West Coast Finds

A disclaimer right at this front: I am sooo far behind with reporting all that happened to my bottles and messages over the summer months. Somehow, with the kids at home, travels to plan, and bottles to dispatch, it was very hard finding the time to also write about what was happening. So this is a post about things that happened already almost a month ago…

The bottle above is the one I left in a small harbour in Rhos-on-Sea, Saturday 3rd August. I stopped near what looked like the centre of the village, I dropped in the bottle from the wall you can see in the photo, and then we went to get ice cream cones for the kids. When we came back to the car, the bottle had vanished from sight. I found this slightly surprising because, tidal-wise, it had not been the best moment to leave it. The water was still retreating and would be for the next hours, but high tide was already 3 hours or such ago, and it landed in shallow water in what looked like an almost natural harbour. So I figured already back then that it might have been found.

On August 5th, a message about its find indeed reached me. Unfortunately the finder didn’t answer any of my subsequent messages, so I don’t know much. All I got was this photo together with the short message:

Found your message in bottle Rhos on sea north Wales 
Saturday 3rd August 2019

The decorated papermache “rod” looks slightly worse for wear but the paper is mostly dry, which supports my guess that it was found just moments after I put it in the water. For finders this is often disappointing, but I am excited about every bottle that reaches the hands of someone I didn’t know before!
So thank you for informing me about the find, it really made my day! And maybe it serves as some kind of consolidation, that apparently there are finders and openers of bottles out there, people that just seem to have a knock for finding them. Maybe you are one of them, and this is just the first of many messages in bottles you’ll find ­čÖé

As you can read in the letter above, this is one of the bottles that I made during the message in a bottle workshop here in Nottingham. Maybe not the most inventive of bottles. It always seems like that, that bottles that were made maybe a little less lovingly are found first. On that evening I was so busy with overseeing what the others were doing and telling them stories about messages in bottles that I found it hard to find the time to write and make much myself.

A collections of bottles made this summer. The one found in Rhos-on-Sea on the very left. In the front, with a wooden mother wearing a blue-and-white skirt (sort of) is Tracey’s bottle.

On August 12 another email reached me:


We are currently in the Lake District and have found one of
your message in a bottles. Water had got to it and made it 
hard to read and the Art is a piece of cloth with a piece 
of wood that was possibly attached to it. We found it at a 
beach near bootle station.

That got me thoroughly excited. The big question was: Which bottle was it that they found?

The only bottle that I dispatched this summer with wood and cloth would have been Tracey’s bottle. She glued a blue-and-white cloth to a wooden pin to create a human figure from it. – But did she include my contact data rather than her own?

Could one of Peter’s bottles have contained wood and fabric?

bottle number 41 went into the River Mercey 5 years ago

Or maybe it was an older bottle altogether? The bottle that I put into the river Mersey in Liverpool five years ago did have fabric in it, albeit not wood. The Glasgow bottle from five years ago had neither.

All other dispatches into the Atlantic ocean would have a faint chance of being swept up where it was found but that seemed very, very unlikely. I couldn’t recall making any bottle with fabric AND wood. And so it seemed it would have to be one of the bottles I put in for other folk. However, Tracey told me that although she agreed it sounded like it could be her bottle, however she indeed did not include my contact data.

But, we needn’t have worried. The finder was actually very responsive, and told me more about the finding and provided some photos when I asked him:

We had been out for the day and on the way back to the 
caravan site we decided to stop at the beach to let our 
dogs have a run. We were walking along the beach and I saw 
the bottle amongst some stones and could see the red wax on 
top so knew it wasnÔÇÖt rubbish. The is a green piece of 
cloth with like a yellow leaf or something. There was also 
a small piece of white painted wood possibly in the shape 
of a house?
(54.3051411, -3.4153905) this is the coordinates of where 
I found it.

Now this definitely is one of my bottles, and easily identified, too. It is message number 109, one of the bottles that I put in from the pier in Llandudno. That would mean it travelled about 110km in a week.

Since the water sloshes back and forth with the tides there, it might have doubled up on its way several times. I am mighty impressed with this little bottle! And so glad it was found by this man and his dog!

I am not so very pleased about that it drew in water in just a week. (That gives dire expectations for bottles which have been out longer than that.) I always try to learn from news like that, so I made sure that the rest of the bottles for this summer all have their cork properly and thoroughly covered in (sealing) wax. The red cap obviously served its purpose, though. And although the message was wet, it obviously was readable enough for to find out my contact data.

What he took for wood was actually papier mache which seemed to have kept up well enough. Here’s a picture of the bottle when it was still dry and in my hands:

miniature and message in a bottle

message no. 109 – still at home

It remains to be seen whether we’ll hear ever again of the other three bottles I also dispatched from the same point. It is so fascinating to me that bottles that I throw in almost at the same time at the same spot end up at different locations, and sometimes some of them seem lost, while others are found immediately. I am really looking forward to hearing more of those!

