Lisa's week

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Lisa's week: Spring forward and fall back


Have you noticed that the days are getting longer? It seems to start really slowly once we’ve gone past the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year. I think it’s just a couple of minutes a day and for those of you who find the short, dark days hard to bear, this lengthening of the days seems to take forever.

But at some point, you notice that it’s light outside when you leave the house to go to work and then, suddenly it’s also light when you wake up and take your first look outside. The end of the day creeps ever so slowly later and later until you realise that the timer you have on your lights to come on automatically at a certain time of the day, are clicking on while it’s still quite bright outside. At some point you realise that when you arrive home, there’s still enough sunlight outside to step out into your garden or onto your balcony to take in the last rays of the low hanging sun and see what shoots are fighting the end of winter to embrace the coming of spring.

The spring equinox here in the northern hemisphere occurs between the 19th and 21st March – this year, the date was 20th March – and is characterised by an almost equal time of day and night. From this day through to the summer solstice, the days will continue to get longer and longer than the nights which gives us the long, light summer evenings that so many of you are craving.

What tends to accompany this time of year is also the changing of the clocks. Here in Europe, that will happen this weekend when we “lose” an hour of sleep – this sleep loving person is not looking forward to that! Moving the clocks forward gives us extra hours of daylight in the evening and is called “daylight saving time – DST”. However, I was surprised to find that only 32% of countries use DST, which accounts for only 20% of the population. And we don’t all change our clocks at the same time. Across Europe, it is harmonised but for example, in the US they already changed their clocks a few weeks ago (and a couple of states there don’t change their clocks at all!) and in Australia, it won’t happen for another week. Talk about confusing.

If you can’t remember which way the clocks change when, then the short saying at the beginning of this piece will help. “Spring forward, fall back” – here the US word for autumn – fall – makes the play on words complete. The clocks move ahead in spring and move back in the autumn. It’s the only way I can ever remember it!

So, don’t forget to change those non-digital, automatically syncing clocks around the house this weekend or you might get yourself in a pickle! I seem to be in a very old-fashioned world round here as I have 7 clocks to change and a couple of watches! Now I think of it, the clock in the kitchen is still showing DST from last year so I guess that won’t need changing after all! Sometimes you just have to wait for time to be right!


What is Lisa's week?

"We’ve (hopefully) been entertaining you so far with the meaning and background of a weekly English idiom and now we’ve decided to expand that a little to give me the chance to share some details that come my way in my daily life as a Business English teacher. I hope to find weekly tidbits of information and experience to tell you about such as British traditions that I (or we) celebrate, or typical mistakes made when speaking English, or even some of the funny things I come across in my daily life. We hope that you’ll enjoy the insight into the life of a Brit in Germany!"


Episode 1: The Queen's 90th birthday

Episode 2: What did you do last Sunday?

Episode 3: What's the best way to answer?

Episode 4: The sound of London

Episode 5: Not just a last resort

Episode 6: Quick tip of the week: advice vs. advise

Episode 7: Title talk

Episode 8: The Union Jack

Episode 9: Why Thursday?

Episode 10: Quick tip of the week - Are you watching or just looking?

Episode 11: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Episode 12: Don't forget to take you handy to the public viewing!

Episode 13: Up in the Highlands

Episode 14: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends

Episode 15: Pie in the sky 

Episode 16: Through the tunnel

Episode 17: Keep left!

Episode 18: Quick tip of the week - Rise vs. raise vs. arise

Episode 19: How do you say that?

Episode 20: Back to School!

Episode 21: Sweet cravings

Episode 22: Can you change a fiver?

Episode 23: Grabbing some "me time"

Episode 24: Typical Mistakes (part 1)

Episode 25: Fancy a cuppa?

Episode 26: Quip tip of the week - Fell vs. fall etc.

Episode 27: Things that go bump in the night!

Episode 28: Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpower, treason and plot

Episode 29: What's that badge you're wearing?

Episode 30: Bless you!

Episode 31: What are you thankful for?

Episode 32: Where's the larget Christmas Market outside Germany or Austria?

Episode 33: What's behind the door?

Episode 34: The joy of a Christmas cracker!

Episode 35: Does it all fit on the table?

Episode 36: Seeing in the New Year

Episode 37: How are your resolutions going?

Episode 38: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends - part 2

Episode 39: What will the Year of the Rooster mean for you?

Episode 40: Sweet Valentine

Episode 41: A Reminder

Episode 42: I'll have mine with sugar and lemon juice, please!

Episode 43: The joy of golden daffodils

Episode 44: To correct or not to correct, that is the question

Episode 45: The whole world's going green!

Episode 46: Idiom of the week - Raining cats and dogs

Episode 47: The joke's on you!

Episode 48: Left over from the Middle Ages!

Episode 49: More calendar food-based ponderings

Episode 50: We use German words too

Episode 51: Celebrating St George

Episode 52: The perfect start to the day

Episode 53: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 1)

Episode 54: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 2)

Episode 55: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 3)

Episode 56: Holiday season is coming!

Episode 57; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 1

Episode 58; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 2

Episode 59: Summer Solstice

Episode 60: Harry Potter turns 20

Episode 61: Quick Tip of the Week - live, life, live

Episode 62: Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

Episode 63:  I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Episode 64: Stick a stamp on it!

Episode 65: Idiom of the week - Water under the bridge

Episode 66: I say QWERTY, you say QWERTZ

Episode 67: Doing your homework and making mistakes! (Part 1)

Episode 68: Doing your homework and making mistakes! (Part 2)

Episode 69: Joking around in Scotland

Episode 70: The first day of school

Episode 71: Let's go down to the Wiesn!

Episode 72: Celebrating language

Episode 73: It's a Harry thing!

Episode 74: My favourite time of the year

Episode 75: TED-Ideas Worth Spreading

Episode 76: Grinning like a Cheshire cat

Episode 77: Enjoying the downtime

Episode 78: Talking Tenners

Episode 79: Do you need anything from the Hight Street?

Episode 80: Just another few minutes!

Episode 81: Counting the cards on my shelf.

Episode 82: What sign are you?

Episode 83: Great if you have a sweet tooth

Episode 84: It's an acquired taste!

Episode 85: New Year's Resolutions

Episode 86: Quick Tip of the week - go/come & take/bring

Episode 87: My Luve is Like a Red Red Rose

Episode 88: Once in a blue moon

Episode 89: Learning by Listening - part 1

Episode 90: Learning by Listening - part 2

Episode 91: This is the travel news!

Episode 92: The "Beast from the East" hits Western Europe!

Episode 93: The flu hits Lisa's Week