Two Dispatches in Frankfurt/Main

two hospital rooms in the making for my current book art work “346”

It has been a bit quiet here in the past weeks, and admittedly, it has been a little quiet in my studio regarding messages in bottles. As always there are several reasons for this: My children were not in school for 5 weeks during the summer. In that time I had very little time that I could spent in my studio and thus I didn’t have much time making new bottles. At the same time, because we just bought a house among other reasons we didn’t go on a holiday where I could have dispatched bottles, and thus I still have a couple here – which I would like to dispatch but maybe not in the river Trent as that hasn’t proofed a good idea so far.
And then: My bottles quite often were related to my other art work. Currently I am working on finishing a really big project. The title is “346”, and I have been working on it for about two and a half years and am finally in the finishing stage. Much of my efforts currently go in there, therefore.
In the picture above you see the start of the box that will go with two very special copies of the book. I am making miniatures for this box pretty much as we speak. – And you now can finally see how I came to make miniatures for bottles before: I was practicing and seeing what I could do. Or maybe it was the other way around, and I decided to really make such a book after I started making miniatures for bottles? Both of it is true, I guess.

flaschenpost no 077

Bottle No. 77

While I have not made more bottles, or dispatched any, others worked for me, and the bottle above and the bottle below were put into the river Main at Frankfurt last Monday. More about this in a short while. This is just some kind of heads-up, I guess. And I wanted to put something here in case someone already found one of them! As always I am wishing for finders who like and appreciate the content. And I would be happy about some kind of contact and notification when they got found.

Message in a Bottle No. 84

bottle no. 84

Some of your might remember that I met with fellow message in a bottle writer Ina (bottled fortune) in Hamburg in May. Today I saw that there is a video online of someone who found one of her bottles. The video is in German. But I guess you can get the gist of it, even if you don’t understand what he is saying. Isn’t it great how speechless he gets when he sees her letter “uoa!”


Last Weekend’s Unusual Dispatch

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Rätselbild: Wo ist das?

Hallo, miteinander! Ich hatte in einem vorherigen Blogpost ja schonmal erzählt, dass ich letztes Wochenende Geburtstag hatte. Und wie angekündigt, hat mich mein lieber Mann auf eine Überraschungsreise eingeladen. Das Bild oben ist in der Garage bei unserem Hotel entstanden. Na, wagt einer einen Tipp wo wir waren? Ich finde ja, es sieht original wie in Hongkong aus (das haben wir vor acht Jahren unsere Hochzeitsreise hin gemacht). Aber wir waren in Manchester. – Das ist auch viel praktischer von Nottingham aus zu erreichen.

Hello everyone! I told you in my last blog post that it – will be, by now was – my birthday last weekend. And as expected, M. took me on a trip. The photo above was made on the parking deck near our hotel. Can you guess where we went? To me it looks so much like Hong Kong (where we spent our honeymoon eight years ago, by the way). But of course it was much nearer: we went to Manchester.

China Town in Manchester

China Town in Manchester

Ich hatte mir zum Geburtstag gewünscht, mal wieder schön Dim Sum essen zu gehen. Hier in Nottingham gibt es zwar hier und da am Wochenende Dim Sum in Restaurants zu bestellen, aber so richtig schön ist es erst in richtigen kantonesischen Restaurants, wo die Kellner mit Wagen zwischen den Tischen hin- und herfahren, und man sich auf den Tisch nimmt, was einem gefällt und was eben so vorbeikommt. Und das gibt es hier leider nicht. – Und so ging die Reise nach Manchester, wo eine größere chinesische Gemeinschaft gibt, und auch die richtige Sorte Restaurant.

