Tracy McGrath's daily texts about lighting up times help brighten her friends' lives

SWITCHED-ON: Tracy McGrath texts family and friends. 06237701

SWITCHED-ON: Tracy McGrath texts family and friends. 06237701

First published in News
Last updated
Worcester News: Sarah Hickinbotham by

THE long, dark nights of winter can take their toll, but one Worcester woman has found a way to spread a bit of cheer in the gloom.

For the past four years, Tracy McGrath, of Warndon Villages has been conducting a streetlight watch, counting down the days until the return of the lighter nights.

The 51-year-old watches the streetlight outside her home most nights between December 21 and February 2 when the evenings are at their darkest.

She then makes a note of the time it switches on and texts her observation to family and friends, together with poignant poetry and quirky quotes.

Examples of her messages also feature lyrics from songs, including a medley of Cliff Richard’s greatest hits in a homage to his Wimbledon appearance when her observation on January 8 was rained off. Throughout the duration of this year’s watch, Worcester has gained more than an hour of daylight.

The grandmother-of-five said: “It’s only a bit of silliness. It was intended to show the very dark part of winter doesn’t actually last very long. I only text a few family and friends.

“I was off sick about four years ago and started doing it. I get the most amazing responses. It says to people ‘look, the nights are getting brighter already’. A couple of friends who live in different places send in roving reports.

“A lot of people struggle with these dark days so it helps spread a bit of positivity.”

Comments (9)

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10:43am Thu 7 Feb 13

CJH says...

ok...but I like the dark nights. People can't see what you're up to.
ok...but I like the dark nights. People can't see what you're up to. CJH
  • Score: 0

1:32pm Thu 7 Feb 13

jaybnell1988 says...

#NobodyCares
#NobodyCares jaybnell1988
  • Score: 0

2:13pm Thu 7 Feb 13

msmoox says...

In response to jaybnell1988 I care so please dont make such a general statment. I was lucky enough to be on the list of recipients for the Street Light watch bullitin and it was fabulous! I struggle with the dark winter months and Street Light watch was a bit of fun and helped put in perspective how short the period of time is when the night are long and dark. The text updates always made me smile I thought the rovering reporters were great, I loved the fact there were other people getting in on the action. The Sir Cliff update was hysterical ( maybe you need a 'quirky' sense of humour to really appreciate it. ) but its these little things thats make life a laugh! Thanks Street Light Watch !!!!
In response to jaybnell1988 I care so please dont make such a general statment. I was lucky enough to be on the list of recipients for the Street Light watch bullitin and it was fabulous! I struggle with the dark winter months and Street Light watch was a bit of fun and helped put in perspective how short the period of time is when the night are long and dark. The text updates always made me smile I thought the rovering reporters were great, I loved the fact there were other people getting in on the action. The Sir Cliff update was hysterical ( maybe you need a 'quirky' sense of humour to really appreciate it. ) but its these little things thats make life a laugh! Thanks Street Light Watch !!!! msmoox
  • Score: 0

4:07pm Thu 7 Feb 13

jaybnell1988 says...

Awww shucks. Clearly I'm just not fun enough to enjoy a bit of good old street light humour -_-

Maybe we could meet up some time so you explain in detail how interesting it is, along with the merits of watching paint dry in a humorous fashion?

MsMoox; by any chance do you iron your socks and underwear?
Awww shucks. Clearly I'm just not fun enough to enjoy a bit of good old street light humour -_- Maybe we could meet up some time so you explain in detail how interesting it is, along with the merits of watching paint dry in a humorous fashion? MsMoox; by any chance do you iron your socks and underwear? jaybnell1988
  • Score: 0

4:47pm Thu 7 Feb 13

FalMae says...

I am a proud Streetlight Watch participator and I think it's fantastic! The long winter nights often get me down and the humourous, jolly texts always make me laugh!
It is obviously for a bit of fun and not to be taken super seriously. Maybe Tracy can save ironing socks for when she's not making people laugh and bringing a ray of sunshine into these dark winter nights!! Thank you Tracy!!
I am a proud Streetlight Watch participator and I think it's fantastic! The long winter nights often get me down and the humourous, jolly texts always make me laugh! It is obviously for a bit of fun and not to be taken super seriously. Maybe Tracy can save ironing socks for when she's not making people laugh and bringing a ray of sunshine into these dark winter nights!! Thank you Tracy!! FalMae
  • Score: 0

7:04pm Thu 7 Feb 13

Busymum2011 says...

Sounded odd to me too, jaybnell 1988, but if people enjoy it then what's your problem?
Sounded odd to me too, jaybnell 1988, but if people enjoy it then what's your problem? Busymum2011
  • Score: 0

9:27am Fri 8 Feb 13

Guy66 says...

jaybnell1988 wrote:
Awww shucks. Clearly I'm just not fun enough to enjoy a bit of good old street light humour -_-

Maybe we could meet up some time so you explain in detail how interesting it is, along with the merits of watching paint dry in a humorous fashion?

MsMoox; by any chance do you iron your socks and underwear?
Wow - get an anger management course and quick!
[quote][p][bold]jaybnell1988[/bold] wrote: Awww shucks. Clearly I'm just not fun enough to enjoy a bit of good old street light humour -_- Maybe we could meet up some time so you explain in detail how interesting it is, along with the merits of watching paint dry in a humorous fashion? MsMoox; by any chance do you iron your socks and underwear?[/p][/quote]Wow - get an anger management course and quick! Guy66
  • Score: 0

3:12pm Fri 8 Feb 13

truth must out says...

Examples of her messages also feature lyrics from songs, including a medley of Cliff Richard’s greatest hits in a homage to his Wimbledon appearance when her observation on January 8 was rained off.

Street light watcher rained off.........though you could do it from indoors!!!! In the Summer texts revealing how much the grass has grown!!
Examples of her messages also feature lyrics from songs, including a medley of Cliff Richard’s greatest hits in a homage to his Wimbledon appearance when her observation on January 8 was rained off. Street light watcher rained off.........though you could do it from indoors!!!! In the Summer texts revealing how much the grass has grown!! truth must out
  • Score: 0

7:39am Mon 11 Feb 13

fatbird says...

What a fantastic idea! We are always looking for signs of longer days as my husband gets really down during Winter.
What a fantastic idea! We are always looking for signs of longer days as my husband gets really down during Winter. fatbird
  • Score: 0

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