On clocks and watches and the passing of time

Photo by Brooke-Campbell

When I left the navy, I took off my watch and let time lose track of me.

Okay, that’s got my pompous litfic-ish catchphrase (that I coined on that day and have never forgotten) out of the way. On with the post.

My friend Kari Trenten asked this on Facebook:

Random question while I research…do you like clocks? Do you enjoy old fashioned time pieces or do you carry around something modern to tell time with?

It’s a fine pair of questions, and her curiosity jogged my memories of something very dear to me.

All through my childhood, my favourite clock was my Nan and Grandad’s. It’s a Napoleon’s hat-shaped mantle clock of pale reddish-blond wood that used to chime pleasantly on the hour and give a part-chime every quarter hour too.

A hundred years old now, I should think, it had a lovely delicate tone. It was quite heavy, about ten inches across its base, maybe six inches high and four inches deep, and contained a fine working mechanism that no one was permitted to touch except Grandad.

It sits in my Mum’s house now. After some years of neglect, she had it renovated to keep time accurately, but decided not to have the chime fixed.

She knows it’s the only thing I want to inherit. My memories of Nan and Grandad’s home are a treasure. It was a sanctuary for me, that place, and the clock was always there. When it comes to me I will certainly have its chime restored.

Hip update: Day 7

6 days since the injury. Learning to maintain the fine balance between careful movement to prevent all my soft tissue and muscle stuff in there seizing, and too much movement that will keep tearing the stuff that I hope is trying to heal.

I hope this metaphorical balancing act won’t be too difficult, because even careful movement hurts like a high-pitched screech. And frequently causes them, although I cut them off quickly because they’re embarrassing.

I’ve found a manoeuvre that reduces the pain of a certain movement. One of the screechy moves is my right leg sliding forward delicately to meet my left one. You know, like a step, only reduced to a six-inch shuffle. Moving backwards aches sickeningly, but it isn’t sharp like going forward. So in the middle of the night when I couldn’t persuade my bladder to wait any longer and had to walk to the bathroom, I discovered that if I move sideways it isn’t as bad.

Lesson learned. I’m walking like a crab, left foot out to the side, right foot raised gently until only the ball of my foot touches the floor like a dancer in slow motion, then gently bring it to rest alongside left foot. And repeat. It’s a slow walk, but it doesn’t bring a hot wave of near-faint pain and lights dancing in my vision as the price for every six inches of horizontal progress.

Next mission will be to conquer the stairs problem. Because my bed is up there.

Big changes afoot in Bridger Hollow

Photo by Bryan MinearWe’re home from our week in the lovely English Riviera. I enjoyed every internet-free minute of it and will cherish the memory of our peaceful time. I spent every morning planning three sequels for my half-written space opera Sky Train, slept every afternoon in the sweet seaside air through an open window, made it out for dinner with my family every evening, and slept well every night too. The quaint Dartmouth steam train chuffed past our berth five or six times a day, and everyone we met was pleasant. It was a good holiday. I’ve come home happy and refreshed, and ready to rock Sky Train.

Yesterday was a day of significant change in my home life. Three significant changes, in fact.

The day started with our final Full¬†English holiday breakfast in Torbay, followed by a pleasant journey home, with worrying reports on the radio of a traffic stopping accident on the southbound A38 but that proved to be north of where we joined it. So we sailed through, me in D2’s big red estate with her kids in their childseats behind us and her dashboard talking quietly like something off the starship Enterprise, and my wife and our hound dog Elvis in D3’s sporty white zoom machine, D1 having driven her (definitely not snoozing) kids home the previous evening.

I loved walking into our plane tree-shadowed living room, touching the solidity of it, stretching into the space within it, saying hello quietly because its silence said it had been waiting for us to come home.

D2 bathed her two and delivered them to her ex-husband, their dad, for a fortnight. And that’s the last time they will be here living with us, because next Friday, while they’re still away, their mum will be taking possession of their new home. That’s the first big change.

It’s a nice flat just a five minute walk up the valley from our place, where they’ve lived with us since D2’s youngest was born, so we will still see them all the time. In fact my wife will still be childminding the youngest here for the two-and-a-half days every week when she isn’t at play school.

But I’ll miss them so much. Already am. I stood in their bedroom this morning and had a quiet cry. They’re delightful kids and our home will be a very different place in the evenings without them here. I love D1’s kids too, and they’ll still be coming round to see us just like D2’s will, but it’s going to be a very quiet household with only us three adults here in the evenings.

So last night my wife, D2, D3, and I had a takeaway: various Chinese dishes for them, and for me my Indian favourite, a hotter than medium lamb madras with garlic fried rice. Then we watched the third Hobbit film, and fell into our beds just before midnight for long deep zonks all round.

No writing for me. I put a real productive week of it in on holiday, and last night I needed to take a break. Today as well. This evening or tomorrow I’ll dive right back into it because there’s a notebook filled with space opera series plans waiting to be transferred to the Sky Train folder on my mac, and a big proposal package to put together because I’m going to sub this one to Carina Press.

That’s the second big change. Having believed all through that horribly long deep ME relapse that I would never again be healthy enough to work to deadline dates with a publisher, I now find myself in a position where I can. Which is wonderful and very exciting!

The third big change is that we’re now discussing which of our soon-to-be vacant-again ground floor rooms I will take for my study, and which one D3 will take for her craft room. After three years of writing in our big noisy family living room with a big noisy tv right behind me, it’s going to be a good culture shock to do it in my own quiet room again with all my books on shelves around me instead of boxed up in the attic.

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