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wd-40, grimsby minster, clock towers

A can of WD-40 and historic Grimsby Minster in eastern England.

It’s hard to imagine an era when we couldn’t tell the time by checking our smartphone or wristwatch. But before a watch was even a thing, cities had bell towers that would bong every hour, on the hour, so the town’s folk knew the time.

During the Industrial Revolution, things became more technologically advanced, and clock towers popped up in public places so nobody was late to work.

Twelve years ago, at 12:02, the clock in the central tower at Grimsby Minster in eastern England stopped working. The church dates back to the 12th century and the central tower was added in 1365.

A group of experts that worked on the restoration of London's Big Ben came out to the church and said that it would require scaffolding to get the old clock back in order and the cost would be somewhere between £40,000 ($53,250) and £50,000 ($66,600).


Grimsby Minster.

via Wikimedia Commons

The church feared it would have to throw a massive fundraiser to get enough money to fix its historic clock. However, two guys that work on the church’s bells had a different idea. Rick Haywood, 47, and Jay Foley, 15, were performing routine maintenance on the bells when they decided to give the clock a look.

“We did not think we could do any more damage,” Haywood told The Sun. “We found various dead pigeons gumming up the bearings. Some of the bearings were very dry.”

Foley believes that the clock stopped running because of its age and the fact that its gears were “very dry” and “were not in the right alignment.”

“The minutes, hours, and seconds all have separate sections, which were out of order,” Foley added. “We got the dead pigeons out and it slowly ticked along after we greased it and cleaned it out.”

“We gave it grease and WD-40 and managed to get it running,” Haywood said.

The difference in cost to the church was miraculous. It could have spent tens of thousands of pounds to get the clock running, but all it cost was £6 for two cans of WD-40, and the labor charges for Haywood and Foley.

The workers say the clock runs about two minutes slow because it took a little time to get everything aligned after they looked at their smartphones. The pair are proud of their work and glad they could save the minster a few quid.

“The church had one or two engineers from big clock companies and they were starting at £40-50,000 to get it running again. We saved them at least £40,000 so I am hoping for a meal invite,” Haywood said.

The church’s warden couldn't be more pleased with the duo’s fine work. “It’s amazing because you would not believe how much hassle you get when a church clock is not working,” he said.

I don’t think there’s anything in the Bible about always asking for a second opinion after getting a quote. But it’s sure to be a lesson taught at Grimsby Minster for the foreseeable future.

10/10. The Mayyas dance.

We can almost always expect to see amazing acts and rare skills on “America’s Got Talent.” But sometimes, we get even more than that.

The Mayyas, a Lebanese women’s dance troupe whose name means “proud walk of a lioness,” delivered a performance so mesmerizing that judge Simon Cowell called it the “best dance act” the show has ever seen, winning them an almost instant golden buzzer.

Perhaps this victory comes as no surprise, considering that the Mayyas had previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” in 2019 and competed on “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.” But truly, it’s what motivates them to take to the stage that’s remarkable.

“Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle," one of the dancers said to the judges just moments before their audition. Another explained, “being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”

Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, added that “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

Still, Cherfan shared that it was a previous “AGT” star who inspired the Mayyas to defy the odds and audition anyway. Nightbirde, a breakout singer who also earned a golden buzzer before tragically passing away in February 2021 due to cancer, had told the audience, “You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” The dance team took the advice to heart.

For the Mayyas, coming onto the “AGT” stage became more than an audition opportunity. Getting emotional, one of the dancers declared that it was “our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

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Of all these people, the co-worker who can’t stop talking may be the most challenging because you see them every day in a professional setting that requires politeness.

There are many reasons that some people talk excessively. Therapist F. Diane Barth writes in Psychology Today that some people talk excessively because they don’t have the ability to process complex auditory signals, so they ramble on without recognizing the subtle cues others are sending.

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