Saturday, May 18, 2024

Jack The Clocky

April 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Bygones

At the end of the bridge, facing onto Severn Street, with a view right down Bridge Street, stood a galvanised building with a shop window in the front. This was the home of Old Jack the clock repairer. He could be seen sitting in the window, working away on his watches and clocks, almost every day except on a Sunday.

He ate and slept in the rear half of the shop, living the life of a lonely old bachelor, except for the occasional visit from a rather unusual lady who lived in another part of the village. He really was a nice old chap, and suffered a great deal of annoyance from the village lads who, it must be said, sometimes acted like young hooligans.

Heating was by means of a solid fire in a stove, the smoke pouring out from a metal pipe in the roof. This provided for one of the usual and rather cruel pranks and one which I am now rather ashamed of perpetrating.

When old Jack was expecting a visit from his girlfriend, he would always be seen popping out of his shop door, looking round to make sure there were no horrible young lads waiting to make themselves a nuisance. His lady would arrive to be escorted quickly inside and the shop blinds would be drawn. Another few minutes would pass, then out he would come, take another quick look round and then the door would be shut and bolted. This was the signal for the young horrors to leap into action. An old sack would be retrieved from the river where it had been left soaking, then a stealthy climb onto the bridge wall and the sack quickly installed over the old stove pipe chimney. Then a quick retreat to a hidden vantage point to see the door fly open and old Jack, swearing and shaking his fist before reaching up with a stick to remove the offending sack. For the next week or so we would give the old shop a very wide berth, always walking the long way round the village to school.

Yes, idle hands do get into mischief, even in quiet country villages.

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