I’ve long been fascinated by the fact that for many thousands of years nobody really knew what time it was. People got up when it got light and went to bed when it got dark. In Jube they got up early and in December they went to bed early, and their lives were ruled by light and weather.

When clocks were invented and stuck up on church towers (I realise I’m simplifying things here, but I’m just a bard, not a time lord) the time they showed was local time, not universal time, whatever that is. The lovely clock on Darfield church’s tower would show ten past six but that was just ten past six, Darfield time. It might be quarter past six in Great Houghton and five to six in Wombwell but nobody really minded because the exact time wasn’t that important. It wasn’t as though these people all those years ago were waiting for a parcel to be delivered between 0808 and 0908.

Then, in the 19th Century, the railways came and a train would arrive at Darfield Station at the ten past six written in the timetable but as far as Darfield was concerned it was only six o’clock because the church clock said so and so the people of Darfield would miss the train. That led to a thing that got called ‘railway time’ which meant that, for means of making sure that people turned up to the factory and the mill and the pit and the office on time, it was the same time all over the country. Thus began the reign of the hooter and the clocking-in clock and the timetable. Some people say that’s a bad thing but you can’t turn back time.

Except maybe you can. Or at least you can mess about with time and try and bend it to your will. Let me explain: I’ve got a clock on the bookshelf in the back room that, for as long as I can remember, has been seven minutes fast. Seven precious minutes. A boiled egg and a half. A couple of pages of a gripping novel. Most of Bat Out Of Hell by the late Meatloaf.

The other thing about the clock being seven minutes fast is that it meant I had more time than I thought I had. Time could be putty in my hands. People who know me will know that I like to be early, if not extremely early. If I’m due somewhere at three o’clock I will catch the train or the bus that gets me there at two o’clock and I’ll sit around waiting; the real reason for this, of course , is that trains and buses are often late so if I set off early I can get one up on them. If they go late, I go early, to adapt a phrase.

That’s why the fast clock on the bookshelf suited me fine. It gave me time to get ready, time to be even earlier. If it said that I had ten minutes to get somewhere, even though I knew in my heart that I had seventeen minutes to get there, that suited me fine. I had seven minutes to play with and I’d still be early because I was early anyway.

And then one day last week I said to myself, or perhaps I said it aloud, ‘This is childish. I don’t need to rely on this clock being fast’ and I sprang (sort of) from my chair and put the clock right. I sat down again and it was like when they invented railway time in that every clock in the house, like the clocks on my phone and my iPad, showed the right time.

You’d think that would have made me happy but I’m sad to report to the readers of the Barnsley Chronicle that it didn’t. To use a technical term, my leeway had gone. Now I could no longer have an extra slurp of my tea before I went for the bus because I’d got those spare seven minutes in my pocket; now the pocket was empty and the clock did what it said on the tin. Now the clock face was telling me something that was a piece of absolute fact, not an item of historical fiction.

So when the clocks Go forward this weekend I’ll put them forward an hour and seven minutes. That’ll show time that I mean business! What time is it, anyway?