There is an old clock in the kitchen here.
When I say ‘old’, I confess I don’t know its exact age but it is somewhere in the region of sixty to seventy years old.
It’s one of those office type clocks that you see on office walls – large, round and with numerals to match. It’s the kind of clock that office workers throughout the world keep an eye on to check if it’s coffee break time, and how long they have to slave before going home.
Someone once pointed out that the clock is unusual, in that the big red second hand doesn’t clunk around like modern clocks, but glides smoothly and silently as if it has all the time in the world, which I suppose it has.
It’s mains driven and extremely accurate….. Except when it stops of course.
I dropped it a couple of years ago. I thought that was the end of it, but I only knocked a chunk out of the casing, and smashed the glass. I kept the bits of casing ‘just in case’.
Last week the clock stopped. Normally it needs a bit of a kick if there has been an interruption of power, but this time it stopped for no reason at all. “Aha!” I says to myself. “The old man has died”.
Since it stopped, it has been hanging there, quietly saying it’s a quarter to five. I never realised how much I look at that clock, as I am reminded many times during the day that it is deceased. The only reason I left it hanging there is that the last time I painted the walls, I didn’t bother painting behind the clock, so there is a dirty great circle of grey up there.
Today, I decided to do something about it. I’m not quite sure what I intended to do with it, but I carefully removed it from the wall. I dismantled it and plunged up to my elbows into its innards. The motor is tiny compared to the clock itself, and it’s full of those fiddly little screws. I stripped it down and found that the oil from the last splurge of maintenance has viscified. Is there any such word as viscified? There should be. The act of becoming more viscous? Anyhow, I cleaned it up and applied fresh oil. Seeing as I had it off the wall I also glued back the bits of casing that have been at the back of the cupboard for the last couple of years.
It’s back on the wall now. It is silently and accurately telling me the time of day.
The old man ain’t dead yet.