Radio review: Enchanting tale of a lifelong passion for clocks

Nuala McCann

Seriously … Time Flies

The world is divided into those who adore the tick tick ticking of a clock and those who would smother such a clock under a pillow.

When we have visitors overnight, it's not unusual to find a clock sitting in the hall, exiled from the room by someone driven insane by the tick.

Brothers Roman and Max Piekarski have about 700 clocks on the walls of their Cheshire home in an old school house.

Their story is warm and enchanting - told to the gentle tick of the clocks and the regular bongs - that are central to their lives.

Neither of the brothers married or had children, but their clocks are like children… they know them as individuals – this one has a particular tick, that one a peculiar bong.

Their passion is for antique cuckoo clocks… they have the world's largest collection.

The clocks are hand wound - that is a hard task.

It has been “a life time's work”.

But they're slowing down … time is flying past and what will happen to their little museum?

It was closed down by the pandemic – known as Cuckooland, it had been a tourist attraction but, they said, the last few years had been “nasty”.

Yes, they've had their success and so many coachloads of visitors that they needed time to recover.

The older people love the sound of the school bell the brothers ring to welcome them in.. . it summons them back to carefree days.

The clocks are all distinctive … it's not just one cuckoo.

There's even the quail bird song, it sings: “Wet me lips” or they joke, if you're from Blackpool: “Kiss me quick”.

The brothers muse about the history behind a clock – who wound it … a grandfather, then a father… it's a thread through time.

At the end of their tour, they wheel out an old fairground organ and people in their eighties dance.

But time doesn't stand still, it flies past and now the brothers are in their sixties and have got to wondering what will happen to their unique collection. Who will look after them?

This is a beautiful philosophical listen … told to the tick tick of time passing…

“Always at my back I hear, time's winged chariot hurrying near.”

Seize the moment, live life and enjoy… that's the message.

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