Sunday, 27th March, 2022

[Day 741]

So British Summer Time (BST) officially started at 1.00am this morning and we are now entering the period known officially as ‘Daylight Savings Time’. All of this means that we now have lighter evenings to which to look forward but at the (slight) cost of slightly darker mornings. The principal task this morning is also to adjust various clocks throughout the house. Fortunately, our computers and radios automatically adjust themselves but I have to remember to adjust the central heating clock (our previous controller used to do this automatically but our current model does not). There is always one device which I can never quite remember how to adjust and in my case, its the oven clock but everything else, as far as I remember, has been adjusted. I seem to think that there was a movement some time ago to go onto what is called ‘Double Summer Time’ i.e. putting the clocks forward by two hours which incidentally aligns us with continental Europe. Actually, in 1968, a three-year experiment was conducted with British Standard Time, keeping the clocks fixed throughout the year on GMT+1. However, the dark winter mornings were unpopular, particularly in Scotland. In 1971, MPs voted to return to the system that endures today. Yet the debate continues about transferring to Single/Double Summertime (SDST) – the current convoluted buzzword. Research showed an 11.7% reduction in road casualties between 1968 and 1971. An extra hour’s light in the evening is thought to offer savings of up to £35m in fuel costs. Crime rates also drop with longer evenings. What is interesting, in these post-Brexit days, is that the idea has never sprung to the fore again but as the energy crisis hits us it may force its way up the agenda in the foreseeable future. Having got up early, amended our clocks and fuelled myself with some instant porridge, I set off for our Sunday newspaper and there was not a soul around (just after 8.00am) as I set off – I suppose all sensible people were busy trying to recoup their extra hour in bed and even the usual accompaniment of joggers and dog-walkers seemed to be absent. On returning home. We watched the ‘Sunday Morning’ show which is a regular Sunday morning fixture and I prepared our elevenses for later on in the morning. I then received a text from my son who was returning from a rail trip and with whom I had an arrangement to pick him up from the station. This Meg and I did but all not gone particularly well on this particular rail trip (booking offices not open when they should be, scheduled trains not running and similar kinds of misfortunes) so our son was not a particularly happy bunny when we picked him up. Then Meg and I went for our ‘normal’ Sunday morning walk to the park and ran across a few of our ‘park regulars’ this morning before we returned home to cook Sunday lunch.

The Ukrainian war is not often a source of amusement but one particular series of incidents is hitting the newspaper columns of papers such as the Sunday Times. At the airport serving Kerson, Moscow first ordered Russian troops, armour, attack helicopters and logistical support vehicles to occupy the airport on February 27. A Ukrainian drone filmed them as they moved in and then opened fire, damaging several helicopters. Undeterred, Russian commanders moved in more helicopters and scores more vehicles. Ukrainian artillery answered with a massive, concentrated bombardment against the airfield on March 7. Footage released by the Ukrainian military shows dozens of flashes lighting up whole sectors of the airfield in rapid succession, with rockets blowing apart the vehicles stationed there. The attack wiped out at least 30 helicopters and dozens more armoured vehicles To cut a very long story short, the Russians have reinforced the airport on ten occasions. Each time, there has been an Ukrainian air strike destroying helicopters and other military equipment. A Russian commander, Lieutenant General Yakov Rezantsev, promptly put himself in the front line to work out was happening – and was promptly taken out by Ukrainian attacks. The Ukrainians themselves cannot believe just how unbelievably stupid the Russian tactics have been. This may be the result of a cultural trait in which the Russian military blindly follow orders and there is little room for any independent ‘thinking’. By contrast, the Ukrainians have shown themselves to be flexible, adaptive and fast-learning and hence the successes that they are enjoying against vastly superior Russian fire power.

Last night, Meg and I attempted to watch some opera videos on ‘YouTube‘ and each of these attempts resulted in disaster (some 5 seconds of video followed by two minutes of ‘buffering’) As my son called round today, we thought we would investigate what was going wrong, as I suspectd that resetting the router during the week had not helped matters. But this afternoon, everything worked as one would have expected so I suppose I was just unlucky to have hit of patch of very low connection speeds last night.