For some while I acted as "Deputy Tower Captain" in my local Church in Essex. For a period of eight weeks or so, I had the mantle of "Tower Captain" however, as the regular Tower Captain was taken ill.
My duties during this period were to make sure the Church clock was wound up (using a big crank system,) also to make sure that the clock was keeping good time. Also to turn up on the "ringing practise nights", and direct the practise sessions so we were all in good shape to ring the following Sunday (also to turn up to ring the bells then!) This I did well for the main part, but one day the clock failed to chime.
When this was pointed out to me, I must have gone pretty red-faced! I realised that I had not wound the clock for nine days (it was an eight day movement!)
At the earliest opportunity (during a lunch-break,) I rushed up to the tower, dashed up sixty or so stairs to the "clock-room", and wound up two really big weights as quickly as I could. One for the clock movement itself, the other for the chimes.
Whilst I was still badly out of breath, the next thing was to make the clock start, and show the correct time. This was the most awkward part of the whole procedure. There was quite a mass of hands to turn round (three clock faces) to the right time here! There is a small representation of the current time (as I'm sure all "clock winders" know) They normally have to change the time by a minute or two, but I was some six hours out of kilter!
I remember grabbing the time key with both hands and twisting it around as fast as I dared (without breaking the whole mechanism!) The reflections of the clock hands running forward in time must have been very amusing to all that passed the church at the time, but I was making up for lost ground here! A few hours can be made up in a few seconds of frantic activity, but to be accurate, you must spend a while messing about to get the time exact.
This is one time in my life I felt I had let a whole community down! As it was pointed out later though, I was just a teenager then, and that wouldn't be the most "seriously bad" thing I'd do in my life!! I still felt bad about it though just afterwards. Click here to view this marvellous tower.