With apologies for a somewhat late July blog.

This month left me faced with a double-dilemma.

A chap sent me a brass carriage clock with a common enough French movement fitted. The case top was dented, the front and side glasses chipped and a screw had been fitted to the back door to replace the usual turned brass knob that had long since disappeared.

If that wasn’t enough, there was the usual problem – it didn’t work either. Only this time the clock was accompanied by a request is to fit a new quartz movement.

Well, I took a look at the existing movement and the all-important lever escapement looked like it could be persuaded to run so here’s my first dilemma; do I offer to dismantle, service and clean the antique inheritance, or do I simply remove a perfectly restorable antique movement and fit a new battery quartz movement instead?

I trembled at the thought of chucking in a nice plastic box and battery so I asked the owner if he would consider a repair instead. His wife, who inherited the clock from her father apparently liked the sound of getting the original one ticking again, he replied. So that was me out of an horological hole – I am now to restore it and my horological soul remains intact.

But it doesn’t. Soon afterwards the client emailed again to say that he didn’t really want it restored so could I just say it can’t be done and fit the quartz movement anyway. Dilemma number two. Can I come between a man and his wife and join in a conspiracy with one to help deceive the other?

I’d managed to sidestep the risk of selling my soul only to find myself in the worse position of selling my concience instead.

Faust had it easy.