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.

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11 Responses to On clocks and watches and the passing of time

  1. Ashe Elton Parker says:

    What a lovely clock that must be! Your story about it reminded me of a clock my family had for a few years when we lived with a fiancé Mom had when was a young child. It was a wind-up clock, and it had a lovely chime on the hour and a simple one-chime every half hour. I have no idea what happened to it, but I have fond memories of it keeping the time in our home during that era of my life.

  2. I love those old clocks and actually have one but there’s no place in my current house to put it. It kept time but hubby didn’t like the chiming.

    And I too, got rid of the watch, when I retired from private industry. I have my cell phone, of course, to let me know the time if I need it.

  3. Thank you for sharing. I have fond memories of my maternal grandparents’ home. Vowing to buy it if anything happened to them while just a child, I didn’t understand that the building wasn’t the thing of import. ~grin~ They owned what’s called a grandmother clock (smaller than the grandfather variety) but I don’t know what happened to it now. I suppose that lovely piece went into the estate sale, sad to say.

  4. After my father passed away, I had one of his grandfather clocks shipped to my home. It never kept time, so it never chimed. It wasn’t an expensive clock but it was the fact that it was his. I’ve tried to have it put in working order and no one seems to be able to do it…so, I’ll keep it as it is just like he did.

  5. Margaret says:

    Oh, that sounds like one of my parents’ clocks, though I’d never thought of it as a Napoleon hat before. I need to remember to tell them :). Ours is a deep reddish brown though, not light. They haven’t turned it on (wound it? I honestly don’t remember) for an age because when the boys came to visit, the chime every hour and half-hour would keep them up.

    Lovely memory. Thank you for sharing :).

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