First Bottle That Crossed National Borders has been found

photo: made by the finders, used with permission

photo: made by the finders, used with permission

Heute hat mich eine wunderbare Email erreicht, mit der Nachricht, dass Flasche Nummer 70 auf Sylt gefunden wurde. Im Bild oben die Flasche, wie sie gefunden wurde. Hier die Email:

wir haben Deine wunderbare Flaschenpost am Sonntag, dem 22.11.2015, am Strand von Sylt s├╝dlich der Sansibar gefunden. Vorsichtig und mit arch├Ąologischer Pr├Ązision haben wir uns dem schon etwas feuchten Inhalt gen├Ąhert und schlussendlich eine kleine ├ťberraschung entdeckt.
Mit gro├čer Freude haben wir #70 dann auch im Banner Deines Blogs als zweite von rechts wieder entdeckt.
Ein wunderbarer Urlaubsauftakt! Wir w├╝nschen Dir weiterhin viel Spass mit Deinem Projekt und freuen uns schon auf die n├Ąchste Botschaft aus den st├╝rmischen blauen Weiten.
Today I received wonderful news: Bottle Number 70 was found two days ago on Sylt, a German Island close to the Danish border. This is a rough translation of the email:
we found your message in a bottle #70 on Sunday, 22nd of November at a beach on Sylt, slightly south of the bar Sansibar. Carefully and with archaeological praecision we worked toward the slightly damp contents and were rewarded with a surprise in the end.
We were delighted to discover the bottle as the second from right on the banner of your blog.
What a wonderful way to start our vacation. We wish you continued joy with your project and are looking forward to our next message delivered by the stormy blue expanse.
no 70 sylt 05

photo by the finders, used with permission

Ich habe die Flasche am 19.8. in Wells-next-the-sea vom Strand ins Meer geworfen (Abwurfbericht hier). Und damit ist sie diejenige meiner Flaschen, die den weitesten Weg hinter sich gebracht hat (Karte unten), und als erste Landesgrenzen ├╝berwunden hat. Die etwa drei Monate auf See haben ihr nicht wirklich gut getan. Auf dem Bild kann man sehen, wie feucht die Nachricht ist – und ein wenig moderig. Vielleicht war die Idee mit dem wachsgetr├Ąnken Tuch als zus├Ątzliche Kappe doch gar nicht so schlecht… Gut zu sehen allerdings, wie gut die Tinte auf dem Papier der Feuchtigkeit standgehalten hat.

Wie zu sehen ist, handelt es sich bei Flasche 70 um einer von denen, deren Cover mit Hilfe eines Fischstempels gemacht ist, und der dann nat├╝rlich in der Flasche landet. Auch der Stempel scheint die Reise gut ├╝berstanden zu haben. – Ob er zum Stempeln zu spr├Âde geworden ist, oder noch funktioniert, wei├č ich nicht.

I threw the bottle into the water from a beach near to Wells-Next-the-Sea on August 19 (see blog post here). And so this is the bottle which drifted the furthest and the first to cross national borders. The three months it spend in the sea did cause some damage. You can see in the photo above how damp the message is, and everything seemed to have rotted a little. Maybe the idea of capping the bottle with some waxed cloth wasn’t so bad after all. Good to see, though, that the ink is still very much legible!

About the contents, well, you can clearly see that this is one of those bottles where the cover wrapper was made using a fish-stamp which then was of course included in the bottle. Whether it still can be used or maybe was rendered too brittle by the moisture, I cannot say.

Laut google maps hat die Flasche per Luftlinie eine Strecke von 530 km zur├╝ckgelegt. Ich erinnere mich nicht mehr, ob Treibgut in der Nordsee eigentlich im oder gegen den Uhrzeigersinn seine Runden dreht, und auch, wie lange eine Runde dauert habe ich nicht mehr in klarer Erinnerung, so dass ich dazu hier lieber nichts sage (vielleicht kann ja jemand, der mehr wei├č kommentieren). Aber ich neige zu der Ansicht, dass die Flasche nicht die Luftlinie genommen hat.
Zum Abschluss noch ein paar weitere Bilder:

According to google maps the distance between the dispatch and the finding location is 530 km. I can’t recall clearly whether flotsam in the North Sea travels in clockwise or anti-clockwise direction (it was one of those), and I can’t remember how long it takes to make a full round. One of my readers may be able to shed some light. But I am pretty certain the bottle did not take the direct route.
Some more pictures to finish this post:

Dispatch in Wells-next-the-Sea. It is indeed this bottle I am holding in my hand here

Dispatch in Wells-next-the-Sea. It is indeed this bottle I am holding in my hand here, just outside the picture frame.

Bottle No. 70, still clean and shiny, sitting still for a portrait before the dispatch

Bottle No. 70, still clean and shiny, sitting still for a portrait before the dispatch

no 70 sylt 02

Selfie of the finders at the finding location (image used with permission)

Bottle Number 61 found

Mablethorpe 010

Message Number 61 on 1st of August, minutes before being released into the water

I am a 12 year old boy, and from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. I found your message in a bottle, number 61, in the sea at Mablethorpe near the seal sanctuary, on August the 3rd 2015.
I was swimming in the sea with my Dad, I thought it looked like something interesting so I asked my Dad to swim out to it to get for me. I saw it, but it wasn’t obvious what it was straight away.

We opened the bottle back at my Grandma’s caravan, and my family and I were touched to see that someone had put loads of effort into making someone else feel happy!┬á The bottle is on my mantlepiece at home, and it gives me happy memories of my holidays.
Thank you for the great gift, and I was excited to find it!
This email that reached me two days ago (well, in fact it is two messages which I put together here). I am delighted to hear that another bottle has found a happy new owner.
The bottle has been floating for three or four days it seems, back and forth with the tide, and was found on the same beach quite close to where it was dispatched.
Message in a Bottle No. 61

No. 61 still at home

Vor zwei Tagen hat mich (in etwa) die folgende Email erreicht

ich bin ein 12 Jahre alter Junge aus Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. Ich habe die Flaschenpost No. 61 am 3. August im Meer schwimmend bei Mablethorpe gefunden, in der N├Ąhe der Seehundaufzuchtstation.

