Lisa's week

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Lisa's week: Springing forward and falling back

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Did you cast your vote? You know! The most “important” election of recent times. The vote on the question on the tip of everyone’s tongue? The question that has been confusing philosophers of our time?

Of course, I’m talking about the European-wide election regarding the complex topic that is “changing the clocks”! Ha ha! Maybe not as important as I’ve been making out. But clearly for lots of Germans, it’s a subject close to your heart. 

A European Union online survey asked citizens across the zone for their views on whether changing the clocks for summer and wintertime should be abolished and the people spoke. In fact, c.4.5 million people joined the survey, of which 3 million were German. It seems that this is something people feel strongly about round here. 

Overwhelmingly - more than 80% - respondents called for the system of moving the clocks forward at the end of spring and back at the end of autumn to end, and now we are all interested to see what the EU will decide to do.

I talked a little about changing the clocks for the summer or Daylight Saving Time back in Lisa’s Week #94 (which you can find here) and we find ourselves once again at the time of year when we gain back that precious hour of sleep that they “stole” from me back then. 

The question now is though, if the EU decides to really abolish changing the clocks, will we settle on summer or wintertime? Most people I’ve spoken to in lessons would prefer the long summer evenings which can be found at UTC+2 and are willing to sacrifice the light in the winter. I’ve been told that mornings which don’t get light until 9am wouldn’t be a problem because they’d be at work anyway. They say that in the middle of winter, they arrive and leave in the dark so what’s the difference?

Of course, there’s a lot of logic in that. And of course, there is no “right” or “wrong” answer to this question. It’s very much a question of personal taste.

But for countries in the far north – Scandinavia – who already have much shorter days than we have in Germany, or further west – western Spain – where the sun rises later than countries to the east, I would imagine that they’d prefer to stay on wintertime.

Regardless of where you fall on the time line (pun intended), it has been shown that changing the clocks can disturb our natural body rhythms, create problems for those caring for animals or babies whose body clocks won’t naturally change when we artificially change the time, or cause accidents on the streets in the few days after the change due to tiredness or just being “out of sorts” because of disturbed sleep. I even heard a report about the significant increase in heart attacks in the 24-48 hours after a clock change, although I don’t remember all the details.

So there seems to be a lot to be said for stopping all that confusion and just sticking to one time during the whole year. The powers in Brussels will no doubt make a decision and there’s talk that this weekend might be the last clock change we make in the EU area (if they decide to keep wintertime) because they want to bring something into being by spring 2019. 

I love gaining that hour in the autumn and hate losing it again in the spring but I also recognise how my body and brain struggle to get to grips with the new time – even though it’s “just” an hour - so I’m open to change.

Personally, I’d prefer wintertime as that is, in effect, central European “real” time according to the timelines around the Earth that start with GMT in Greenwich and continue round the earth at – mostly – one hour intervals.

Regardless, I’ll take my extra hour in the middle of the night and enjoy the few days following when it’s a bit lighter in the mornings. And I, for one, love the long, dark evenings which start as soon as I get home from work and give me so much time to be productive! Yes, I know I’m in the minority here but that’s another of my peculiarities!

Now, don’t forget to go round the house on Sunday and change those clocks!


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

Episode 94: Spring forward and fall back

Episode 95: Holy Week

Episode 96: Quick Tip of the Week - prepositons of time

Episode 97: Perfect for dunking!

Episode 98: Part of the family

Episode 99: It's a boy!

Episode 100: Happy Anniversary to me!

Episode 101: To all the mothers out there

Episode 102: Up, up and away

Episode 103: A very British affair!

Episode 104: Getting boarded!

Episode 105: How do you say that?

Episode 106: Ready for departure?

Episode 107: Happy Father's Day

Episode 108: I'm leaving... on a jet plane... (Part 4)

Episode 109: Can football really come home?

Episode 110: A right royal christening

Episode 111: Touch down!

Episode 112: 70 years of public healthcare

Episode 113: The same but different

Episode 114: A long hot summer

Episode 115: Germany through a visitor's eyes

Episode 116: Quick Tip of the Week - question tags (part 1)

Episode 117: Quick Tip of the Week - question tags (part 2)

Episode 118: All the fun of the fair

Episode 119: What's your "thing"?

Episode 120: Imagining out loud