Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
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.