It has turned out to be extremely unsafe to predict when our 150-year-old church clock will once again return to its duty.
Nevertheless, by the time you read this we will know whether efforts by our clock restorer, M. Jean-Pierre Curchod, to bring the clock back to life by November have been successful.
Restarting and adjusting a restored clock to optimum efficiency is a delicate process, fraught with pitfalls.
While reassembling the clock, M. Curchod has also been programming the electronic controls for the automatic winding and setting system, which he plans to install this month.
So, if all goes well, our restored clock should be fully functional by Advent.
Time-consuming compliance with the requirements of the Canton’s Sites et Monuments department has so far dragged out the project for three years.
One of the requirements is that we retain the wooden cabin that used to enclose the clock. However, the clock in its new glass case leaves no room in the loft for the cabin, so it has been dismantled and stacked against the wall.
Fashioning the wood into wainscoting or into a smaller storage cupboard might be feasible… with the permission of the Sites et Monuments.
Much to the disappointment of M. Curchod, the walls of the clock loft have been replastered with the original type of crumbly rough plaster that generates the deadliest enemies of all clocks — grit and dust.
Mr Curchod does offer some consolation, pointing out that although our clock has taken three years to restore, the Big Ben clock will be out of action for four years.