I had asked M. for my birthday, to invite me for a real dim sum once again. He got to know and love dim sum restaurants when he lived in Taiwan before we got to know each other. When he later lived in the Minneapolis, USA, he took me to a dim sum place there, in memory of his old times – and I loved it! Since then we went many times whenever was possible, and it it by now mostly me draging him there. Although it is possible in many Chinese restaurants to order dim sum from a menu on Sundays (which we often did), neither Bonn nor Nottingham has one of the cantonese restaurants where they drive the food around on carts and you choose what you want to eat while it is passing by. – And I missed this! Therefore my birthday wish. And so M. took me to China Town in Manchester.

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Kunst in Manchester

We only had little time with two small children on one day in Manchester, and the weather was not really fine, and so we have much more to see and come again. – And I do hope and expect we’ll be back anothe rtime. Manchester seems an exciting city. For example we spotted this metal dragon waiting for something on what seemed like a ruin.

Manchester war überhaupt schön und beeindruckend. Zum Beispiel haben wir im Vorübergehen diesen Metalldrachen lauern sehen. Kinder sind ja von anderen Dingen begeistert als Erwachsene. Unser Sohn fand vor allem die ganzen geschlossenen Ladenfronten in China-Town aufregend, an denen wir vorbei gekommen sind als wir am Samstag Morgen schonmal eine Runde gedreht haben. An jedem Metallrolladen musste er Halt machen, mit den Fingern dagegen klopfen, und feststellen, wie “lustig” das ist. Was daran so amüsant war, haben wir nicht verstanden.

Manchester geschmückt

Manchester geschmückt

Whole Manchester (not just China Town) was decorated because this week in the whole city various things happen in celebration of chinese New Year on Monday. – Very nice!

Weil kommenden Montag chinesisches Neujahrsfest ist, und deshalb an diesem Wochenende in Manchester überall Festlichkeiten stattfinden, war auch letztes Wochenende schon die ganze Stadt (nicht nur China-Town) mit diesen roten chinesischen Laternen geschmückt. – Sehr hübsch!

Dim Sum - Naja, nur leere Bambuskörbe

Dim Sum – Naja, fast nur leere Bambuskörbe

And of course we finally also had dim sum. Unfortunately it was also the weekend of bad photography for me, it seems, and so I don’t have much to show you, I am afraid.

Mein Dim Sum habe ich natürlich auch bekommen. Leider war schlechte-Fotos-Wochenende, so wie’s scheint, und ich habe nicht viel zum Vorzeigen. Aber wir hatten viel Spaß und haben alle so viel gegessen, dass wir fast nicht mehr vom Tisch aufstehen konnten.

Dann war eigentlich Zeit zum Flaschen einwerfen. Ich hatte ja vor, zur Feier des Tages vier Flaschen einzuwerfen. – Und da viel mir auf, dass ich sie in der Hektik des Losfahrens am Freitag Abend vergessen hatte. Oh nein!

And after eating, we were going to go to the city center and dispatch the four bottles that I took with me – oh no! At that moment I realized that I had left them at home. We drove off on Friday evening in a hurry, and I simply forgot to put them in my bag.
There was nothing I could do about that now, of course. But I didn’t want to leave the city without leaving a bottle. And so I bought some lemonade in a glass bottle with a tin screw-on top and prepared the bottle in our hotel room:


ein unschmeichelhaftes Bild von mir mit Flaschenpost

Weil ich so ganz ohne Flaschenpost abschicken dann aber doch nicht wieder nach Hause wollte, habe ich also in einem Supermarkt eine Limonade in Glasflasche mit Schraubverschluss gekauft, ausgetrunken, Etikett abgelöst und nach einen Brief geschrieben. Mein Sohn hat auch was gekritzelt, denn er wollte unbedingt mitmachen. Und dann habe ich noch zwei Bilder aus meinem Skizzenbuch, das ich dabei hatte mit reingelegt, und zugeschraubt.

I put in a letter (of course), and added two pictures from my sketchbook that I carried with me. My son added a letter of his own, because he wanted to be part of this, too.
The next day, we went to the River Irwell, which conveniently flows through the centre of the city, and dispatched the bottle from bridge road. Unfortuantely all photos of the event are blurry so that I have nothing more to show you. But then, you probably know by now how it looks like when I put a bottle in to a river.



