"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

The Timepiece

Amongst the many gifts I was kindly given this Christmas, one is particularly cherished:

An old pendulum wall clock.

It puts me in mind of the clocks I saw as a boy, in the offices of railway ticket clerks and bank tellers.

A good friend remembered my commenting on such a clock in an old-fashioned Fort Cochin restaurant, as we sat eating Sunday breakfast. He secretly searched Cochin for something similar – but none were to be found. Months later, he came across one for sale in Palakkad and quietly bought it as a surprise for me on Christmas Day .

The clock-face reveals it to be an old “Seth Thomas” timepiece, made in the USA.

Quite how this clock, manufactured in America during the 1930’s or 1940’s, arrived in rural Kerala will probably always be a mystery.

The Seth Thomas company was a well-known clock maker. Their most famous clock is probably this one:

In Grand Central Terminus, New York.

The dimensions of my newly acquired Seth Thomas are more modest.

I realise it is not a priceless antique. But it has simple elegance and character, plus an intriguing provenance.

Serendipitously, Seth and Thomas are names that span four generations in my family. One was my father’s name and is held by my house today.

Add the fact that a dear friend spent so much time and effort to find this clock for me, and it gains value beyond rupees.


Now, when I sit reading and musing, my treasured clock will gently chime the hours past.


“..I may look back on every sorrow past,

And meet life’s peaceful evening with a smile:

As some lone bird, at day’s departing hour,

Sings in the sun beam, of the transient shower..”

William Leslie Bowles






One response

  1. “The heart of the giver makes the gift dear and precious.” Luther

    December 27, 2010 at 9:22 pm

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