Daily Archives: February 18, 2013

Long silent cuckoo frees itself from its trap door and sings again

We’re having a Miss Clavel moment in our house. Or actually, it’s a Miss Clavel day. The Madeline ditty keeps playing over and over in my mind…”Something is not right. Something is quite wrong. Something is not right, and so… I sing this song.”

Here’s the thing. In 1990, my parents returned from Switzerland with five cuckoo clocks — one for each of their children. These are the typical carved clocks that are pendulum-regulated and (supposedly) strike the hours with a sound like a cuckoo’s call and has a miniature cuckoo that pops out from his little door with each note.

“Supposedly” is the key word here. Ours hasn’t worked for years and I’m pretty sure that’s true of my brothers’ clocks. In fact, one of them put it back  in the box when it stopped working. We’ve taken ours to two competent clock repair shops. The word is that cuckoo clocks are very difficult (read: expensive) to repair.

So for years, our has just hung in the living room for decorative purposes. A few years ago..one day…out of nowhere…the little bird popped out and said “cuckoo.”  I was so stunned I just stared at it for a long time before calling my husband. It did the same thing months later but until today has been silent.

Today, my husband and I were telling a friend the saga of the cuckoo clock. At the same time, I’d been dusting the clock when suddenly the little bird popped out and chirped his little tune. In stunned silence, we watched it pop right back inside its little hole, pulling the door shut.

Suddenly, we realized it was also ticking — a first in a long time despite the fact that we pull the chains regularly. But today it wasn’t finished.

Fifteen minutes later, at the top of the hour, the little guy popped out again and chirped four times to indicate the hour. Of course, it was really only 1:30 p.m., but the clock was off and how would the cuckoo know that? Later in the day, we reset it and hours later, it is still chirping away every 15 minutes.

To prove to our daughters and my brothers that the clock is working again, we videotaped it. Shortest video on record, but you get the idea. The question is…what happened? Did I actually remove a piece of dust that was in the way of the clock mechanism?

I do know this much. Miss Clavel was right.