By now you know that Big Ben, the bell that rings above Britain’s Parliament, tolled for the last time Monday. It’s temporarily silenced — with a few exceptions — until 2021, when workers finish a $37-million refurbishment for London’s famous landmark.
“Only on special occasions, such as New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Sunday — a day to honor those who fought in the two world wars — will its bells ring,” an L.A. Times story says.
How to cope? Here are some things that could take the edge off the long silence.
1. Listen to the final ringing (over and over, if you like)
In case you missed it, you can hear the bell’s final bongs at noon Monday on this video.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has previously expressed her unhappiness about the situation, saying in media reports: “Of course we want to ensure people’s safety at work but it can’t be right for Big Ben to be silent for four years.”
Not everyone was so moved.
Ruth Davidson, leader of Scottish Conservatives, said on a panel discussion at the Edinburgh International Television Festival: "I have to say for somebody being 450 miles away from London, nothing gets on my wick more than screeds of news and time and effort and newsprint being given to a bloody clock that's going to stop ringing for a bit."
2. Take the quiz
Parliament’s website has devised a 10-question quiz to keep folks interested in trivia about the Elizabeth Tower, Big Ben and the Great Clock. Don’t sweat it if you don’t know the answers; it’s designed to teach you something about the landmark.
3. Enjoy silly tweets
There seems to be more than one (who knew?) unofficial Big Ben account on Twitter, each delighting in bringing you the bell’s bongs in a series of timely tweets. @big_ben_clock, which has gathered almost half a million followers since it began in 2009, keeps the bell ringing in social media (sort of).
4. Find another bell to love
If you’ve visiting London, Big Ben certainly isn’t the only bell in town.
Go to St. Paul’s Cathedral on Ludgate Hill, which lays claim to Great Tom (listen below). Or seek out St. Mary-le-Bow in Cheapside and listen to the bells that once defined whether people were true Londoners or Cockneys.
5. Make your own Big Ben
There are all kinds of YouTube videos about making a replica of Big Ben, out of Legos, paper or other materials. I love this time-lapse sketch (see below) of the clock tower done over four days and posted by Veni Arts.