Am nächsten Tag habe ich sie dann direkt vor der Abfahrt in den River Irwell geworfen, stilecht von der “Bridge Street” aus. – Leider sind die Fotos auch alle verwackelt und unscharf. Aber naja, ihr wisst ja mittlerweile, wie es aussieht, wenn ich eine Flasche in einen Fluss werfe.

Nun ist eine Woche ins Land gegangen, und ich habe noch nichts gehört. Da die Flasche nur ihren Metallverschluss hatte, bin ich pessimistisch. Aber man kann ja nie wissen. Also dann “Weiter Gute Reise!” wieder ungewöhnlichen Flasche, die deshalb auch keine Nummer in meinem Projekt bekommen hat.

Because this bottle is so different, I didn’t give it a number in this project. It has been a week now, and I have not heard anything. I must admit I am a little bit pessimistic about this bottle. But you never know, and so I wish it another “Farewell and happy finders!”

Last Week’s Result: 6 Dispatched, 1 Found

wells flaschenpost

bottle floating in the sea near Wells-next-the-Sea

We had a big celebration here on Saturday in our house will all our family from Germany visiting, but had arranged everything to go on a brief vacation with my sister and her family for a couple of days, leaving on Sunday. As you might expect, the Saturday and Sunday morning were full of activity and running around. I sat down in the car beside DH, kids in the back, excited to go on a beach vacation with their cousins, heaved a big sigh of relief, and felt ready for vacation indeed. Luckily the drive was not far, a little less than three hours to Wells-Next-The-Sea in North Norfolk.

The beach in Wells is magnificent. There are dunes along the shore, some permanently outside the water, some forming islands while the water is retreating. During low tide, we did not manage to actually walk to the shore line, because our kids would have had to be carried the whole way. Here is a satellite image of the coast (thanks to google):

sat img wells

satellite image of the coast near Wells-next-the-Sea (via google maps)

Can you see that brighter yellow strip near the pine forrest there, this is the part of the beach that usually stays dry during high tide. The whole rest is covered in water. The water then retreats fast, but there is a stream that remains full of water also during low tide. I am not sure whether this is a river in the sense that it carries sweet water. But there are several springs in and around wells (hence the name) and it might be that it is a “real” river. However, looking at google maps it seems to be connected to the sea at several points, and the tide definitely pushes in mightilty. So I am not sure.

On Monday I unfortunately couldn’t leave the bed (full story on my other blog), but M. and my sister put in a bottle for me. The tide was already fairly low, and with more small children at the beach than adults, it was not possible for them to reach the actual sea. So they tossed two bottles in this stream:

Here goes the bottle with number 69

Here goes the bottle with number 69

and number 71 right after.

and number 71 right after.

It is funny how fast bottles goe seperate ways after having been tossed in at essentially the same time and the same spot. Bottle number 69 was found right after being put into the water. I have not heard anything about the other one.

Two days later. I went to the beach myself. This time the water just started to retreat – ideal conditions.

wells no 62

I make one photo of the number before putting in bottles to know later which bottle relates to which image.

My sister and I took turns throwing in bottles which were caught by the falling tide and the current that would later be the river and drifted quickly out to sea. You can see the buoys in the photos, marking the waterway to Wells harbour for ships.

Bottle number 66

Bottle number 66

throwing in bottle number 70

throwing in bottle number 70

Bottle number 68

Bottle number 68

Although the bottles drifted away quickly, we could follow them with our eyes for a while, drifting past two smaller boats. The beach was well visited and I feared someone might take the bottles out right after me tossing it in. But at least those four could only have been retrieved from the beach at hight risk, given the speed with which they drifted out to sea. We looked for a less visited corner, and indeed it looked like no-one watched us throwing. And also the people on the boat didn’t seem to notice the floating bottles.

