Sunday, 11 May 2014

Evidence - more evidence than you ever thought possible - that opposites attract

Okay, so now a man who is a woman but who has a beard and who has a high voice has won the Eurovision Song Contest, we need another way to define identity, sort out who's who, and know where the boundaries are drawn.  

I have the answer.  We can divide the human race into two neat categories by answering this question. Delete as appropriate.

Are you the type who is driven mad by a loudly ticking clock?  Yes/No.



We could also, I suppose, divide ourselves by answering this question:

Are you the type who is driven mad by a sudden and unnecessary increase in font size?

But we won't, because I want to discuss clocks.


I am a woman, and my husband is a man, and although this helped us with procreation, none of those old distinctions matter any more.  They might, I suppose, if poverty strikes us, we only have one piece of clothing between us and it happens to be a pair of Y-fronts, which is a very good reason for us to continue in employment as long as possible.

My husband is to ticking clocks what a carnivore is to a nice rocket and asparagus salad with a herb dressing.  I, on the other hand, abhor silence and have to have something on in the background.  If the only something available is a ticking clock, I'm cool with that (as my grown-up kids tell me not to say).


When we go to stay at my mother-in-law's house in Greater London, my husband unhooks her arrogantly-clicky clock from the wall in the living room and puts it in a cupboard.  His mother tolerates this, as long as he promises to replace it when we leave.  Often he forgets, and we get a plaintive phone call that evening, on our return to Leamington Spa, from a 90 year old who is less than five feet tall and who can't reach to put the clock back up.  She is most forgiving of him, but I suspect he might get a shock in her Will; either he will get less of the inheritance, or, worse, she will just leave him the clock and serve him right.

We had a foreign student to stay once: a teenager from Spain.  I did a pile of ironing for her which I put on a chair in her room.  Later that day, my husband needed a nap while she was still at English Language college, and as I was working in our bedroom, he lay on her bed to sleep.  Before he did, he took the ticky clock off the wall and slid it between some of her ironed clothing to silence it.

When she got home that evening, she went upstairs, and then came down again with the clock and a very puzzled expression.








It took a loooooooooooong time with a Spanish-English dictionary to explain, and even then, I think she went back to Valencia with stories about her British host family which I suspect meant she hasn't been back to England since.

We bought a digital timer for the kitchen some time ago, but it hasn't been working properly, so my husband went to the shops yesterday and bought a manual one, which looks like this.



He hadn't thought this through at all.  When we gave it a test run in the kitchen, we realised that it has a tick which sounds like a woodpecker with a megaphone and an aspiration to be a town crier.  'You're going to be a dribbling wreck if we use this,' I said.  My husband went into the lounge to see if he could still hear it.  Yes.  Into the front room of the house. Yes. Upstairs.  Yes.  When he could still hear it in the bathroom with the door shut and the taps running, we knew that £4.99 or no £4.99, this had not been a bargain purchase.

Bizarrely, too, the timer comes with a string, so that you can hang it round your neck.  'Why would you need to?' I said to my husband.  'You could be on holiday in the Maldives and you'd still hear it ring from Leamington when your egg has boiled.'

I've suggested we take it to his mother-in-law's next time we stay, so that at least if he forgets to put the clock back up, she can set the woodpecker going and let it click away until someone tall can come round.

So, I'll ask again, only more quietly, just in case you're like my husband and find noise an intrusion. (Who said, 'And he married you?'  Just answer the damn question, cynic.)

Are you the type who is driven mad by a loudly ticking clock?  Yes/No.


27 comments:

  1. I tried to read this post to Willy Dunne Wooters. He said, Is this supposed to be interesting to me? I said, I think Fran is very funny, but if you don't want to hear anymore, then I won't read it. Eff him. I love your posts.

    Love,
    Janie

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    Replies
    1. Ha ha. There you go - opposites attract, just like I said! Thank you for trying on my behalf, Janie. You're a very loyal follower. x

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  2. P.S. I can't put a clock on the wall in the TV room because Willy Dunne Wooters says it's distracting. It's not because it ticks because it doesn't. He claims a small clock on the wall is distracting. I told him that when he want to know what time it is to stop asking me because I will no longer check my phone or laptop. I showed him.

