Wednesday, 19 March 2014
Not so much Wordless (Wednesday)
This is a picture of the clock tower in the little Welsh market town of Knighton, just over the border from Valley’s End.
Speechless might not be a suitable word either, for the good burghers of Knighton have had plenty to say since it’s become known that a new inhabitant of the peaceful town has made an official complaint about the clock, under noise nuisance regulations. Every fifteen minutes, day and night, there’s a ding, and a dong, and a ding dong, just like it’s been for 142 years. “It may be an irritating clock”, the townsfolk say, “but it’s our irritating clock. Besides, you soon stop hearing it going on about its lawful business; and we’d all miss it if it weren’t there any more. It’s part of our heritage.”
God help those who interfere with tradition in a sleepy, openly old-fashioned, slightly batty Welsh market town, which has a fair sprinkling of ex hippies, poetry and violin and book group lovers and a flourishing young farmer’s drama society.
The new inhabitant is a writer from Ireland. She has bought a large house in the square and opened a B&B for nervous writers who need a retreat to concentrate on their muse and whose delicate sensibilities suffer from the noise a clock makes. Did it seriously not occur to her, that the chiming clock tower, that is barely 20 yards from her window, might be a slight drawback? It’s not as though she can’t have noticed it, what with the thing going off every 15 minutes, night and day. And walking up and down the high street to the ‘narrows’ , that warren of small streets and higgledy-piggledy houses on the border of which the writer’s house stands, you have to step sideways not to hit the tower. It’s large, it’s ugly, it’s unmissable, a typical Victorian monstrosity.
I went to see Helen in Knighton for a facial treatment this morning and this story was the first she told me. “It’s gone viral,” she said. It’s true, I’ve since googled ‘Knighton Clocktower’ and it’s all over the media. One thing’s for sure, whether the lady silences the clock or not, and I don’t believe she will, the Welsh are nothing if not bloody-minded, she’ll have had some very good publicity.