Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Hands Off!

Look no hands! Peering out over the environs of Pontypridd is a rather naked town clock.

Following on from the Civic Service on Sunday, I had the pleasure of dining with Rob Smith, RCT's new mayor, for whom I am chaplain this year, and Russell Roberts, council leader. Russell was quite clear - the clock should be fully repaired. And so Barry & Roy, and today Barry & Dave came - first to make it work for Sunday (more of that in a moment) and then to make it work for good. This involves removing the hands - and gave me a chance to climb up inside the clock face and get some great photos out onto the town below.

Years ago, Owen & Liz showed me a photo taken (I think) in the sixties of the Grove & Graigwen from inside the clockface. Now I have my own versions of these pictures. Normally you couldn't take such pictures - the clockface is opaque perspex. But to remove the hands, Barry had to remove the top segment of each face. And that gave me chance to look out onto the vicarage below & Graigwen to one side, and also out onto the Market Squre and the town centre.

On Sunday, at the Civic Service, we started at exactly three, as the bell struck promptly. I was asked how long the service would last. "About an hour," I replied. "Depending on how long you go on for," the person answered back. I used that line in my sermon. Turns out my sermon was perfectly timed - for as we finished the national anthems at the end of the service, & I turned in the moment's silence to leave the church, the clock loudly struck four for all to hear.

You'd think I meant it to happen.

And soon it will do more than strike...for the first time in fifty years it will chime every quarter of the hour. I can only hope it stops from eleven at night till seven in the morning; or the natives may get restless... Here's Barry at work. Up a stairwell, then a long iron ladder, a short rickety wooden one, a bit of a leap (over a trap door) up to a climbing frame up a wall, then two or three more wooden ladders - and we are into the chamber behind the clock faces. No wonder Quasimodo had a hunched back.

3 comments:

theMuddledMarketPlace said...

stunning photos.....( still don't like heights tho!)

Anonymous said...

The views from the clockface must have made the effort getting there worthwhile...
Surely not 50 years though, since the chimes were heard every qtr hr ? I can remember disabling the chimes before bellringing in the late 80's...
Ian

Marcus G said...

The only scary bit was the part where the ladder goes up a wall & doesn't quite reach the floor...

As for "50 years" - Ian, I am going off other people's recollection. I bow to your superior memory - let's call it 20. At least it's more than 10! And either way, we are praying it stops through the night...