A timely tale thatís not a wind-up

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A new fund-raising campaign will start shortly in Audlem. The Audlem St James' Church Clock Automatic Winding Mechanism Fund Raising Appeal aims to raise the money to pay for a new mechanism to replace the clock's 97-year old manual winding gear. This requires, we are told, 275 windings a week, carried out on a Thursday evening, to keep the clock going.

A quick calculation reveals that the clock has had 1,387,925 windings — and that includes the extra 825 winds to allow for the 24 leap days since 1911. And that's more than enough to strain anybody's back.

Hearing how much work was involved, your correspondent asked with some trepidation why the clock seemed to chime a little early. The answer was surprising: "It depends on what day of the week it is." Apparently, as the clockwork mechanism slowly winds down as the week progresses, the chimes are more ahead of the real time immediately after the Thursday wind-up. But they are pretty well accurate by the following Wednesday!

Always the investigative journalist, your correspondent has been checking this out, armed with a highly accurate radio-controlled clock. On Thursday night, just after the winding, the clock chimed 2 minutes 20 seconds early. By this morning, the inaccuracy had indeed narrowed — to 1 minute 15 seconds. A further time-check just before the weekly winding will also be carried out to complete this complex research. We have, by the way, reduced the complexity by excluding complications, such as the speed of sound and wind direction, from our calculations!

There does remain the question of the name of the campaign. The Audlem St James' Church Clock Automatic Winding Mechanism Fund Raising Appeal, or even the acronym ASJCCAWMFRA, is a little, ahum, long-winded. We suggest something pithy such as Wind-Up, although the vagaries of the English language mean that could sound like a new campaign against the planned wind farm, or worse, the brand name of a product to help babies burp.

So, get your thinking caps on and come up with a name, or acronym, we can pass on to the appeal's organizers. The winner will be able to enjoy a conducted tour of the church tower and, yes, the opportunity to help with the 275-weekly wind-ups.

 

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