I like clocks.
I’m tempted to say that there is something timeless about them but some puns are best left in the box.
Sadly they are becoming an endangered species, or at least the analogue version is. It really saddens me that kids these days are unable to even read analogue clocks, relying instead on digital.
There was a time not so long ago when clocks were a bit of a rarity. There would be the mantelpiece clock in most households and adults would likely have wrist watches but that was it. Nowadays, timepieces are everywhere. Within a few feet of me now there’s of course the time on my laptop screen, my phone and the analogue version on my wristwatch. In Herself’s room there is the television, the satellite box and a media player all dependent on time. Naturally Herself has a watch and her radio is synchronised with the Wide World. Behind me the microwave oven and the main oven both have digital displays and then there’s the central heating control and my one bit of proud history – a Smith electric office clock.
The Smith is far older than myself, as my father got it about ten years before I was born which makes it eighty years plus. It has a mains phase driven motor which makes it uncannily accurate and is unusual nowadays as it has a smooth sweeping second hand. Modern clocks tend to jump the seconds. I dropped it a while back and the glass broke, which is a shame, but it still works perfectly.
Setting the time on a clock used to be a bit of a ritual. The only accurate way of setting a clock was to listen for the timing “pips” on the radio or watch for the clock on television, but of course nowadays half the timepieces are connected to the Interwebs and therefore are perpetually accurate.
Broadcasting stations of course have to be extremely accurate about timing. Most processes are timed to the second and [in theory anyway] programmes have to be scheduled accurately. In the sub basement in RTE there was a rack of boxes containing the central timer. This was connected to Greenwich and was [supposed to be] accurate to a hundredth of a second and all the clocks within the organisation were synchronised with it. I used to set my watch there occasionally which was slightly anal but what the hell.
I don’t bother with accuracy so much these days. I do confess to a certain smugness when the short case clock in the front room chimes six just as the Angelus* bongs on the television. I’m happy if my watch is accurate within about five minutes either way as the only use I have for time is to know when shops are due to shut or the weather forecast is coming on the television.
I have another short case clock which is in pieces. I keep meaning to work on it [there’s a problem with the escape ratchet] as it has a much nicer chime. It’s one of those projects which keeps getting put on the long finger.
Maybe I’ll work on it when I have the time?
* For the heathens amongst us, the Angelus is a dreary bell being chimed to remind Good Irish Catholics to pray. They bang it out at midday and six in the evening. It’s a sort of Catholic Mullah shouting over the airwaves. It pisses me off as it’s just a daily reminder of the Bad Old Days when the Archbishops ruled the country.