Tim said, out of the blue and apropos to nothing, "They're having an auction today. Let's check it out."
And we went.
The last time that we went, Tim's hand went up a lot more than I thought it should, and I ended up with a tea service that I hide because it's easier than polishing it.
Auctioneers talk too quickly, and it makes me nervous, because by the time I figure out what is going on, somebody's pointing and yelling 'sold!'
Have I ever told you that I have a 'thing' for clocks? I do. I have one that hangs in the hall. It ticks authoritatively and counts out the hours in a somberly resonating way. I love it. Everyone else hated it until now that we have a foyer, and it belongs where it is. That's my nicest one, but I've got a small collection of clocks, an old alarm clock from the 30s, but most everything else is just interesting in an ordinary way.
At the auction, a clock came up. Nobody bid on it. The price went down to $10. TEN DOLLARS. I couldn't help it. My arm went up. The auctioneer asked several times who was going to give him $12.50, but nobody did, and just when I was sure I'd spent $10 on a clock, somebody gave him $12.50. And I gave up $15 as quick as a wink. I didn't dare look at Tim. Suddenly there was a flurry of bidding, but by that point, I'd already figured out where I was putting it, and I had a severe case of covetousness that I was fully prepared to march into church and repent on the morrow. I snuck in a bid a $22.50, and then $27.50. Just I was sure that I wasn't getting a clock, the auctioneer was saying, "I need to see your number," and I was saying, "Oh, sorry," and just like that, I had a clock.
It is a William Gilbert mantle clock and it is from the mid-1800s.
Know what else?
It works! It keeps time with a very satisfying tick.
Further inspection shows a wobbling gear which is probably why the chimes cannot be wound. It looks like it will be an easy fix, and once again my funny little clock will sound a gong to count out the hours and 'ting' a bell to mark the half hour.
And no. It's not going to remain on William's art table.