Sam came running through Pat's house yesterday. "You HAVE to come and listen to this!!" So I did. He took me into the centre of the living room and said "Shhhhh. Be absolutely quiet."
As the silence wrapped itself around us, I heard it: the ticking of dozens of clocks, the swinging of pendulums, the tiny noises of gears changing minutes. Sweeeeet. And only Sam would ever have been quiet long enough to hear this strangely comforting sound.
Pat and my aunty Ina, who died earlier this year, have collected clocks for ever. Today is clock-winding day, so I picked up the "key-ring", a bunch of clock keys in different sizes, some with fancy olde handles, one with a sort of crank turner, and I went around the clocks winding them up. Chas watched in fascination as weights went up and he stopped a pendulum with the gentlest touch. We started it going again, tick, tick, tick. I love these old clocks. Every hour a whole bunch of them start to ding and dong, or chime, or even cuckoo! The cuckoo clock is in for repairs this week, and I can't say I miss it dreadfully... I prefer chimes to CUCKOO! CUCKOO! But the cuckoo was Ina's favorite I think, and that makes it special.
The house is so strange without Ina here. I have spent plenty of time here over the years, but seldom without the Ina prescence, cooking mountains of food for hordes of hungry people and giving good advice. The house is quiet these days.
Except for the clocks.