At this time of the year, as the autumn begins to slide slowly into place, one hears a familiar phrase.

It is almost traditional now.

"It's getting darker in the mornings ..."

Indeed it is, and with the skies above us clouded by ... clouds ... over the past weeks the sense of darkness has been amplified.


Finding a pair of dark socks was becoming more challenging by the day.

But there is growing light on the horizon, thanks to this appalling low pressure system finally dissolving over the Pacific after literally hosing everyone in the North Island off for a week and the introduction of the annual time change.

One day after April Fool's Day (I don't think there is any connection) the clocks will be turned back an hour. Putting us back to normal time, so to speak.

So 8am becomes 7am, which means the light of 8am will become the new light for 7am.
Pairs of dark socks all over the nation will be dancing for joy.

But as this enlightenment gets balanced out by the events later in the afternoon on the following days another well-worn and familiar phrase re-emerges after a year's break.

"It's certainly getting darker in the evenings ..."

Oh well, it's a conversation starter and anything apart from how the weather's going and what the Government is up to (or not up to) is refreshing.

The conclusion of daylight saving is the true portent of the duller temperatures and low-flying sun which lies ahead, and it is almost frightening to sit back and wonder "where did it go?"

Arriving home on a late afternoon in late September to more daylight than there was the day before seems like only yesterday.

There's another well-worn familiar phrase ... "it seems like only yesterday".

The usual response to that is yet another familiar phrase.

"Where did the time go?"

So then, that's another summer out of the way and here we are in autumn-land again as the leaves begin to brown while the grass begins to green, thanks to the autumn rains.

The cicadas are starting to pull back a little now, while the crickets are beginning to take their place in the evenings.

Isn't it odd how they tend to settle in spots right outside bedroom windows?

While the slowly orbiting and shifting planet looks after the amount of light and warmth we get, the Government looks after the adding and deduction of that hour.

It comes under the auspices of the "New Zealand Daylight Time of Order of 2007", but goes back a lot further of course.

Back to 1927, although it only ran from November to early March then, and there was another permanent tweak, involving 30 minutes, which was introduced in 1941 as part of some wartime measure to keep us in the swing of Greenwich Mean Time (the mother country held the key to the clock winder).

It's an odd term "daylight saving" because at the end of the day (of course) nothing is saved at all.

During this just over six-month spread of altered time we still get whatever the sun decides to send us...we just fool around with the clocks, that's all.

There was however a time when there was true daylight saving, and I may not be alone in having experienced this phenomena.

In one's younger, and occasionally more carefree and nocturnal years, there was indeed plenty of saving to be done during daylight.

Because you hardly ever got up early.

But when the sun went down that daylight saving morphed into night-time spending.

And that too (like the tweaking of clocks) only seemed to really happen in the warmer months...before hibernation set in.

So here we are, just a sniff under weeks away from Father Time's interpretation of the first day of autumn, and if Father Time were to run a public house as a sort of secondary employment then he would be preparing to issue that uncompromising order.

"Six months is up...gentlemen, ladies...time please."

But hey, if last autumn and winter were anything to go by the path through to "opening time" again in late September should be a breeze, and herein lies yet another familiar phrase which will begin to emerge as the days grow shorter.

"Spring'll be here before we know it."

Ahhh, one of my favourite sayings.