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A ship's bell is used to indicate the time aboard a ship, regulating the sailors' duty watches. In our café, one bell signals the celebration of a birthday or more accurately the arrival of cake, with visitors to the studio often fascinated to watch the Pavlovian reaction of architects to the potential delights in store. Two bells signals the first 'dog watch' or 17:00 on a Friday night, a reminder that the hair of the dog is available, with the opening of our huge fridge brimming with suitable lubrication for a thirsty studio.
The bell itself is usually made of brass or bronze and often has the ship's name engraved or cast on it. Ours is cast from brass that has been chrome plated and carries an inscription which reads ‘Ulteriora mirari, praesentia sequi… Ad maiora!’ our personal wish, carried in the air ‘look at the future, live in the present’….. ‘to greater things!’.
The ship's cook (or his staff) traditionally has the job of shining the ship's bell, in our case this responsibility falls to Diego, our Studio Librista who runs the café.