On our way home on Thursday, we took a break to look at King’s Lynn, where the river Ouse flows into the sea. Unfortunately I didn’t have any more bottles on me. M. was surprised that I put in 4 bottles on Wednesday, but my sister and I had just too much fun tossing the bottles to not to. I wish I had brough more.

When I came home, I found a surprise in my mailbox. A boy aged 11 send me the following message:

I found your little message in the bottle at Wells-next-to-sea’s beach on Monday the 17th of August 2015. I was really surprised to find it floating around in the sea. I was just wondering where did you drop the message in from? my number for the bottle is 69.

Of course I already wrote back, gave him some details and asked for more. How did he find it? Was it hard to spot? Easy to open? Everything dry? And who is he? Was he on a vacation? Where is he from? – I hope he’ll answer my email. If he does, I’ll let you know of course.

This is a picture of the bottle still at home:

Message in a Bottle No. 69

Message in a Bottle No. 69, still at home

I named bottle number 69 “jumpping fish”, and as usual for these bottles, I cut the stamp for the fish by hand, and put the stamp in as a gift.

the cover image and the stamp on my worktable

the cover image and the stamp on my worktable

When I point my computer’s camera down, you can see that I curently have six more bottles here waiting for their release. I would like to put at least some of the small worlds into the river Thames. That is because I hope that even wild as it is, the river would be more gentle to the bottles than the open sea, and I know that there is at least one message collector on the Thames shores. Well, I’ll see. And of course I’ll let you know as soon as I can. (Unfortunately that sometimes means after I already put the bottles in. If you are interested in meeting up, taking a look at the bottles before I toss them, or just to join up for a joint tossing event, let me know now so that I we can be in touch closer to the actual event.)

at homeP.S.: I just noticed that for all summer dispatches, on all the photos I was wearing the same pair of pants. I maybe should mention that I do have others, and I also wear them…

Dispatch in Cornwall

cornwall 1 kleinerIn not too beautiful weather, two bottles were submitted to the Celtic Sea yesterday at 11 am at the Welcombe Mouth Beach in Cronwall (GPS said it was at position 50°55’58.3″N, 4°32’49.8“W ). According to my helpers (one of my sisters and her husband) it was almost low tide but the water still recessing a bit. cornwall 3 kleinerGestern um 11 Uhr morgens, am Welcombe Mouth Beach in Cornwall (Südwest England, das GPS gab die Position als 50°55’58.3″N, 4°32’49.8“W an) haben meine Schwester und ihr Mann jeder eine Flasche für mich in die Keltische See geworfen. Ich wünsche ihnen wie immer angenehmes Treiben und Finder, die sich darüber freuen!

cornwall 4 kleiner

Mablethorpe Dispatch

Mablethorpe 010Wie hier angekündigt, war ich gestern in Mablethorpe, um einige Flaschen abzuwerfen. Als erstes ging die oben zu sehende Nr. 61 ins Wasser. Leider bin ich nicht besonders gut im Werfen…

As announced I was at the beach in Mablethorpe yesterday. Throwing out the bottles turned out more difficult than expected. Well, I should have known from last summer that throwing bottles in from the beach is not very easy, and I am not a good thrower. I kind of expected the come home to find a finder’s message in my inbox. But, see for yourself:

Mablethorpe 015

my dynamic thower pose

Das sieht noch nach einer verversprechenden Werferpose aus…

Mablethorpe 016

Can you see the bottle in the air? It looks like it will fall beyond the horizon

Auf dem Bild ist die Flasche in der Luft, und es sieht aus, als würde sie weit, weit fliegen. Allerdings, die Flasche ist klein…

Mablethorpe 018

And there you see where it landed with a splash in the water.

…und fällt nach kurzem Flug auch schon ins Wasser.

