River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Runnin On

September 2005

Janet extols the virtue of reliable products - particularly here grandfather clock

This month's tale is about durability. Does anything bought today last as long as the thing it's replaced. The recent hot weather put paid to our upright freezer, mind we'd had it for fifteen years so we are not complaining, but will the new one last as long? I think not.

But on the subject of durability here is a story I think will take some beating. In 1970 we lived near Beverley in East Yorkshire (now North Humberside) and in the town was a quaint little shop that sold clocks, and we bought a genuine Swiss cuckoo clock. Wherever we have lived since then it has been hung in the hall, it needs a good height because it is wound by pulling on two six foot weighted chains every twenty-four hours, so the only time it stops is when we are away for more than a day.

It cuckoos on the hour and once ever half hour and a wooden bird pops out of a door at the same time, which is a bit frustrating at times if you are on the phone and something important is being said at around 11 or 12 o-clock. It keeps good time and it has never stopped or been serviced in its life which brings me back to durability.

The cuckoo part of the clock works on a brown paper bellows, so allowing roughly a year off for the time when we were away the clock has been running for Thirty-Four years.

This calculates at one hundred and eighty times a day, or in a normal year sixty five thousand seven hundred. Going on further, in the thirty- four years it has "cooked" two million two hundred and thirty four thousand times to say nothing of the same number of "oo's".

Now that's what I call a durable bit of paper! I wonder if it can be beaten?

A lot of fun and in a way a comfort too, if I have a bad night and sleep evades me, I count the cuckoos, eventually I fall asleep while the little bird carries on with his time telling.

Any youngsters who are visiting us for the first time are fascinated with the cheerful clock. We had some friends call one day, they had brought their dog Rags with them, well, he was fascinated with the cuckoo and each cuckoo call was answered with a loud bark from Rags. I never have found out what the cuckoo thought of the dog but I'm sure in his little paper mind he'd worked something out.

Janet Tilburn Sept 05

P.S. In last month's recipe for Date Fingers I omitted the time and temperature. I'm sorry about this and have been inundated with requests for the information, which at least this means somebody reads my nonsense. The cooking time is 25- 30minutes and the temperature 180oC

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