Coco Malé

I’d like to be

under the sea

in an octopus’s garden   in the shade

sings Ringo Starr in his “Yellow Submarine” – how true, the best place in the world at times!

 

This was an Easter trip – unforgettable! We met a marine biologist working for Nature for the owners of the Coco Island near Malé, Maldives. She explained all the plastic garbage / rubbish/ microplastic awfulness in the Oceans of the World.

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Meanwhile I am the proud owner of two cute stuffed turtle fellas and have actively filmed and photographed as many turtles as I could. I have also checked out the corals, dead near the Family Islands in the Great Barrier Reef, ditto in the Red Sea in the Coral Park, ditto but less less awful in Malé, near Denià I didn’t see much due to the wild tempestuous weather leaving a long deep scratch that took a year to heal (no big deal).

And yes, this is the place I’d like to be most. Not only because of the snorkeling, but because of the lovely people and the great meals and the wonderful surroundings and the fantastic bungalows etc. I made more friends here than in other places, which is why we are planning to come again. I also know of others who similarly make repeat visits.

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The cotton turtles are only a reminder of what still needs to be done to save these and other animals from disappearing from the face of our planet. Treating trash and residue lightly or not recycling will have fatal consequences for us all some day. Yes, I am worried about my carbon footprints, but I have not yet learned to fly on my own, anybody out there who knows how?  I just can’t wait to go back in the near future.

 

Wrap a Wreath of W(hite)Roses

This is for fun when you have nothing else to do for 10 – 15 minutes and feel like a quick-fix for your home and / or garden. The only prerequisite is abundant creativity and a few cheap items which can be found in any sizeable garden.

Start out with a ring. Mine is metal with holders (cf. infra) which I found at a crafts fair, but you can just as well use a sturdy styrofoam ring, a ring of straw bound with raffia, willow branches bound with string, anything you can use as a base. I like the metal ring for the sake of its being stainless steel (rostfrei und unkaputtbar, ca. €16) and endlessly re-usable. I redo my wreath every couple of weeks.

The first layer is long supple green branches. Here I have used cherry laurel or Kirschlorbeer (prunus laurocerasus). Lay one branch end to end with the next, slightly overlapping the ends. Start at one point (12 o’clock) and work your way around clockwise. If you don’t have holders like my ring, simply wrap some raffia or string around your base.

The second layer can be from the same plant or a different one. Since I was clipping overhanging branches, I had yew or Eibe (taxus). Start at 12 o’clock again and overlap the branches. Take the younger, supple ones and cut away anything that is in your way. Now your base should be green.

In the photo on the left you can see the green leafy base. In the photo on the right is an example of what the wreath can look like when placing an artificial rose wreath on top. Personally I prefer fresh flowers, which I have in abundance, but they dry up so quickly. That would entail replacing them every day (alas, no time!). I have also tried the florists’ trick with the little tube vases of water tucked inside the branches. It goes without saying that this variant also takes time and patience and flowers that will last.

My quick-fix is mixing fresh green leaves and single artificial flowers (cf. photo in the middle). I have different color schemes according to the season or holidays, for Easter I am more into yellow and orange with ‘forsythia’ and ‘daffodils’. Now in June with the high temperatures, I opted for white ‘freesias’ and blue ‘hyacinths’.

As before, start with the longer stems, always tucking them in clockwise fashion, then the shorter stems and finally the short stems with the largest blooms,  in this case large white ‘roses’.

I like adding little ribbons in matching colors pinched in the middle with wire. The wires wrap around the branches, helping to hold down any stray ends and slipping stems.

The final touch is wrapping longer lengths of ribbons in different widths and colors and tying a big bow,  a little off-center for the best effect.

The raffia to hang the wreath on the wall with has an extra knot every ten cm / four inches. If the wreath has to switch spots, then I can hang it at different heights depending on the wall –  or simply hang it out of the way. Laying it on a large platter and putting candles all around or in the middle is another way to use your wreath.

Wishing you fun with your wreath!

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Hedwig’s Hundred Household Helpers – deep drain drainage

Meet my wise white owl Hedwig (whom we all know from Harry’s Owlery). She has flown in to help us with quick-fix, inexpensive and (last but not least) ecologically-friendly ways to get our household in better shape. Our problem was the kitchen drain. The plumber warned us never ever to use Drano et alia again, as that would inevitably and eternally damage our water pipes made of concrete. We tried to coax our drains not to get clogged again – the repair cum cleaning job is rather time-consuming and not so cheap – but Ollivander’s wands refused to do the trick. A friend stumbled over a nice online article the other day and – it works! So here goes:

In a mug or cup mix equal parts of salt and soda. Pour into your previously cleaned drain and wait a moment.

Then pour in the same amount of clear vinegar essence (Essigessenz) and watch the white foam bubble up.

Wait for a bit and wash it all down with a goodly amount of hot water.

Enjoy your bath and basins again!

Have you heard this one already?

  • “From my bedroom, I can watch the sun set .”
  • “That’s nothing. From my bedroom, I can watch the kitchen sink.”

If you’re not grinning, you should work on your double meanings….