This clock is part of the fabric of the farmhouse. It has been on the wall where it is now for as long as the farmer can remember and certainly for twenty years before that. In order to keep good time it has to sit at a slightly 'off' angle. In fact in many ways it is almost in charge of the house. You can hear the chimes on the hour and on the half hour from anywhere in the house, I would not like to take it down from its place.
But isn't the brain a strange thing? At this time of the year, when the weather is cold and frosty, the whole chime of the clock alters.
If there are any clock enthusiasts reading this then maybe you can tell me why this should be so. However warm it is in the room (and this is the room with the wood-burning stove) the clock still has the most unmelodious chime. As the farmer says - it suddenly sounds as though somebody is banging an old biscuit tin with a wooden spoon. Gone is the pleasant, musical sound it usually makes.
When the farmer said this I was immediately transported back to my childhood and a day when we went to visit some people called Mr and Mrs Mettam. I can't remember who they were, where they lived, or how old I was. But what I do remember about that visit is that it was a bitterly cold, frosty day and that the Mettam's had a wall clock rather like ours. And it struck rather like ours does in this weather. We didn't have a car and had to come home by bus and I vividly remember standing with my parents at the bus stop and them in fits of laughter at the sound this clock made. And ever after that any such sound got the response from my mother of 'Mettam's clock'. The memory gave me such a warm feeling.
And speaking of such feelings, I have just made a bowl-full of Christmas mincemeat - suet, dried fruit, chopped apple, oranges and lemons, soft brown sugar, cinnamon and mixed spice - all stirred together with a generous helping of rum. Now it must sit in the bowl until tomorrow afternoon when I can pot it up and store it ready to make the mince pies. In the meantime the whole house smells of Christmas and it sort of gets the season started.
Last night I wrapped the presents. The wrapping paper was covered in gold glittering snowflakes. Remind me next Christmas not to by glittering paper. The whole house, the carpets, the table, my hair, my clothes, everywhere is covered in tiny fragments of glitter. I love glitter at Christmas, but you can have too much of a good thing.