Saturday, 19 May 2012

The Night Watchman


What were those things called? Red, blue or green tape fed through a gun that stamped silvery letters so that my Grandfather could write his name in block capitals and stick it on his torch and claim it for his own. It was a big torch. The round lens was the size of a saucer and the battery could have powered a car. Each night he took it down from the sideboard, once he’d got his uniform on, and took it to work, put it in his car where he also kept a shovel in case there was snow. His black cap with a crow-like beak. A silver whistle on a chain. A whistle that belonged on a steam train. Moon-sized buttons waxing and glowing on his black coat. The strange keys for setting the clocks. Security was a low-tech clockwork business back in 1974. 


4 comments:

  1. i like this vignette very much.
    my father had one of those machines. he labeled everything, no everything.

    ~robert

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Robert. Goodness knows why I thought about it now, but it all helps with putting together the puzzle of the past.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is beautiful. The memories of the implements of the professions of one's forbears, always a source of mystery, wonder.

    This made me think of my grandfather's gun, for heaven's sake -- and peace be with us all.

    ReplyDelete

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