Captain's Table

Mark Austen

2020.06.04 - Birthday Gifts

My parents don't give me a physical gift for my birthday, instead they give me a sum of money with which to buy something I fancy. This is not a problem for me, they can't think of anything to buy for me which is fine. How can they be expected to when I don't know what I want to buy me for my birthday either?

I usually save a few of these gifts up and buy something really nice like the brass clock and barometer set for Naiad.

But this year I noticed that a chiming clock I had my eye on was being sold at a reduced price by a small shop. It had been used in the shop sitting on a shelf just keeping the time and chiming away on the house. I could afford it with my birthday money so I bought it.

It is a radio-controlled clock meaning that it can receive the time transmissions from the National Physics Laboratory in Cumbria and every two hours it checks the time from the NPL against the time it is showing and makes any adjustment necessary.

It's a really nice clock.


Here it is sitting on an shelf in my office just above the position I normally sit when at the computer.

However, a few weeks ago I realised that it was bothering me and couldn't figure out why until late one evening when all the electronics had been switched off for the night, the skylight was closed so I couldn't hear any noise from outside and in the near silence of the room it struck me. The clock didn't tick. It was totally silent. I expected it to tick and the absence of the tick was what was bothering me.

So I bought the mechanism for another clock that specifically ticked.


And I epoxied that to the inside f the case. You can see it here with the whitish epoxy holding it in. Now my clock ticks. Not loud, but enough that I can just about hear it and the clock no longer bothers me.

I'm a very strange person!

Time for a fresh cup of tea.