Ich war gerade mit meinem Papa im Wasser, und dachte, dass da etwas interessantes im schwimmt. Ich habe die Flasche gesehen, aber mit war nicht klar, was das sein w├╝rde. Ich habe meinen Papa gebeten, es f├╝r mich aus dem Wasser zu holen, und so ist er f├╝r mich rausgeschwommen.
Wir haben die Flasche mit in den Wohnwagen von meiner Oma genommen und dort aufgemacht. Ich und meine Familie waren sehr ber├╝hrt davon, dass jemand sich so viel M├╝he macht, anderen eine Freude zu machen! Die Flasche steht┬á auf meinem Kaminsims zu Hause und erinnert mich an meine sch├Ânen Ferien.
Ja, also wie du lesen kannst, Flasche nummer 61 ist also gefunden worden. Sie ist anscheinend 3 oder 4 Tage lang im Wasser getrieben und mit den Gezeiten hin- und hergeschwappt. Sie wurde so ziemlich and er gleichen Stelle gefunden, wo sie auch abgeworfen wurde.
Viele meiner Flaschen werden von 11-15 Jahre alten Jungs gefunden: Das sind anscheinend die aufmerksamsten Beobachter.
I heart U 007 kleiner

title page

Bottle number 61 is one of the five sister bottles with title “I (heart) you”. The five miniature books contained are not completely identical, but are all made making use of a couple of stamps which I cut from the erasers at the end of some pencils. – Andn then I also distributed the pencils among the bottles, of course. Additionally the bottle contained a letter explaining a little about the project and giving my contact details.
I showed off images of the bottles after bottle number 60 was found in the Saskatchewan river. I’ll include them here once again – and add one image showing off another of the inside pages as promised.
I heart U 008 kleiner

first spread

Flasche Nummer 61 ist eine von f├╝nf Schwesterflaschen, die alle ein Minibuch mit dem Titel “I (heart) U” enthalten. Die B├╝chlein sind nicht 100% identisch, aber alle mit den gleichen Stempeln gemacht, die ich in die Radiergummis am Ende von einigen Bleistiften geschnitten habe. – Die habe ich dann nat├╝rlich auch auf die Flaschen verteilt.
I heart U 009 kleiner

second spread: “I ÔŁĄ U when you feel you have no-one”

Thanks to the finder who has shared his story with me and with us!

Danke nochmal an den Finder, der mich kontaktiert und seine Geschichte mit uns geteilt hat!

Bottle No. 71 found

Message in a Bottle No. 71Das oben ist Flasche nummer 71, noch zu Hause. M. hat sie f├╝r mich am Montag vom Strand aus (Westseite) in die East Fleet in Wells-next-the-Sea geworfen. Gestern (Sonntag) wurde sie von zwei Schwestern auf der Ostseite gefunden, laut ihrer Email am “East Hill” aber ich wei├č nicht genau, wo das eigentlich ist, oder wie man da eigentlich hinkommt.

Ich vermute, die Flasche muss wohl in diesen Salzwasserstr├Âmen dort eine Weile hin und hergeschwommen sein, bevor sie gefunden wurde.

This is bottle number 71, still at home. M. tossed it for me into the East Fleet in Wells-next-the-Sea on Monday, standing at the beach (West side). It was found yesterday (Sunday) on the East side, at East Hill by two sisters from Cambridge who were on a weekend trip in Wells. I am not sure where exactly that is – or how to get there!

I guess the bottle most have travelled up and down the fleet for a while with the tides before it was found.

flaschenpost no 071-01 kleinerThis is a picture taken before sealing the bottle. It contained: the lino print which was also visible from the outside, a shell, a scroll with my usual greeting letter and contact data, and a piece of parchment, where I am rambling about libraries and beaches and how they are so similar.

To my delight the sisters like the print and said they found the experience of finding and opening the bottle very exciting. – Perfect!

Das ist ein Bild vor dem Verschlie├čen der Flasche. Sie enthielt: den Linolschnitt, der auch von au├čen zu sehen war, eine Muschel, eine Rolle mit meinem ├╝blichen Gru├č und Kontaktdaten, und ein St├╝ck Pergament, auf dem ich dar├╝ber rede, wie sehr sich Bibliotheken und Str├Ąnde doch irgendwie ├Ąhneln.

Zu meiner Freude, scheinen die beiden Schwestern den Druck zu m├Âgen, und schreiben, dass Finden und ├ľffnen der Flasche sei sehr aufregend gewesen. – Perfekt!

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-seaÔÇÖs 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…

Bottle No. 43 found

No. 43

No. 43: still at home

Bottle No. 43 was thrown into the river Avon in Bath by my trusted helper in May 2014. Yesterday a finder commented on related blogpost, you can find both if you follow this link. The bottle needed about 10 months for its way: an estimated 50 miles down the Avon taking all turns and loops into account, and then about 30 miles down the Severn, but here is was probably going a bit back and forth with the tide until it settled on a beach near Weston-super-Mare. If it had been a crow instread of a bottle, it could have found a way that is just about 40 miles long. Here is a map:

map 43

click to zoom in

Jubel! Es ist mal wieder eine Flasche gefunden worden. Gestern hat der Finder hier auf dem Blog einen Kommentar hinterlassen. Abgeworfen wurde die Flasche von M. im Mai 2014 in Bath; sie landete im River Avon gerade unterhalb eines Wehrs. Gefunden wurde sie an der K├╝ste, Luftlinie nur 40┬á Meilen (etwa 65km) entfernt. Sie muss ganz durch den Avon in den Severn geschwommen sein. Das sind gesch├Ątzte 50 Meilen (80km) Flusslauf, wenn man die Schleifen mit in Betracht zieht. Die Tide dr├╝ckt gewaltig in den Severn hinein, und die Flasche wird hier wohl ein bisschen hin- und hergetrieben worden sein, bis sie dann am s├╝dlichen Ufer angeschwemmt und zwischen Treibholz gefunden wurde. 10 Monate brauchte sie also f├╝r diesen Weg.

