Yesterday, I was almost early for an appointment. Well, I'm usually early, so why was this unusual?
I was almost a month early - I had written down the right day, but put it in the wrong place in my calendar. Only an obsession with double-checking things saved me from embarrassment and a waste of my time.
But it got me thinking about fast-forwarding in time - Not really in time, you understand, but missing days or months out of the calendar. This is sort of the opposite to what Bee did when she lived through the same month twice.
There are plenty of times in history when this was done. It looks like altogether between 1751 and 1752 they skipped around 3 months - which I think explains at least partly why our financial year starts in April rather than January - after all, you couldn't expect accountants with their years of training and high numercy skills to be able to cope with a shorter year, could you?
So, had I not realised my mistake, I could perhaps have got out of it by persuading everyone to skip the 31 days between the 19th October and the 18th November. Then no-one would have known.
In fact, the only people I'd really have to persuade would be the media, who could publish their papers with the new date, and the people who do the clocks on the internet. Many years ago The Daily Telegraph got the date wrong on its paper and an amazing number of people lived out the wrong day (not sure what that says about Torygraph readers).
But how would I have sold it? Well, I can see quite a few advantages:
- An early Christmas - the day would be longer, and we wouldn't have to endure quite so much of the shop's Christmas campaigns.
- No Bonfire Night - That would please the country's dog owners.
- People who didn't miss their birthday would be 31 days younger in reality than their age.
- People who did miss their birthday would lose a year of theirs.
- The football season would be a month shorter.
You'd miss Halloween, but that could also be an advantage - you'll have eleven months longer to prepare.
In fact there's only one thing that stopped me doing all this - someone has a milestone (as in high mileage) birthday coming up and we wouldn't want to miss out on the "getting old" taunts - I mean the celebrations, would we?
The picture above by Hogarth includes references to the "Give us back our eleven days!" campaign of 1752.