Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Close Enough for Government Work.

I just love it. The iconic timepiece, known all over the world, does not keep the right time.

Big Ben has been 'out' by as much as six seconds. And I am chuffed.

And why should it? Why should we be ruled down to the last millisecond. Close enough is close enough for human beings surely. As they say, 'Close enough for Government work' is close enough for tourists.

The media has been all over it like a rash, but have missed the bus and the point. 

Big Ben - named after a bare-knuckle prize fighter - was the biggest bell ever cast in Britain - all 14 tons, close enough - and is a 'human' bell. It is the People's bell.
Big Ben's Iconic Clock Has Been Running Six Seconds Fast.
LONDON — It's part of the most recognizable landmark on the London skyline, and Brits have relied on its chime for more than 150 years — but Big Ben has recently been telling the wrong time.
The iconic tower's bell has been fast by as much as six seconds in recent weeks,the BBC Radio 4's "PM" radio show revealed Monday.
The Elizabeth Tower that houses the Great Bell — which is commonly known as Big Ben — is seen along with Britain's Houses of Parliament. 
"If you set your watch by Big Ben, the bad news is that the first 'bong' signifying the hour has been off by five or even six seconds sometimes," host Eddie Mair told listeners.
The Elizabeth Tower that houses the Great Bell — which is commonly known as Big Ben — was built 156 years ago.
"We do carry out regular checks, as you can imagine, because this is a mechanical clock. It's not digital, it's not electronic, it does take a lot of love and care," said Steven Jaggs, who as "Keeper of the Great Clock" helps to maintain it.
The problem happened, according to Jaggs' fellow clock mechanic Ian Westworth, after the clock started running slightly slow.
The team attempted to rectify this through a painstaking process of climbing the tower's 344 steps each day and removing or adding coins to change the weight of the clock's pendulum.
But "when we started correcting it, it corrected itself at the same time," Westworth told the BBC, describing the "fluke" that caused the slowdown.

"To tell you the truth, we don't actually know why it happened," he added. "You're talking about a 156-year-old clock, and…it's a little temperamental. Imagine running your car 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for the last 156 years."
Luckily — for a landmark that's as regular as English tea and bad weather — Big Ben has "settled down, telling you exactly the right time," Westworth said.
Shame. Shame, I say. 

I like the idea of it being just that little bit imperfect.

Ah well, we rarely call 'Time' in the Tavern anyway.



  1. I wonder if it the very unusual weather we are experiencing in the UK that has upset the clock's equilibrium.

    Thank goodness it was fast, rather than slow ;-)

    1. The Parliament's clock is fast. You know the political attitudes: vote early, say the conservatives: vote early and often say the socialists.

  2. Like the meaning of life: 42. Or was it 44?


Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..