Saturday, 31 December 2011

The calendar and the whiskey diet

Hola and Happy New Year, folks! We thought we would be kind and treat you to one last Gem for 2011. Of course, by the time we post this, it will be 2012 for a fair part of the world, so...

Over a drink earlier today, Julie was telling me about an article she had read somewhere about the island of Samoa, and the fact that they are changing their status regarding their position to the international dateline.
Mind you, what with Julie's epic facility for recalling details and her masterly grasp of Geography, it actually came out more like "I read this article about something, somewhere, it was some island somewhere, I think it was..." Fortunately, Julie realised she was heading towards a rambling Moment and stopped to tack stock of what she was trying to say.
Apparently, the island of Samoa lost December 30th this year to the mists of time. Like I said, it was all to do with their position relative to the International Dateline. You can read more about it HERE.
What Julie told me triggered a vague memory of some thing that I, myself, had read on a very similar theme.

That must have been a hell of a party for an entire country to be so smashed out of their heads to have lost the best part of a fortnight....
Of course, the reality is very different. Basically, Britain was quite some way behind the times, when it came to reckoning time - especially on an annual scale. While much of Europe had switched to the new-fangled Gregorian Calendar, stubborn ol' Britain continued to use the Julian calendar. Of course, since the Julian calendar was based on the solar year, as opposed to the astronomical year, the days were tagged as being somewhat shorter than they actually were. All this meant that, by the time Britain finally gave in and adopted the Gregorian calendar, we were out by ten whole days.
Of course, there was the predictable set of complaints about people who were concerned that their businesses may suffer due to the change, which is fair enough, one supposes. But then too, there were also plenty of others who literally believed they were going to lose ten whole days of their allotted lifespan. I dread to think what it would have been like if that parochial and reactionary rag, The Daily Mail, had been around then...