This is my watch:

My watch

I bought it just after I moved away from York most recently. Its 1970s styling attracted me – every time I looked at it, I felt like Robert Culp in an episode of Columbo, artfully timing things with millisecond precision on one half of a split screen while a jazz soundtrack played in the background. But I digress. It wasn’t an expensive watch, by any stretch of the imagination, but it was something I enjoyed having and wearing. Even when people questioned why I was wearing a watch – my standard answer being that it provides some protection from the random crims who ask the time to see what phone you’ve got in case they want to steal it – it never bothered me. It was always something I did because I liked it. No other reason.

I thought the battery had run out, so took it to a shop to replace it. Alas, it turned out there was nothing wrong with the battery – the mechanism itself had gone. I can replace it – but the price is nearly twice what I paid for the watch in the first place.

Then at work, my iPod random played this song:

I first heard this on the record “A Place In My Heart”. Never having heard any Nana Mouskouri, I saw this in a charity shop and seemed to remember she had been immensely popular and bought it for 50p. Of the songs, none of them were particularly interesting, except this one: “Attic Toys”.

My understanding of the song (and I can’t really make out the words that well – there’s a limit to what a 40 year old vinyl bought from a charity shop can reproduce when digitised and shoved into iTunes) is that it’s a moment in time when a woman goes into her attic, and finds the boxes of toys from her childhood.

All those smiling dolls, they had names once. Personalities. She invited them for tea parties, dressed them, cared for them. Nowadays they sit in rotting cardboard boxes, kept company only by the bugs and the spiders up here in the dust. Do they still have names? Who can remember?

Vanished hopes and disillusions
Peel away the memories like a knife

Like “Whiskey On A Sunday“, this song’s almost unbearable to me. It’ll make me cry nearly every time (I’m crying now and I’m only thinking about it).

I have a “watches graveyard”. Timepieces once worn and loved, batteries ran out, replaced by something “nicer” or “funkier” or “more up to date”.

No.

Not this time.

No more Attic Toys.

Tomorrow, I get it repaired.