Grandmother's clock was 5 minutes fast  

My grandmother had been given a lovely clock as a wedding present in 1900. It sat on the mantelpiece, with a face resembling that of a grandfather clock. It had a marble finish, and sat on four gilded legs at the corners. On either side were gilded lions, each with a huge ring suspended from its mouth. It had to be wound with a key, and had a large lead pendulum inside which ticked loudly as it swung. It chimed the hours, with a single one for the half-hour, and the chimes had to be wound separately.

It sat on the mantelpiece throughout my childhood, present every day and at every meal. It was always 5 minutes fast because my grandmother kept it that way. Her reasoning was that if you needed to do something at a certain time, such as heading off to school, the clock would make you hurry because it looked later than it was. Of course it didn't work like that. My sister and I built that into our reckoning and mentally subtracted 5 minutes from what the clock said.

When my grandmother died, it went into storage for 25 years until I decided to locate it and retrieve it. It was full of dust, with the gilt tarnished, and it no longer worked. I located an elderly clock repairer in Cambridgeshire, who lovingly cleaned and repaired the works, and regilded the gold finish. When it came back, it looked and worked as it had once done, and took pride of place on my sideboard. Alas, a further 25 years took their toll, and the mechanism has deteriorated somewhat. It still works, but now I set it 5 minutes fast, as my grandmother did, not in my case to fool myself about the time, but because I know it will gradually lose 5 minutes over the course of the day.