M. and Bottle No. XXX

M. and Bottle No. 43 (you can zoom well into the picture and see that indeed it is bottle 43 in his hands)

Weiter oben habe ich eine Karte eingef├╝gt, du kannst hineinzoomen wenn du draufklickst. Wie ├╝blich, wennn eine Flasche gefunden wurde, habe ich einige Bilder zusammengestellt. Viel Spa├č damit!

As usual, now that the bottle is found, I show you all some images of the contents:

Bottle Number 43 contains 42 lucky stars. 21 were made by Cathryn Miller - here on the right

Bottle Number 43 contains 42 lucky stars. 21 were made by Cathryn Miller – here on the right

The bottle also contains two sets of instructions, one more decorative on the cover, the other inside with...

The bottle also contains two sets of instructions, one more decorative on the cover, the other inside with…

... with an explanatory text, instructing the finder to make more lucky stars and give them away.

… with an explanatory text, instructing the finder to make more lucky stars and give them away.

contents of the bottle, just before closing it off.

contents of the bottle, just before closing it off.

With this finding story my faith in English finders is renewed. I guess less bottles are found on the banks of the Trent because for those who like to collect flotsam the coast is never really far away, while it is not uncommon to search the banks of the river Rhine both for treasure and for trash (several finders of my bottles were cleaning the banks from trash).

Now I feel a new pull to make new bottles. I’ll have to pull off labels first, always a tedious work that I put off as much as I can. But I think it won’t be long now. Also, already a couple of weeks ago, two more of my bottles were dispatched into the North and Baltic Sea. More about that soon.

Diese Findegeschichte hat mich doch nochmal wieder Mut fassen lassen. Ich war zuletzt ja recht frustriert, dass so wenige meiner Flaschen gefunden werden, bzw. dass sich einfach keiner meldet. Aber mittlerweile denke ich, es k├Ânnte daran liegen, dass ich sie eben in Fl├╝sse werfe. Und wer hier Strandgut sammeln will, na, der f├Ąhrt halt zum Strand und sucht nicht das zubetonierte Ufer eines dummen Flusses ab.Vielleicht sollte ich nochmal welche direkt ins Meer werfen… Naja, bevor es weitergeht, werde ich erstmal neue Flaschen vorbereiten m├╝ssen. Insbesondere erstmal Etiketten abl├Âsen. – Immer eine dumme und m├╝hselige Arbeit. Leider ist der verwendete Klebstoff auch noch Wasserfest, und das Etikett auch noch extra beschichtet, damit Wasser ihm ja nichts anhaben kann.

Bottle No. 50 Found

bottle no. 50 left at the beach in Skegness

bottle no. 50 left at the beach in Skegness

Last summer, on 15th of July, I left bottle and message no. 50 at the beach in Skegness. Skegness is a typical British Seaside Town with a funfair located directly at the beach. – An idea rather strange to me: Doesn’t the sea provide enough entertainment as it is?! When we were visiting, the summer break had not yet started, and it was surprisingly empty on the beach. Below you can see the children, helping to dig in the bottle, with the top of a ferris wheel from the fair showing in the background.

Letzten Sommer, am 15. Juli, habe ich Flaschenpost  Nummer 50 am Strand von Skegness ausgesetzt. Skegness ist ein typischer britischer Badeort mit einer Art Kirmes direkt am Strand, mit Karussels und Fressbuden. Das ist ja etwas, das ich eher erstaunlich fand: Sind das Meer und der Strand nicht eigentlich Unterhaltung genug? 
Wir haben Skegness in den letzten Tagen der Nebensaison besucht, und es war erstaunlich wenig los da.
Auf dem Bild unten kannst du sehen, wie meine Kinder mir helfen, ein Loch f├╝r die Flasche zu buddeln. Im Hintergrund kann man die Spitze vom Riesenrad sehen. Die zwei Masten, die da emporragen sind nicht etwa Schiffsmasten, sondern von so einem Boden-Luft-Bungee-Ding.

children helping to plant a bottle at the beach. Fair (top of ferris wheel) showing in the background.

my children helping to plant a bottle at the beach. Fair (top of ferris wheel) showing in the background. The two masts are not from a ship but one of those from-the-ground-into-the-air-bungee thingies

As I just said, the beach was rather empty, and I was a little worried, about the bottle maybe getting completely submerged in sand by the incoming tide. Much more so than about it being found too early. But other than can be seen in the photo, I piled up sand beside it, for to shield it from the direct view of pedestrians passing by. I thought this was a bottle which might survive the ages. – Wrong! As it turns out, it was found on the same day, by a young woman from Czech Republic on vacation in Skegness. And she wrote me a message the same evening. That message, however, did get lost in vast ocean called the internet for a while, and I only found it the other day, washed ashore in a “might be spam”-folder. Huh, funny how things go.

