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Thursday, 25 December 2014

Wind Up

Another year, another winding.
A tweet to @clockkeeper on Christmas Eve brought us the offer of winding up the Trinity College clock on Christmas Day.
We met in the usual place - under the clock itself - at a few minutes to midday and made our now familiar way up several floors to the little room at the back of the timepiece for more information on the clock mechanism whilst we wound the various weights, of which there are four in all.
This task completed, we were invited up some wobbly ladder-style stairs and out onto the roof for a view over Cambridge and more history - why the tiles at the top of the roof are smaller than those at the bottom; the age and history of the bells which were first cast over 400 years ago, but have broken, been melted down and recast since.
Back on the ground floor, we learnt that the clock keeper has added a Guinness World Record to his already impressive list of achievements, not least of which is imbuing small children with an infectious fascination about the physics of natural forces using bouncy balls, slinkies and spinning tops.
There was also mulled wine - purely for seasonal purposes.
It is as if your best geeky childhood friend grew up to be a PhD in physics at one of the greatest universities in the world but still kept all his cool toys that you used to go round to play with: "And what does this one do?".
A very special way to celebrate Christmas Day.
As for the rest of the day, it was far more conventional; presents for the children at the start of the day and a roast dinner afterwards before settling in front of the various TV specials.
But for a couple of hours, we exercised our brains and our winding arms with the greatest of views in the best of company.
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