Saturday, 9 November 2013

As Time Goes By

This  old silver pocket watch belonged to my maternal grandfather. It's one of just a few things belonging to him which have survived to this day. It doesn't work and I don't remember it ever telling the time, but that doesn't stop it from being a priceless family heirloom. 

My grandfather died long before I was born, having  married late in life. I don't know much about him other than that he was a carpenter who took pride in his work. Born in the latter half of the 19th century, he went to America  but, unlike most emigrants of the time, he returned home.

He also took pride in his appearances  as there's a photo of him, outside a carpenters' shop in New York, with a bushy beard, which was fashionable at the time.  He alone isn't wearing a leather carpenter's apron as he took it off before the photograph was taken as he deemed it improper for a man to be photographed wearing an apron! There are other photos of him, looking dapper in a shirt and waistcoat, which the chain of this watch clearly visible.

On his return to Ireland, he had the cottage where he was born remodeled into a two-storey farmhouse.
I live there now with my husband and son, and we are conscious of its heritage. When we had it renovated some years ago, we retained as many of the original features as we could, including some woodwork which I think my grandfather would have crafted himself.


  1. A lovely post - you are so lucky to live in the house that was once your grandfathers. I wish my family still had the homes my grandparents build and renovated in the Peak District.

  2. A lovely post indeed. The watch is beautiful and what a wonderful heirloom as is the home you now live in. I am very envious of that.......and the constant sea.

  3. I thought it was special enough to have the watch, but to live in a house with such a family history is even more so. It would be wonderful if it could stay in the family... loved your post, thank you.

  4. Love the continuity of you living in his house! Watches like that have so much character from the handling they were given by their owners. Am thrilled that you have it still, how precious your photos are:~)

  5. Wow, marvelous memories... wonderful that you could retain his memory in the home you love...

  6. How amazing that you live in the house he rebuilt Mairead - it must be wonderful to touch things and know how often they have been touched in the past by bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh. I love that. The watch is beautiful, even though it doesn't go, and I love the book it is sitting on. We have a watch that belonged to a grandfather too, and it is also very special.


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