Wie schon gesagt, war der Strand recht leer an dem Tag (und zu der Zeit), und ich war eher besorgt, dass die aufkommende Flut die Flasche vollst├Ąndig im Sand vergraben w├╝rde, als dass jemand sie vorzeitig finden k├Ânnte. Ich dachte, das hier w├Ąre eine Flasche, die vielleicht in ein paar Jahrzehnten gefunden wird. Trotzdem habe ich die Flasche, anders als auf dem Bild ganz oben zu sehen ist, noch Sand drum herum geschaufelt, um sie vor direkten Blicken zu sch├╝tzen. – Aber nat├╝rlich war meine Vermutung falsch, und sie ist noch am gleichen Tag von einer Urlauberin aus Tschechien gefunden worden. Und sie hat mir noch am gleichen Tag eine Nachricht geschrieben. Diese jedoch ging erst einmal in den Weiten des Ozeans mit Namen Internet verloren, und ich habe sie erst gestern gefunden, angesp├╝lt in einem automatisch bef├╝llten “vielleicht Spam”-Ordner.

Wie ├╝blich wenn eine Nachricht gefunden wird, zeige ich ein bisschen was vom Inhalt vor: Neben der ├╝blichen Information zu meinem Projekt und Blog, enthielt sie so genannte Gl├╝ckssterne. Das Foto unten zeigt zwei nicht Flasche Nummer 50, sondern 48, aber das ist so zu sagen ein “Zwilling”.

As usual when a bottle is found, I reveil its contents now: Beside the usual explanatory note, it was filled with lucky stars. I don’t have a photo of bottle number 50 but this here is similar:

Bottle Number 48 on my table, a twin to the one found in Skegness

Bottle Number 48 on my table, a twin to the one found in Skegness

star bottles by H. Kurzke

The wrappers of bottles numbered 48, 49, and 50

The “lucky stars” contained within the bottle are folded from a strip of paper, and as you can see, the bottle contains a short description how to fold them. They are thought to bring luck both to the one who gives them away, and to the one who receives them, but they have to be circulated. So the instructions written on the right instruct the finder to match the number of stars contained in the bottle (30 in this case) and then give them all away. If 1,000 stars are given away, a wish comes true – or so they say.

The girl who found the bottle said, it made her day – I am very happy that she enjoyed finding the bottle. As much as I am sorry for not having responded to her earlier. – And finding her message made my day! I am going to make some new bottles this weekend, I guess!

Diese Sterne werden aus einem Streifen Papier gefaltet, und der Einband der Flasche enthielt, wie du auf dem Bild sehen kannst, eine kurze Anleitung dazu. Von den Sternen wird gesagt, dass sie sowohl demjenigen, der sie geschenkt bekommt, als auch dem, der sie verschenkt Gl├╝ck bringen soll. Ich habe der Finderin daher die Anweisung gegeben, die Sterne zu z├Ąhlen (es waren 30 St├╝ck), genausoviele selbst zu machen, und dann alle zusammen weiterzuschenken. – Mit der gleichen Anweisung, nat├╝rlich. Wenn 1.000 Sterne verschenkt werden, geht ein Wunsch in Erf├╝llung, so sagt man wenigstens.

Das M├Ądel, die die Flasche gefunden hat schrieb, es habe sie sehr gefreut und ihr einen sch├Ânen Tag beschert. – Mich freut es sehr, dass sie sich gefreut hat, und f├╝hle mich meinerseits nun sehr beschwingt. Ha, vielleicht werde ich das zum Anlass nehmen, ein paar neue Flaschen zu machen.

messages in bottles by H. Kurzke

Here the bottle is still standing in my studio among others. The number 50 is the fourth from left.

It was Cathryn Miller, by the way, who first introduced me to lucky stars by giving me some of hers. She has been making them for various art projects in the past, und currently she is working on a large scale work. Read more about her Wishing Star Project here.

James Ismael Cook, who has (had?) some of my bottles, wrote a cryptic comment about releasing another one. – I guess we’ll have news about that coming up soon, too.

Es war ├╝brigend Cathryn Miller, die mich auf diese Gl├╝ckssterne gebracht hat, indem sie mir ein paar geschenkt hat. Sie macht sie schon seit einer Weile und hat sie f├╝r eine Reihe verschiedener Kunstprojecte und -b├╝cher verwendet. Im Moment hat sie ein rightig gro├čes Gl├╝ckssternprojekt laufen, vielleicht hast du ja Lust, mal vorbeizuschauen und mitzuhelfen.

James Ismael Cook, der einige meiner Flaschen zum Weiterverbreiten bekommen hat, hat letzte Woche ├╝brigens einen etwas krypischen kommentar hier hinterlassen. – Ich vermute, da wird es auch bald genaueres zu h├Âren geben. – Bis dahin!

