Time

Be alert to the changes in the time at the start and end of summer. It is easy to lose track of such things when in Greece. I know, I have done it, but not (yet) missed a plane because of it. I remember one dark and not particularly warm morning standing at a bus stop in Paleochora in Crete with my bags, waiting for a bus back to Chania. Yes - the bus did not turn up when I expected it - the hour had changed.

Spring forward, fall back. That is the right way round, isn't it! It is Saturday 26 March 2005. The clocks go forward to 4 in the morning (2 a.m. in England, there is a two hour time difference). I am travelling to Piraeus on a ferry that arrives at about 9.30 this evening. My journey will not (as far as I know - perhaps I should get to the harbour an hour early, just in case!) be affected. Ferries travelling overnight will be affected by the change of hour. Some of the regular timings that people have become used to will be changed, just for the one night.

This time I am not flying back to England until Monday. One year I was catching a plane from Athens to London early in the morning. The morning when the clocks change at 4 a.m. I had not then realised that the clocks in Greece are changed at 4 a.m., not 2 a.m. Obvious when you think about it, for synchronisation, but until then I had not had occasion to think about it. All I was concerned about was the change in time when I woke up, not the actual time of the change in the middle of the night. I asked the chap on the desk at my hotel to book me a taxi to the airport. Leaving at 4 a.m. should give me plenty of time, I thought. A slightly pained expression crept over the chap's face. "4.15 a.m., that would be plenty early enough, do you agree?" I saw his point. Booking a taxi for 4 a.m. would have been a bit tricky. Which 4 a.m.!?

Other times I have got back to Piraeus too late to make it worth while getting a hotel, and have snoozed at the airport. Snooze. 3.30 a.m. Snooze 3.45 a.m. Snooze 3.55 a.m. Snooze. 3.05 am. A long night!