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Cultural Concubine Blog

Neither here nor there…

Tag Archives: weather

Salvaged from the shed…

One of the reasons I am a little bit odd, might be that my parents let me play with lead when I was small… And I don’t mean lead as in the ‘lead pipe with Colonel Mustard in the Library’ kind in the Cluedo game, I mean molten lead!

Our lead was sourced from the bottle tops of my grandfather’s wine bottles (mostly Nuit St. Georges). My brother was most interested in playing with the end result, Lead soldiers…
I mostly enjoyed doing the actual casting.
The moulds we used were from Ireland, Cork. But we also had a pre-WW one from our grandfather.

Bad pic, but see how this headless soldier is trying to outrun it’s pretty red and white lead oxide. Bless!

What I loved most were the miscasts… The little un-soldered soldiers, with the strangest parts missing. Sadly most of those were simply remelted, instead of being sent to war.

We soon became experts in the typical character of each of the moulds. And what would be the special ways in which to work them to get the best result. How to tilt them, tap them or press them together while pouring in the lead.

I remember that the guns were always the trickiest. They took longest to cool, and the round barrels could have all kinds of dents and glitches due to shrinkage….

I guess I never really considered how much this game actually taught me about the manufacturing process. Not in the least the lesson that melting lead in the shed would give you a pretty good headache after a while.

Looks like a rainy day…

It also taught us to tell the weather. Pouring molten lead into water at room temperature would result in a wonderful (and in this case just forget dangerous) ballet of spluttering steam. We would be left with either a wildly shaped stream of lead, caught in action… or a pile of loose drops at the bottom.
In case of the latter there would be rain!

Pity children aren’t allowed to play around with this kind of thing anymore…

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Busy Lizzie...

Over the four years of living in London there is one main feature of British life that got away…

The Chelsea Flower Show.

The show features the greatest stars in garden design, splashing out on the most exquisite show gardens. Ranging from Australian and country gardens to an actual Stephen Hawking Garden…The Queen even came to have a look at that one…

More is better...

Then there is the Floral and Grand Pavilion showing off the thorough-bred plants of their race… Gold medals for the best in show are awarded by the RHS. As well as the bizzarrest new kinds you have ever seen.

The big themes this year seemed to be to get back to nature and planting to support bees and other fauna in the garden…

Best veggies in show, without parsnip tie regretfully...

Apart from the plants (like Cruft’s) there is the diversity of people to admire… You can easily recognise the owner of the ‘sweet pea’ nursery by his tie… (getting the right floral tie seems obligatory)

I truly regret that I didn’t have tickets this year, as these fly out well before the season…

The Mannequin doesnt look impressed...

This gardening show doesn’t only stay in the compounds of the exhibit itself. All kinds of shops around the council join in by planing greenery and bouquets of colours around their shop fronts… Even here the competition does not cease… making the window gardens reach great heights of complexity…

It is hard to describe how or why the art of gardening is so close to a Brit’s heart… It might be the undulating green lusciousness of this lovely island… Or may be the fact that you need something else than the weather to talk about…

Bumbling along...

As the rain pours down so frequently, at least you can raise your shoulders, pull an apologetic face and sigh: ‘At least it is good for the garden…’.

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British Summer of 2009 on the Mall...

It is true, Britain has a lot of weather.

I know it is a bit of a cliche, but as Eskimo have 40 words for snow, the Brits have 20.000 for everything else.

It is stunning to see how the whole island can grind to a hault after a few flecks of snow. (not to mention the cloud of volcano dust that is coming our way today.)

Apart from a large cloud of any cleaners nightmare floating on high, today’s weather is actually brilliant. It is one of these fresh early days of spring that really reassure you that the long greyness is over.

Or is it?

Sorry Toto...

After almost 4 years of Britain I can now safely say I have gone a whole different shade.
My skin is no longer fresh and pink but a new shade of pale and my hair is no longer a Dutch variety of sun bleached blonde but instead some non descript drab colour…The Dutch actually have a name for that colour: ‘Melkboeren Hondenhaar’or: The hair of the Milkmans dog – in other words: average…
(the picture also explains why there is no Crufts in Holland)

Ever since I got the key to the garden square I have not had one single day where I could just sit there (without a coat) and have tea in the sun with friends…

I am hopeful this will happen before my departure.

Pretty please?

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