Bottle Number 52 was found – A mystery

number 52 found

photo by the finder, used with permission

Yesterday evening I received an email with the following content:

Bottle 52 – containing artwork , poetry, printed info and a shell was found this morning, 4th November 2014, on the beach near Saltwick Nab half a mile south of Whitby whilst I was out searching for Jet to use in my own artwork. It was just below the high tide line, there has been a small amount of water damage but everything has dried out nicely. Reading your blog, the bottle appears to have been placed in a library somewhere so heaven knows how it came to be on the beach near Whitby.
    As a regular beach-Comber I would love to know where it started its journey.
Gestern hat mich die folgende Email erreicht:
Flasche nummer 52, mit einem Kunstwerk, Poesie, gedruckter Info und einer Muschel wurde heute morgen, dem 4. November 2014, am Strand naha Saltwick Nab, eine halbe Meile s├╝dlich von Whitby gefunden, w├Ąhrend ich nach Strandgut f├╝r meine eigene Kunst gesucht habe. Sie lag gerade so unter der Flutlinie. Es gab ein kleines bisschen Wasserschaden, aber alles ist wunderbar getrocknet. Ich habe auf deinem Blog gelesen, und es scheint, die Flasche wurde irgendwo in einer Bibliothek ausgesetzt. Gott wei├č, wie sie an einen Strand nahe Whitby gekommen ist.
Als ein regelm├Ą├čiger beach-Comber w├╝rde ich gerne wissen, wo sie ihre Reise begonnen hat.
Indeed I left bottle number 52 in Beeston library end of August, so it being found anywhere else but in that library is an utter surprise! Once used to the idea that is ended up in the North Sea, I am not surprised that the contents were damaged by water. Since this bottle was intended for a library from the start, it was not prepared for a “wet dispatch” (it was lacking the grease I add to the cork to make it stick more securely, and the seam was not covered in wax like I do it normally).
Beeston is officially not part of the city of Nottingham but in many regards it really is.
I hid the bottle in the foreign language section behind some Polish novels.
In der Tat habe ich diese Flasche, deren Inhalt auf dem Bild oben zu sehen ist, Ende August in der Stadtbibliothek von Beeston ausgesetzt. Daher bin ich total verbl├╝fft, dass sie wo anders als in besagter Bibliothek gefunden wurde. Wenn man sich einmal mit dem Gedanken abgefunden hat, dass sie tats├Ąchlich in der Nordsee gelandet ist, ist es nicht verwunderlich, dass der Inhalt nass geworden ist. Diese Flasche war von Anfang an f├╝r die Bibliothek gedacht, und gar nicht so richtig seetauglich ausger├╝stet, wie die anderen (keine Fassdichte, kein Wachs).
Beesten ist offiziell nicht Teil der Stadt Nottingham, aber in allen praktischen Belangen ist es doch einfach ein Stadtteil.
Ich habe die Flasche in der Abteilung Fremdsprachen, hinter einigen Romanen in polnischer Sprache versteckt.
002How could the bottle have ended up on a beach in North Yorkshire? I first throught the bottle must either have come from the British coast further up North, or have made a full round through the North Sea, since the main current in the North Sea is counter clockwise. But a look at the current simulation of the German office for for maritime shipping and the oceans shows that this is not true at the British coast. Here the water swashes for a couple of hours in this and the next couple of hours in the other direction. – So it pretty much could have come from anywhere. Since we not even know when it was dispatched, there is no clue as to how long it has travelled either.
The river Trent flows through Beeston; it flows into the Humber and from there into the North Sea. Could someone have put it into the Trent, and the bottle travelled from there to where it was found? Theoretically that is possible. But that doesn’t seem likely. I generated a map to show you the situation.
Wie konnte die Flasche an einem Strand so weit im Norden gefunden werden? Zuerst dachte ich, die Flasche m├╝sste an der englischen K├╝ste noch weiter im Norden abgeworfen worden sein oder eine volle Runde durch die Nordsee gedreht haben, weil die Hauptstr├Âmung im Uhrzeigersinn geht. Aber eine Simulation des Bundesamts f├╝r Seeschiffahrt und Hydrographie zeigt, dass das vor der Britischen K├╝ste nicht stimmt: Hier schwappt das Wasser bald in die eine, bald in die andere Richtung. – Die Flasche kann also von ├╝berall hergekommen sein.
Durch Beeston flie├čt der Trent, der wiederum m├╝ndet in den Humber und von dort geht es in die Nordsee. K├Ânnte jemand die Flasche in den Trent geworfen haben, so dass sie von dort aus bis nach Whitby geschwommen ist? M├Âglich w├Ąre es, aber es erscheint doch recht unwahrscheinlich. Zur Veranschaulichung eine Karte:
mapAbove you see a map with the library (red) and the approximate finding position (green) marked. In the map on the right I marked the bottle would have taken along the river Trent up until it went out to the North Sea. – The Trent is a long river and has a lot of curves. It seems more likely to me, someone transported the bottle somewhere, maybe put it in the North Sea itself. But I see no way of knowing without being told by the first finder.
If you found the bottle in the library – please make yourself known and tell us where you put the bottle into the water!
Auf der Karte oben ist die Abwurf, das hei├čt Versteckstelle in rot gekennzeichnet, die ungef├Ąhre Fundstelle in Gr├╝n. Auf der rechten Karte habe ich den Trent markiert. – Es ist ein langer Flu├č mit einer Menge Schleifen, teilweise mit Nebenarmen und intakten Feuchtgebieten. Es scheint mir wahrscheinlicher, dass die Flasche eine l├Ąngere Strecke transportiert, und dann vielleicht direkt in die Nordsee geworfen wurde. Aber ich sehe keinen Weg es zu wissen, ohne es von dem ersten Finder zu erfahren.
Falls du die Flasche in der Bibliothek gefunden hast – bitte melde dich, und lass uns wissen, wo du die Flasche ins Wasser gelassen hast!
drawing the wrapper

