Clocks, Potatoes and Mint
My neighbour has a new Grandfather Clock. I haven’t seen it but I know what it looks like, shiny wood, tall and imposing with lots of brass. Yes, that describes most of these clocks, I know; but not the one in my mind. You see the one I’m referring to lived in the hall at my grandmother’s house. It had its own family of brothers and sisters, smaller, mantle clocks, each with their own room and their own distinct chimes.
As a small child I stayed with my grandmother from time to time. Her house in the East End of London was big and full of the most interesting things …. Zulu shields and spears, colorful vases, enormous plates, paintings on the walls, big heavy furniture … and these clocks.
No matter where you were in the house, day or night the clocks would call out to you four times every hour.
To this day I still remember the ritual we had for the winding of the clocks. Working our way around the house, room to room we would seek out the key behind each clock, Grandma would carefully open the glass front and together we would listen to the click, click, click as she turned the key. Sometimes I would get a go but more often than not this was Grandma’s job.
That’s the way it was with Grandma, her and I would share the work. My job was to help grandpa dig up the potatoes and pick the mint for the Sunday roast.
Thanks to my neighbour’s grandfather clock I find myself waking to the chimes and counting as it sounds the hour and living the memories of that big house, and the happy times I spent with Grandma so many years ago.