro at this stage’). Generally I find the change of time, all 60 minutes of it, disproportionately discombobulating, which is why I’ve left it for a few days before publishing my report.

This year’s success is build on a foundation of jetlag – made without actually leaving the jurisdiction by encouraging my father’s frankly insane approach to the best part of the day. His early-birdiness seems to be hereditary, but in slightly dilute form. 7am, yes; 5am, no. Exhibit A: Saturday mornings my father likes to be in the pool by 7.15 ante meridian. The pool is about 14 miles away, meaning we have to leave the house at 6.30 ante meridian. This is on weekends that I choose a restful trip to the country.

At least Saturday’s early start primed me for Easter Sunday. There are three church services on offer in our parish church on Easter Day – the 9.30am family service, the 8.00am early service and the 6.00am service of light. My dad had perused the parish magazine and already made his choice. Guess. Go on, guess.

Still, the pill was sugared by the cracking post-service breakfast that was laid on for the 20 or so hardy churchers who were corralled far enough away from a flaming brazier to get no heat in the sub-zero temperatures and then process by candlelight through the church. ‘My grandmother wouldn’t have stood for this for one second,’ muttered my dad in a tone that carried surprisingly far in the stilly pre-dawn. Since she was, by all accounts, so papist-phobic that she wouldn’t even allow hot cross buns in the house (wtf?), I daresay shuffling around through clouds of incense past crackling flames would have pushed her into spittle-flecked conniptions.

That same pill lost quite a lot of its sugar, of course, because that was the night the clocks went forward, which meant getting up, in effect, at 4.30. As we gathered, unrecognisably bundled up and breathing clouds of steam, it felt eerie and historic and more than slightly monastic. How many Easters, how many services, have happened in that church? Actually, I can answer the first question: 833, give or take one or two that may have got lost during civil war and pesky Tudor hi-jinks. It’s a comforting feeling, all that history. And the breakfast was absolutely the best I’ve ever had.


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