still on my desk – drawing the wrapper

I do have some more information about the finder of the bottle, and how he came to be there:
For your records bottle 52 was found by someone who comes to Whitby at this time every year to collect enough Jet to make an item of jewellery as a Christmas gift for each of the women in his family. What I make depends on the girls who each give me their old,unwanted or broken silver jewellery for me to melt down and re-cast as a new piece which I then set with a piece of the Jet that I have collected.
     Your bottle will be making its way back to West Yorkshire where it will join a collection of oddities and precious items that have been collected from around the world.
I think that sounds wonderful. I am very happy and still excited about this latest find. Now I just would like to solve this mystery!…
Ich habe noch ein wenig mehr Informationen ├╝ber den Finder, und wie der an den Strand kam:
Zu deiner Information, die Flasche wurde von jemanden gefunden, der jedes Jahr zu dieser Zeit nach Whitby f├Ąhrt, um genug Treibgut zu finden, um f├╝r jedes weibliche Familienmitglied ein Schmuckst├╝ck zu Weihnachten zu machen. Was genau ich mache, liegt an den M├Ądels, die mir jedes Jahr ein nicht l├Ąnger gewolltes oder kaputtes Schmuckst├╝ck aus Silber gibt, das ich einschmelze und dann mit einem St├╝ck Strandgut zu etwas Neuem mache.
Deine Flasche werde ich mit nach West Yorkshire nehmen, wo sie ihren Platz in einer Sammlung diverser Kuriosit├Ąten und Wertgegenst├Ąnden einnehmen wird, die ich ├╝berall auf der Welt gesammelt habe.
Ich finde, das klingt ganz wunderbar, und ich bin noch ganz aufgeregt, ├╝ber diesen neuesten Fund. Nun w├╝rde ich nur gerne das damit verbundene R├Ątsel auch l├Âsen!

Library Bottle Found

bottle no. 45 not yet closed

bottle no. 45 not yet closed

I received notice today that the bottle which I planted four months ago in our local branch of the Nottingham City Library has been found by a reader there. He handed it over to the staff, and apparently they opened the bottle. I am very, very happy, about them being happy. They contacted me via public comment which you can read here.

Ich habe heute Nachricht erhalten, dass die Flasche, die ich Anfang April in unserer Stadtteilbibliothek in Wollaton versteckt habe, gefunden wurde. Sie haben einen ├Âffentlichen Kommentar hinterlassen, den du hier lesen kannst. – Ich bin sehr gl├╝cklich dar├╝ber, dass sie sich gefreut haben, und dass die Flasche endlich gefunden wurde!

For this bottle I started out with making the standing desk. Several attempts with wood failed, and in the end I settled for cardboard painted with brown acrylics. I set a magnet into the desk’s top, and there is another magnet hidden within the tiny book, so that it rests savely on the desk but still can be taken out and read.

the book inside bottle no. 45

the book inside bottle no. 45

F├╝r diese Flasche habe ich mit dem Stehpult angefangen, auf dem das Buch liegt. Nach einigen vergeblichen Versuchen mit Holz, habe ich mich f├╝r Pappe entschieden, die ich mit brauner Acrylfarbe eingestrichen habe. In das Pult habe ich einen Magneten eingelassen im Buch einen weiteren versteckt. So bleibt das Buch auf dem Pult liegen, und kann trotzdem herausgenommen und gelesen werden.

Das Buch selbst ist in echtes Leder gebunden, und ist ├╝berhaupt ein ganz richtiges Buch, nur eben klein. Dekoriert ist es mit Marmorpapier von der K├╝nstlerin und Marmoriererin Karli Frigge. Auf den Seiten findet man, handgeschrieben, ein Kinderlied, das meine Kinder besonders gerne in der Bilbiothek gesungen haben. Dort wird w├Âchentlich eine “Erz├Ąhl- und Singstunde” abgehalten, die uns allen dreien ganz besonders gut gefallen hat.

The book is a real, leather bound mini book, decorated with a bit of marbeled paper, made by master marbler and artist Karli Frigge. The text in the book is:

Where are the children hiding?
Where are the children hiding?
Where are the children hiding?
In Wollaton Library today.

Woosh, they are under the lycra,
woosh, they are under the lycra,
woosh, they are under the lycra,
that is where they are hiding today.

I don’t remember clearly, whether I put the second stanza, or to be really honest, whether it was indeed this song I put and not another one. This is one of my children’s favorite songs from “Story and Rhyme Time”, also called Totstime, that takes place weekly in our library. Each week two stories are being read and lots of songs are being sung. We started to go pretty much immediately after arriving here in England, I made a couple of first contacts there, the kids always enjoyed the singing very much, and generally it helped us discover a bit of English culture together. As you might expect, I put in a thank you note and explanation in the botte. However, it can be found at the very bottom:

mini 03 blog

Wie du dir vielleicht denken kannst, enth├Ąlt die Flasche ein Dankesch├Ân f├╝r diese sch├Âne Veranstaltung. – Allerdings ganz am Boden. Der Kommentar des Bibliothekpersonals berichtet nichts ├╝ber Schwierigkeiten, den Zettel herauszubekommen. Also sehe ich vielleicht Probleme, wo gar keine sind, aber ich kann mir nur schwer vorstellen, wie sie den Zettel herausbekommen haben, ohne das Pult zu zerlegen. Herausbekommen haben sie ihn jedenfalls, sonst h├Ątten sie mich ja nicht kontaktieren k├Ânnen, und da sie berichten, sie wollen die Flasche in einer ihrer Vitrinen ausstellen, hat es den Inhalt vermutlich nicht vollst├Ąndig zerlegt. Ich werde es ja demn├Ąchst sehen, wenn ich die Bilbiothek wieder besuche.