Mablethorpe 020Ich konnte sie ziemlich lange beobachten. So lange, dass ich dann auch wirklich irgendwann gegangen bin, statt sie weiter im Auge zu behalten. Sie ist sehr langsam parallel zum Strand und – so bilde ich mir zumindest ein – aufs Meer hinausgetrieben.

Während ich sie beobachtet habe, sind mehrere Leute daran vorbeigeschwommen, ohne sie zu bemerken. Einmal hat ein kleiner Junge auf etwas im Wasser gedeutet, und seine Mutter ist dann rausgeschwommen. Ich dachte schon, dass er die Flasche entdeckt hätte. Aber auch sie hat die Flasche nicht entdeckt.

Mablethorpe 025

The bottle can be seen between the waves, a little above the middle of the photo

I was able to watch it for quite a long time. It was drifting parallel to the beach and I am very sure it was gaining distance to the shore, so the water probably was still retreating. The level was very low, though, and the water will have come in shortly after. I saw a couple of kids and their parents play in short distance to the bottle. At some point I thought I saw a kid point it out, and the mother start to swim. Was I to observe the finding of a bottle for the first time? – No, she swam right past. I’ll see.

Image by Dave Catchpole, released under CC license - thank you!

Image by Dave Catchpole, released under CC license – thank you!

Mablethorpe has a so called Sand Train. It is a small train that runs along the Mablethorpe beaches. There are several stops where you can get off. Very convenient for a long walk at the beach – if your feet get tired, you can ride back to where you started. I boarded for a round trip because the kids wanted to ride the train. Upon returning, it turns out, it even goes a little bit through the water. I found this video on youtube showing the trip. Skip forward to minute 6.30 or so, and you see how it goes through the waves.
While we were going, I decided on the spot to throw in another bottle:

Mablethorpe hat einen so genannten Sandzug, ein kleiner Zug auf Rädern, der den Strand entlang fährt, und Passagiere zu verschiedenen Durchgängen in den Dünen bringt. – Praktisch. Wir haben als Kinderattraktion eine Rundfahrt gebucht und sind eingestiegen. Es stellte sich heraus, dass der Zug auf dem Rückweg ein bisschen in die Brandung und durchs Wasser fährt. (Dieses Urlaubervideo auf Youtube zeigt die Fahrt, einfach auf 6.30 Minuten vorspulen, da geht es dann durchs Wasser.) Da habe ich spontan entschieden, noch eine Flasche einzuwerden.

Bottle No. 65 is going to take the plunge

Bottle No. 65 is going to take the plunge, my daughter wants to throw it in and reaches for the bottle

Of course I knew that the flood was already coming in, and throwing while I was seated, it did not even fly far. – I could just as well have put it down in the sand, I guess.

Mablethorpe 082

This is not my bottle: We saw a bunch of trash floating by.

Die Colaflasche in dem Bild war natürlich nicht meine. – Es war schon erstaunlich, wieviel Müll da so vorbeigeschwommen ist.

I wanted to throw in a third bottle from some kind of pier, and all I could find was this structure here:

Mablethorpe 065I walked up there to take a look, but you can see that there were a lot of people there, and the water didn’t reach the mole yet, and it was rising. So I took the third bottle back home.

Eigentlich hatte ich noch eine dritte Flasche dabei. Aber ich bin sie nicht mehr losgeworden. Ich hatte gedacht, eine Flasche von einem Pier zu werfen, und diese Mole da war das, was einem Pier am nächsten kam. Aber das Wasser reichte noch gar nicht heran, es standen viele Leute drum herum, und die Flut kam gerade auf. – Insgesamt war mir das dann zu dumm, und ich habe die letzte Flasche wieder mit nach Hause genommen. Fürs nächste Mal.

