Chronological Conundrum

Alarm clockTonight, in the UK at least, we perform that ridiculous ritual of ‘putting the clocks back’. How much longer must we put up with this, for heaven’s sake? For once, though, I’m grateful, since Rose is catching a distressingly early flight in the morning, and the hour of our rising will at least feel less abominable than it would otherwise.

It leaves me with a problem, though: what to use as an alarm clock?

Some of my gadgets are clever enough to take note of the time change automatically, others aren’t, and some (like my RDS clock radio) will pick up the change once they’re turned on. I’m really not sure whether they’ll do the right thing if I set an alarm tonight for a time in a different timezone tomorrow. So which of these should I take to whichever faceless Heathrow hotel is to be blessed with our patronage tonight?

I certainly don’t want to have any fewer hours of sleep than I’ll be getting already, but I also don’t want to gamble with getting to a transatlantic flight on time. So, ironically, I may take the most basic, least high-tech alarm clock which I know won’t try to do anything clever and I can then work out the time changes myself…

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You need Abalahkov’s Alarm Clock, as described to me by a Russian friend some years ago. Unfortunately it needs some calibration and it may already be too late for you to do that, but here’s the method anyway:

1. In advance, determine personal constant C in hours/pint.
2. Compute required time interval T in hours.
3. Empty bladder.
4. Consume T/C pints of Russian tea.
5. Go to bed.

Not only will you certainly wake up by the required time, but you will be forced to get out of bed.

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