Apparently they managed to get the message out, otherwise they could not have contacted me. They do not mention any difficulties with that, so maybe I am seeing more problems than there really are. But I imagine it should be rather hard to do. When putting everything together, I first dropped the message, and then put in the carpet with the desk sewn onto it. I used a crochet hook to press the carpet down firmly over the piece of paper. Then came the wallpaper/wrapper showing a book shelf, and finally I simply dropped the book in, with the magnets doing their job and the book snapping into place neatly.

In their comment they mention that they will put the bottle on display in one of the glass shelves in the library. Maybe I will be able to snap a picture next week and show it to you.

Ah, I should also let you know where I planted it. Well, for obvious reasons I would have liked to put it in the children’s section, but everything is well visible there, and instead of shelves, there are couple of wooden boxes that hold the books, so that didn’t seem possible. In the end I decided for the local history section which is also not too far fetched, I think, and, to be specific, put it behind a book on industrial hose sewing.

It feels good to have another bottle found. I should make some more – I made and distributed a total of 50 bottles by now, and have none currently left waiting for dispatch.

???????????????????????????????Ah, ich wollte ja noch berichten, wo in der Bibliothek ich sie untergebracht habe. Eigentlich h├Ątte ich sie gerne (wegen ihres Inhalts) in der Kinderecke untergebracht. Die ist allerdings besonders gut einzusehen, damit man seine Kinder dort im Auge behalten kann, w├Ąhrend man andere B├╝cher durchschaut. Und au├čerdem gibt es da keine Regale, sondern die B├╝cher sind in Holzkisten untergebracht. Alternativ habe ich mich dann f├╝r die Sektion Lokalgeschichte entschieden, das fand’ ich auch recht passend. Genau genommen endete es hinter einem dicken Buch ├╝ber maschinelle Schlauch-Herstellung.

Es ist sch├Ân, dass mal wieder eine Flasche gefunden wurde. Das war wohl der Tritt in den Hintern, den ich brauchte, um mal wieder mehr Flaschen zu machen. Insgesamt 50 habe ich bislang gemacht und ausgesetzt, und im Moment keine mehr fertig. Ich sollte mal wieder einige neue machen. – Bis demn├Ąchst!

Bottle Found after 9 Months and Blogiversary

Humber Bridge and Bottles numbered 24 and 31

On July 30th I put three bottles into the Humber. (For the related blog post click here.) Yesterday I received an email letting me know that bottle number 31, the one on the right in the photo, got found on April 23rd. It was washed ashore just after the next turn of the river and did not reacht the open sea. The finder apparently was a little disappointed about that it didn’t travel far, and offered to send it to me through the mail so that I can put it in somewhere else again. I suggested she put her story, name and address in as well and set it afloat again where she found it, if she prefers it to travel on. I have not heard from her again. I would be curious to hear what she decided to do.
As always, I am revealing more about the content of the found bottle in the photos below.

Am 30. Juli habe ich drei Flaschen in den Humber geworfen (den entsprechenden Blogartikel findest du hier). Gestern habe ich nun erfahren, dass Flasche Nummer 31, das ist die auf der rechten Seite im Bild, am 23. April gefunden wurde. Sie hat es nicht weit geschafft, schon an der n├Ąchsten Flu├čbiegung (der letzten vor dem offenen Meer) ist sie an Land gesp├╝lt worden. Und da hat sie dann fast 9 Monate gelegen bis sie gefunden wurde. Offenbar in gutem Zustand: Die Finderin war entt├Ąuscht, dass die Flasche so wenig weit gekommen ist, und hat mir angeboten, sie mir zur├╝ckzuschicken, damit ich sie nochmal reinwerfen kann. Ich habe ihr vorgeschlagen, auf einem Zettel ihre Geschichte und Kontaktdaten dazuzuschreiben, und sie dort wieder reinzuwerfen, wo sie sie gefunden hat. Ich habe noch nicht wieder von ihr geh├Ârt und bin gespannt, wie sie sich wohl entscheiden wird.
Wie immer zeige ich einige Bilder von der gefundenen Flasche vor:

flaschenpost no 031-01 kleiner

The wrapper and the content of the bottle – of course there is also a slip of paper inside with information about the project and my contact data

flaschenpost no 031-03 kleiner

I don’t remember exactlz how many pages the booklet had. Here it looks like there were 12 pages.

flaschenpost no 031-04 kleiner

another sample page

I also realized that my first blogiversary here passed a couple of days ago. My first blogpost was on April 23 last year, by coincidence the day this last bottle was found. I discovered this while writing this post, and I have not thought of a way to celebrate it. Maybe with a special birthday bottle that I would still have to do. What should it be? Should it have a special topic? And how and where should I dispatch it? Any suggestions?

Ich habe au├čerdem w├Ąhrend ich diesen Artikel hier geschreibe gemerkt, dass mein erster Bloggeburtstag hier vor einigen Tagen war: Den ersten Artikel habe ich am 23. April vor einem Jahr geschrieben. – Zuf├Ąllig der Tag, an dem Flasche 31 gefunden wurde. Weil ich das gerade erst bemerkt habe, habe ich mir noch gar keine Gedanken gemacht, wie ich das nun eigentlich feiern will: Mit einer besonderen Flaschenpost? Was sollte der Inhalt oder das Thema sein? Wo sollte ich sie aussetzen? Hast du irgendwelche Vorschl├Ąge?