Some years ago I inherited a handsome Charles Frodsham bracket clock. It has a superb movement and, as a clock expert explained to me, it goes back to the period in the Nineteenth Century before the English clock-making industry was undermined by less expensive and less efficient German movements with which it was difficult to compete. It keeps good time, but it is temperamental. It doesn't like being moved. I moved it once to a different room and it stopped for several weeks. It was only, when learning how expensive it would be to repair it, that I tentatively wound it again and set it going, and found that it was still working, that I realized its potential for unexpected recovery. Since then it behaved itself well for several years. Until, that is, I moved it again. Within a short while, it began, within a period of 24 hours, to go too fast or too slow without any indication as to why. Attempts to regulate it were unsuccessful. Then we went on holiday. When we returned, the clock had stopped - it requires a weekly wind. To my surprise I find that the day after winding and resetting it, it has kept perfect time, and at the end of the week has gained only half a minute. Now a week and a bit after coming home, it seems still to be behaving well. It is a mystery, because I cannot think of any factors, like a sudden change of temperature, the presence of someone with a hypnotic personality, a change of government or an earthquake, that can explain its recovery, though it is very welcome. Old clocks are in some ways like pets, which become friends and one is concerned for their well being..
Every morning, I prepare for breakfast, two plates of fruit, which I slice and arrange in elegant patterns. I am not sure why I started to do this. ( I think it was because Heidi did not very much care for fruit that you could not peel with a deft movement and scoff, so that I had to make it as interesting as possible). I look forward to this ritual - a daily exercise in creative presentation -and to varying it according to the season.
On top of the fruit, sometimes goes a blob of Greek yogurt. Today I am able to surmount each mound of yogurt with a single, wild strawberry, which I notice has ripened in the garden. The plant, or its ancestor, has been in the garden for more than 20 years since I moved into this house, and it is always a pleasure to harvest its beautiful but minute and meagre offerings.