    Love again,
    Janie

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    Replies
    1. That made me lol a lot. Even my husband isn't that sensitive. How does WDW feel about pictures on the walls, or perhaps even wallpaper?

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    2. He hasn't complained about pictures--yet, but I suspect we'll have trouble after the TV room is painted and I put up artwork. I don't have any wallpaper, but if it would annoy Willy Dunne Wooters I would get some.

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    3. Maybe you could find one with a clock design.

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  3. A loudly ticking clock would drive me insane. But I go insane quite easily I'm told.

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    Replies
    1. I wonder what people did before digital clocks, then. Surely there were some like you. How did people cope?

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  4. I have student neighbours whose sole joy in life is to treat me to Eurocrap drum & bass via their industrial subwoofer. Bring your husband round here for the weekend. When he returns he will barely be able to hear your voice let alone the ticking of a clock several rooms away. And if he does he will consider it peace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha. I daren't offer him a weekend away. Noise-sensitive as he is, he still might take a few days listening to an industrial subwoofer over listening to my jokes.

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  5. I love the sound of a ticking clock....but it has to be a particular beat and quite soft...then it is oh so soothing.....but my sister, my husband, and my friend all move clocks out of rooms, just as your chap does..............people eh? weird or what....

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  6. We've got a battered clock I inherited from my grandparents. Worth nothing to most, but everything to me. And it chimes...LOUDLY. We love the tick-tock it makes with each swing of the pendulum. However, it has to fall silent when Things 1 or 2 stop over. SW is a little more tolerant.

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    1. I love the chimes those old clocks make. And the tick-tocks. You must feel quite sad silencing it. Can't Things 1 and 2 wear ear-muffs and leave the clock be?

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  7. No tick for me please. My mum had to stop her clock ticking for me when I stayed on my visits home while living abroad. It was on the hall wall but I could hear it ticking away from an upstairs bedroom.
    Funny thing is, I loved the Bong Bong from the lighthouse ( mum lived in an old coast guard house ) Not every visitor liked it & some found it a dooming Bong Bong but I loved it & noticed one night it had stopped Bong Bonging. A quick call to the coast guard put that right !
    methinks - did someone visiting mum get up in the night crazed from lack of sleep, scramble across the rocks, brave the freezing water, scale the lighthouse & shut the thing off ?

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    Replies
    1. I love the fact that you called the coastguard to tell him he was bongless.

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  8. A soft tick is ok, but weave to stop the grandfather clock when son comes to stay as it keeps him awake.

    What drives me mad are writers who use dashes instead of inverted commas for speech. Or worse, no indication of speech at all. Both are pointless and infuriating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, I bet you hate Roddy Doyle then, if you've read him.

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    2. Yep. I hate Roddy Doyle.

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    3. Just because of the dashes?....... I think his writing's SO good.

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  9. Depends on my mood. I have two clocks in a very small flat, neither ticks loudly and most of the time I don't notice them. But catch me on an extremely grumpy day and the batteries will be taken out of both of them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, so it's a mood thing with you. I must ask my husband if he's extra-sensitive on grumpy days. Mind you, he's a bit sensitive about me pointing out that he's sensitive, so this is dangerous ground. ...

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  10. Ticking clocks , trams trundling past , sirens and workmen's radios don't bother me at all .But if anyone starts tunelessly whistling between his teeth , I will chase him off with an axe .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So if it's tuneful, it's okay? The axe stays unused?

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  11. I like a ticking clock. It's soothing. Barking dogs, not so much.

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    Replies
    1. You're absolutely right, I realise. So I've taken down the Jack Russell I had hung on the living room wall.

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  12. there are days when the bedside clock gets buried deep in the drawer. But I grew up with a tick tock cuckoo clock. That was endearing, it's the digital
    clunk
    clunk
    clunk
    that drives me mad

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    Replies
    1. My husband put the kitchen timer in the drawer yesterday while we timed some bread in the oven, but it seemed to make the tick even more threatening!

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