• Turning the clocks back 30 October 2017 | View comments

  • 30th October 2017 | By David Jolley

    First frost on the roof of my car at 6am today. This would have been 7am two days ago. Here I am at 7.05 ready to attend to the birds in the aviary – in daylight. This aligns us with farmers, school children and workers who walked to work at the mill – pleased to see the return of Greenwich Mean Time. It is a fabulous thing that time is manipulated like this.

    On clear days we are feeling cold – but exhilarated by the sun which shines through leaves – transparent, gold, orange, yellow and red, before they fall to be crunched underfoot or blown joyously in gambolling crowds to make temporary mountains. Warmer days come under cloud, with darkness and rain. Not so easy to get things done. Games for a rainy day.

    We had a book of tracing which came out only on such days. What was the point of that!

    Time to plant bulbs, given to bring colour in the springtime, by neighbours for the beds at the corner of the road. A triangle of peace beside a busy junction. Space in the day to be away from the buzz of the office, the gossip, the earnest pursuit of profit. To get to the ground we have to shift the leaves – and there we find weeds have grown on those rainy days that have kept us inside. Weeds give way easily enough from the damp soil, made richer this year by compost and attention. They will make new compost for next year.

    This way we maintain and improve the ground and favour those plants and creatures which we prefer. Left to themselves, those weeds would have their way and our hints of peace would be lost.

    An elderly preacher, musing as he worked his garden reflected:

    ‘I pay attention to the weeds and clear them away, but the more I remove them, the more they grow again. Sometimes I feel like throwing in the trowel!’

    Now this might be a parable applicable to any or every creative effort. If we want to make things better, we have to keep vigilant and take opportunities to identify and deal with poor practices which will ruin the design and take us nowhere or worse. We must not throw in the towel.

    Could be, as reflected last week, that this has been happening in our beloved NHS and related organisations. We need to be rid of the choking weeds.

    Could we please turn the clock back to a simpler system and leadership and direction from clinicians in association with patients and carers at grass roots who know what is right for particular locales.

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