Monday, 14 October 2013

Must go and pack a suitcase

Caught in the act

Thanks for all the advice about what to do with the meeces that are invading our cereal cupboard but I’m afraid it’s not in my nature to kill them.  We have some small mammal traps (i.e traps for small mammals – though they are also small traps!) which don’t kill.  They are primarily for examining little creatures outdoors but they come in useful for capturing the villains indoors as well.  

After being photographed the culprits were deposited in the Nursing Home next door.  They’ll probably be back but by then the holes may be filled in and with luck the experience of being trapped may deter them from coming back for more.  (Cynics are welcome to comment but please don’t be surprised if I continue to trap them alive!)  Partner-who-loves-tea-and-who-dislikes-Tesco wanted me to take them to the cereal isle in Tesco but I refused...

I'd walk a million miles for one of your smiles
In Postcrossing my ‘Postcards sent distance’ has just passed the one million miles.  That means it’s actually a lot more because only about a third of my postcards go through the Postcrossing process nowadays.  The majority are to and from friends.  

But whoever they come from they always bring a smile to my lips.  And lately I have had a lot of Inge Löök cards. They don’t just bring a smile – they make me laugh.   Inge Löök (real name Ingeborg Lievonen) is a Finnish artist born in Helsinki in 1951. She was once a professional gardener, but today she is most famous for her ‘Granny’ or ‘Aunties’ postcards which so many postcrossers love and collect. When she was a child, Inge lived with her family in a 7-storey building in Helsinki. In the same building lived two older women, Alli and Fifi, who later became the inspiration for the characters in her postcards. She says the women look nearly the same as their real-life models... but they have a lot more fun!  So far I have 14 of the Alli and Fifi cards and a signed Lupin one.  I think that if you click on this link you should be able to see all the ones I’ve got (I’m playing with Google picture albums. I'd be interested to know if the link works.)

The mother of all Swiss Army knives

A device described as the ‘mother of all Swiss Army knives' has gone on display at the Buffalo Bill Centre of the West in Wyoming, USA. Belonging to the Smithsonian, it features more than 100 tools - everything from a piano tuner to a .22-caliber revolver.

 It also includes two saws, a lancet, button hook, cigar cutter, pens, a mechanical pencil, mirror, straight razor, a cheese fork and a butter knife.  Made in Germany in 1880 for JS Holler & Co’s cutlery store in New York City, the beautifully crafted knife predates the Swiss Army knife by 11 years. 

According the Smithsonian website the knife - which is 3.5ins wide and 9ins long - wasn’t really meant to be carried.  It reads: ‘Knives like this were made exclusively for exhibition to highlight the cutlers’ art.  They were so difficult to make they were only attempted by the most notable firms with the most talented artisans.  They could be seen at various fairs and industrial expositions during the 19th century.'

The term ‘Swiss Army Knife’ came into being after US soldiers based in Germany during the Second World War had difficulty pronouncing the German name, Schweizer Offiziersmesser (Swiss Officer’s Knife).

We’re off…
Not in the sense of rancid butter or putrescent cheese but off on holiday.  Just twenty four hours or so and we will be driving down through Bridgnorth, Worcester, Malvern and Tewkesbury to Cheltenham.  Some of those places I haven’t been to for years.  In fact I don’t think I’ve been to Tewkesbury since we were married, twenty six years ago.  No doubt Partner-who-loves-tea and I will be checking out some of the cafes and charity shops en route. 

And Malvern has three of the four Victorian fluted pillar boxes with horizontal apertures, which date from about 1857.  To quote from Civic Voice - “Many famous Victorians and Edwardians lived in Malvern or came here to take the cure. It is fascinating to speculate how many letters from Darwin, Elgar, Bernard Shaw, Florence Nightingale and many others started their journey in a Malvern post box.”

This is the other surviving one, in Solihull (compared with a vertical apertured one in Birkenhead).  I took the photos quite a few years ago so I’m not sure if they still survive.

Bye for now...


  1. There is a similar exhibition knife in Weston park museum Sheffield.
    Have a good holiday.

    1. Sheffield, for those abroad who may not know, was the centre of our British steel industry in the 19th and 20th Centuries and is justly proud of its products.

  2. It's nice to know that you've made some progress with the mice problem. They obviously like your taste in cereals.
    Your link worked well for me, and I adore each and every one of those cards. Two girlfriends enjoying life together, who could ask for more.
    As for the Swiss army knife, I would want one of those to keep in my vehicle as I travel around. Who knows when one might need a cigar cutter or a cheese never knows.
    As always I have enjoyed your post with its variety of interesting topics.
    Wishing you and Jo a safe and memorable trip.

    1. Thanks for testing the link. It's always hard to tell when your computer is 'logged in' to something and allowing you to do something others can't. Well, it is for me any rate!

  3. Did i ever tell you about the mouse problems at the churches in the city? One church simply blocked up entrances and tried keeping them out, but the mice continued to come in and wreak havoc. The second church had them humanely trapped and moved, but the mice came back. The third took a different tack -- baptizing them and making them members so they only see them at Christmas and Easter!

    Enjoy your journey!

  4. Have a good trip, John!
    The Cereal Cupboard Police Dept. is hopefully soon out of work and will be obsolete.
    Actually, I'd be VERY surprised (and not a little disappointed) if you had been employing anything other than traps that capture and keep the "culprit" alive.

  5. Oh, forgot to say that the link works fine for me.

  6. I love the pic of the critters and I'm sure they will try to come back, but blocking their entrance hole will be a good solution. Happy Holiday to you and Partner and I love the army knife..Jack would be so envious! He loves his little Swiss Army knife!

    1. I suspect Jack would find it a bit heavier than his present one, Kathy, but I can imagine the hours and hours of fun it would give him.

  7. I don't know why I'm always surprised to learn people are not all cold hearted brutes like me. Queen of Hearts, that's me - "Off with their heads." My boys would have been envious of that swiss army knife, theirs were pale affairs by comparison. The link worked fine here on the other side of the world, too! :)

  8. Hope you left enough cereal in your cupboard to keep your tenants alive until your return! Have a wonderful trip - looking forward to the photos you'll share when you get back.

  9. I must have managed to miss your mice problem. I can certainly understand if you prefer to catch them alive... Brings up a memory for me from childhood, mum found a mouse in the cellar and managed to catch it using some item from the laundry basket, and carried it off out into the wood behind our house and let it loose there... I know my parents also set traditional traps in the attic though, I think they saw no other way to get rid of them up there.

  10. Forgot to say, the link works. That's quite a collection of Inge Löök cards - I haven't got any of those so far. Unfortunately I've not come across them for sale in any shop here either. I'm following her Facebook-page though so I see a lot of them there!

  11. I don't believe I have ever seen one of those pillar boxes before - surely nobody would get rid of something so unusual.
    I think I agree that the Tesco cereal aisle is the best place for the meeces, if it was not for the fact that they are bound to meet a sad end there. Perhaps out in the garden, at the very end of it furthest from the house? I can't bear to kill them either. IN fact, I even like rats, but I admit not when I see them TOO close to the house, and I wouldn't be so fond of them inside.

  12. And, of course, enjoy your holiday!


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