David Bouchier

My wife has been reading a book about habit. I hope this has nothing to do with me, because I prefer to think of myself as a man without habits. Every day is a new adventure, once I have had my coffee and cereal and apple juice and looked at the paper and listened to Morning Edition. But I was shaken out of my complacency earlier this year when we arrived in France and went to our usual village market.

A back yard pool is a sad sight in November. Even if a few mild days still lie ahead, the pool is yesterday’s news. The Halloween witches have already vanished from most front yards, and the lawn furniture is being packed away, but what do you do with a pool? You can’t hide it in the garage like a barbecue, or put it out for garbage collection like a broken lawn chair.

Early yesterday morning a whole hour of daylight was stolen from our pleasant evenings and placed when we least need it, in the unfriendly mornings, all because of the cruel and pointless institution of Daylight Saving time. When I was a kid, and before I realized the futility of it, I was a rebel against time. We had to be at school early, and early is not my favorite time of day. Why shouldn’t school start at a civilized hour, like after lunch? But nobody ever listened to common sense, then or now. The time lords had decreed that the school day must start early.

Yesterday, October 25, was the six hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt. Nobody would remember that battle if it hadn’t been for Shakespeare’s Henry V, and the 1944 movie with young Laurence Olivier with those images of great flights of arrows soaring into the French ranks.

When I walked into the local hardware store on a lovely sunny day last week I found myself facing not only a grisly display of plastic witches, cobwebs and pumpkins, but an even more depressing heap of ice scrapers, anti-freeze and salt. The main aisle was half blocked by a snow blower, some snow shovels were lurking in the distance, and there was a special offer on driveway markers to help you find your way back to your own house when the snow is too deep for normal navigation. Global warming has made no impression on the hardware business.

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