News has just reached us that, according to official timekeepers at the office of the Department of Time, in Greenwich, London, the Speaking Clock will make its much-awaited return to service in January.
And the time is just gone twenty to five.
Rita Brown, 42, is the officialest timekeeper in the office, and she confirmed that, without a shred of a doubt:
"At the third stroke, it will be 4:42 and 5 seconds."
There were then three pips.
The Speaking Clock was a service provided for those without the benefit of a clock or a wristwatch, and who were desirous of knowing whatever hour of day or night it was.
It was abandoned several years ago, and persistent calls for the service to be re-introduced had fallen on deaf ears until today's announcement.
Rita said it would be:
"a joy to get back to old ways."
She was also able to confirm that she was going home in just over another 17 minutes when her shift knocked off at 5 pm, and that, tonight, she was going round to her friend's house to return a knitting pattern she'd borrowed.
"At the third stroke, it will be 4:42 and 20 seconds."
Pip. Pip. Pip.