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Monday, 19 January 2015

A Cluster of Clocks

"What's that noise?" my two year old granddaughter asked the other day as she played in our bedroom.
"It's a clock," I replied.
In fact it's a travel alarm clock which my husband had at boarding school. We have recently ditched our radio clock alarm and brought the old wind-up clock out of retirement. Despite years of not being used it still works perfectly well and it has a medium sounding, quite fast tick which is probably why it tends to gain a little.

It's interesting how you can know someone for ages and not know certain things about them. A couple of days ago I discovered that one of my friends doesn't like ticking clocks. We have two old clocks which need repairing and mentioned that we were taking them to a clock repairer in Stamford. My friend's husband asked us to take a clock of his. Once mended he is going to place it in his office where she can't hear the ticking!

I actually love the tick tock of a clock. When small I spent a lot of time at my grandparent's house and halfway along the long, narrow hall, which ran front to back right through the centre of the house, stood a stately, longcase clock. It's steady, reassuring tick was like a welcome as soon as you crossed the threshold. If I remember correctly it's chimes sang out on the quarter and were like a joyful 'hello' reverberating through the house. My grandfather, (not a fanciful man by any stretch of the imagination), once saw a ghost standing next to this clock.
"What are you doing?" he asked. "You don't belong here."
And the ghost disappeared, never to be spotted again.

At Stamford the front room contained quite a cluster of clocks. There were three longcase clocks, one whose face was decorated with pretty Norfolk scenes, an ormolu clock underneath a glass dome and several clocks on the walls. I have heard that when a collection of clocks are all together their ticking becomes synchronised. I can tell you it is not true! These clocks ticked away happily and individually, forming their own mellow melody.

"You've always got company with a ticking clock," another friend's mother used to say. And I think that's true. I'm missing my clocks and looking forward to bringing them home very soon.

Thank-you for reading and have a wonderful week.


  1. What a wonderful post Alex... I also love to hear the sound of a clock ticking away.. I would love a long case clock ...a small one due to the low beams in our-cottage. Your grandfathers clock sounds like the one in Toms midnight garden... One of my favourite books. No clocks where I am though in Thailand... No deadlines.... Just the sound of the waves ......

  2. Hope you're having a lovely time. I too have always wanted a longcase clock. Maybe in the next house! The sound of waves is lovely too. Enjoy your time in Thailand without any deadlines.

  3. Somehow a ghost coming via a clock seem right for the time-travelling quality that a ghost has. I hope it was a nice ghost!

  4. It does, doesn't it. I feel a story coming on! I don't think it was an unpleasant ghost but the house was very old and definitely had a distinctive atmosphere.