Dispatch of Message Number 63

abwurf nummer 63Ich war gestern in Ulm, und habe dort meine Schwester besucht, und meinen jüngsten Neffen (gerade ein Monat alt) besichtigt. Vom Supermarkt in Blaubeuren kommend, haben wir die Blau überquert, und weil das Baby gerade geschlafen hat, habe ich spontan beschlossen, dort eine Flasche einzuwerfen. Die Gegend war nicht so besonders hübsch. Das Wasser der Blau merkwürdigerweise tatsächlich blau. – Vermutlich nicht so besonders sauber. Aber sie ist ein Fluss, und ich habe dort noch nichts abgeworfen. Die Blau mündet in die Donau, so habe ich mir für meine Flaschen dort also ein ganz neues Wassergbiet erobert.

Hier noch ein letzter Blick:

Yesterday I was in Ulm to visit my sister and take a look at my youngest nephew who was born just 4 weeks ago. On the way from the supermarket, we were crossing the river Blau, and with the baby sleeping, we decided to quickly toss a bottle there. The picture above shows the general area – not so very nice – and the river curiously looked indeed blue. I guess that this is from pollution rather than anything else. But if the bottle doesn’t survive it could end up in the Danube and who knows where from there.

abwurf nummer 63

a last look

abwurf nummer 63

and in it goes

abwurf nummer 63

there you can see the bottle floating in the water

Da kann man (zumindest mit guten Augen) die Flasche im Fluss sehen. Heute nachmittag habe ich vor, was in den Main bzw. den Rhein zu werfen, vielleicht an der Mainspitze. wie immer würde ich mich über Besucher freuen!

Dispatch of Bottle No. 60

Bottle 60

Bottle No. 60, photo: Cathryn Miller (click to enlarge)

I mentioned before that bottle No. 60 was about to make a big journey which this time began on a bike (a tandem bike to be precise), toured through England, and then continued by plane and finally made it to Saskatchewan, Canada. So this bottle already has made quite a journey until it was set afloat two days ago.


The map, and the flight estimate are drawn from google. As far as I know, Cathryn travelled longer than that, not being on a direct flight and all.

Since I forgot to make a photo before I gave Cathryn the bottle in Norwich at a Book Arts Fair, she made a picture for me which you can see on the top. About the dispatch, Cathryn wrote (slightly edited by me):

We went to the launch site by bicycle. The round trip took 1.5 hours of pedalling, most of it on the Trans-Canada Trail and the Meewasin Valley Trail along the river. Total distance: 28.47 km.


The place where we launched the bottle is frequented by dog walkers, but I managed to throw it when no dogs were watching or it would have come straight back! Launch location is marked on the attached map: approximate latitude 52º9¹14.61 N, longitude 106º37¹59.56 W.

mapThe river level is low with a slow current right now. Instead of the current carrying the bottle away from the shore and around the slight curve of land, which is what I expected, it pushed the bottle back towards the shore before rounding the curve. I assume that there was a sandbar (invisible) changing the normal flow pattern.

Hilke's Bottle Launch-6

photo: probably not Cathryn Miller, since she is in the photo 😉

I didn’t drop the bottle from the bridge in the picture for 2 reasons: 1) the bridge is really quite high and I was concerned that the bottle might hit the water surface in a bad way, and 2) the police have been warning people away from entering the river, even issuing tickets. The river, even at low flow (somewhat controlled by a dam farther upstream) is unpredictable, as are the sand bars that shape and shift with changing water flow.

Bottle No. 60 photo: Cathryn Miller

Bottle No. 60, afloat
photo: Cathryn Miller

Thanks for the help, Cathryn! Now I can cross off Canada and the South Saskatchewan River from my personal map of where my bottles were launched.

So, eigentlich sollte ich das jetzt alles nochmal nach Deutsch übersetzen. Vielleicht komme ich die nächsten Tage dazu, jetzt bin ich müde, und ganz schön hungrig (es ist fast 21 Uhr und die letzte richtige Mahlzeit war ein Sandwich um 11). Deshalb nur ganz kurz: Flasche Nummer 60 ist vorgestern in Canada abgeworfen worden. 🙂