Sunday, 14 August 2016

Mother warned me


As a kid, I always wanted to get inside a snowglobe to see what mysterious liquid held the swirling snowstorm in suspension, but my mother insisted that it was highly poisonous and if I should ever accidentally break one, I should be careful not to come into contact with it. Never mind accidents, I wanted to deliberately smash one to find out, but I never did. The miniature worlds within worlds stayed a tantalising mystery to me all throughout my childhood.

I was selecting a few things to take to a charity shop yesterday, and noticed the two snowglobes which I had bought as silly jokes for H.I. quite a few years ago, and decided that the joke was now over - I think it had been over since about 30 seconds after I gave them to her but, in this house, things take on a historical significance in a matter of hours.

One of them was a tableaux of pigs - one large central piggy surrounded by a circle of much smaller ones, and all of them wearing floral hats. The other was  - given the snow - a much more appropriate scene of a tiny and badly modelled man playing an alpine horn on the top of a mountain. The base of the globe had the word, 'SWITZERLAND' embossed around the edge.

They were sitting on a tray of other knick-knacks, bathed - if not sweltering - in the hot Summer sunshine, and I did not bother to give them a shake to get the snow swirling as this would have made them even more incongruous than they already were. I did, however, very gently tap the two globes together just to hear the sound.

The sphere with the Swiss horn-player in it exploded - probably due to the heat and pressure - sending cascades of the deadly fluid over my hands, the table and some nearby electrical equipment.

My life flashed before me and my mother's words of dire warning came drifting back to me over the decades.

As a result of this catastrophic event, I can tell you that snowglobes contain colourless and odourless water.

29 comments:

  1. Thank you, Tom, for your bravery in solving this puzzle. I'd also been wondering about That Liquid for a very, very long time.

    Best wishes.

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    1. Something else we don't have to worry about. My work here is done.

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  2. The infamous dihydrogen monoxide, then.

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  3. The punchline was worth waiting for!

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    Replies
    1. Now if they filled them with punch...

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  4. How do you know it was water? Did you drink it?

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    Replies
    1. It is difficult to drink when you are screaming.

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  5. And glycerin. I keeps the snow in suspension instead of clumps.

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    1. Oh - even more nutritious. They must have to use sterilized water too, otherwise THINGS would grow in it.

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    2. For a moment, you lapsed into pirate-speak then.

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    3. My phone and this mac substitute the craziest words for me that I'd never say. A few are even humorous sometimes, though It makes me sound like a moron. I don't mind the spellcheck but the substitutions are lame.

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    4. I have got rid of my bloody spell-check, so now I have to read-through and check it myself - just like the old days. It doesn't even underline in red now - bliss.

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  6. Was the snowman wearing an ice cap when you got it to pieces?

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    Replies
    1. There was no snowman - or am I missing the point?

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    2. I thought all snow globes included a snowman. What does the snowman wear? An ice-cap.

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    3. Oh, so you buy Penguin biscuits too? I only get them for the jokes. I made one up once. Here it is:

      Who carried out the beak-job on the penguin?

      A plastic sturgeon.

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    4. was her name nicola or did alex the salmon have to stand in for her?

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    5. Stand in what? (Here comes a Guano joke).

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    6. That would be really crappy

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  7. But you believed your mum for a long long time.
    Merle..........................

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    1. She was probably told the same thing by her mother - these myths get handed down through the generations when they are given to children who have not yet learned that their parents are fallible.

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  8. I once had an idea of marketing a snowglobe of Ayers Rock with millions of miniature flies instead of snowflakes, but I couldn't find anyone interested. I think one would have made a perfect addition to your tasteful collection.

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    1. Maybe a single dustbin with black flecks instead of white would give a better scale. I want one already.

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  9. If the snowballs were to be filled with water from our rivers you would find traces of cocaine in them!
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. Here begins another myth - that the snow in all those snowglobes is in fact cocaine, and the globes were someone's bright idea to smuggle it, but they all got lost in transit so everyone didn't know. That would get loads of adults buying them all up from toy shops.

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  10. 'Just to hear the sound'......I don't believe you Tom, that little boy inside your head wanted them to smash, even if you didn't realise it......

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    1. Oh no - if I wanted to smash it would have, but over the sink. I have reached the age when I feel I have the right to smash my toys if I want to, but reaching that age means that I no longer want to.

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