Followers of this blog will have noticed the long absence of any material in recent months. Well, life’s dealt a few bitter blows this year in what has become my annus horribilus, taking my mind off the blogging and indeed clocks generally.

My father’s pendulum stopped swinging in February. He’d been taken ill in early January and was rushed to A&E with stomach pains. As it turned out, it wasn’t that serious an ailment but as a centenerian, he had become a little frail and the upheaval was distressing for him. It was completely alien to him as he was fit enough to mow the lawn every week, paint a neighbour’s fence and even climb over the side wall (which is taller than him) when he locked himself out. He had looked after the house unaided for seven years but after about ten days in Colchester hospital, he was discharged because they needed the bed. He was too unwell to return home to fend for himself so I found him a care home for two weeks expecting him to recover his strength. Sadly, he never improved much at all, refusing food almost every day. Five weeks after his arrival there, he suffered a heart attack and died two days later in hospital so this blog is dedicated to him.

The usual matters of the funeral, execution of the Will, and Probate followed and during this time my own health came under closer scrutiny. I had not been right for months but it was now much worse and despites all manner of scans and blood tests, the different consultants could not reach a diagnosis. It eventually turned out to be an autoimmune disease, and has been brought under control with a cocktail of medication.

Then in May my cousin died unexpectedly, alone at home in his bed. He was just 58, though he had already retired. We had drifted apart since childhood as we made our different ways in life and often joked in recent years that we saw more of each other at funerals these days. But it still came as a shock at what was already a difficult time for me.

Hence, I have spent very little time repairing clocks these past few months and apologise to those whom I have kept waiting as a consequence and to those whom I have refused altogether or put in what must seem like a never-ending queue. I’ve just taken some time off in the sun to recuperate and am now back to deal with the next problem, whatever it might be.

So life’s been like that assorted boxed selection of chocolates just lately; I just don’t know what to expect next*

By the way, has anyone noticed that these blog titles are in alphabetical order?

Monthly blogs will resume next month.

* EDIT – And so it goes on – a lovely local friend lost her short battle with cancer in the early hours of this morning. Julie was just 50 years old. RIP 18/07/2012