Found in the River Thames

going on shout

On Wednesday, 12th September 2018 I received a short Email with the following content:

“hi , while operating a rescue boat we came across this message in a bottle . we were in the area of the river Thames in the Richmond area .

attached are the images of the message and bottle.”

And indeed with this message several images reached me. The one above, obviously showing the crew of the rescue boat, and this image of the bottle itself:


Now this image clearly identifies this as bottle number 86 which my daughter released into the river Thames in London almost exactly 17 months earlier. Uncharacteristically, it was indeed dispatched in a big bottle like this. I am delighted and a bit surprised that everything seems to be completely dry.

I remember making this bottles somewhat hastily: We were going to stay in London for a couple of days, and I didn’t have (enough) bottles ready to take with me. This print, on the other hand, was already in my stash of things to maybe put into a bottle. It turned out a little too big to fit into my tiny bottles, thought, and thus I took one of the lemonade bottles that I am already stashing for when my milk bottles run out.

Initially I thought, that this must be a secondary bottle. Assuming that someone else had found the bottle first, rebottles and resealed it, and then released it once again. That would explain why it was still completely dry. And also the bottle and cork seemed unfamiliar to me at first. I tried to contact the finders and ask them about any signs of another finder, but never received an answer to my emails. (Which is the reason, by the way, why this article comes so late.)

But while writing this, and comparing images once again, I begin to think that probably, this is the original bottle after all, and the cork just looks different because the wax came off. Probably, however, it was just the finders removing it. I don’t clearly remember but it looks in the dispatch photo, like I tied down the cork and then covered it in sealing wax. That must have formed a good seal after all.

London bottle 86

In the 17 months the bottle was afloat, it didn’t come awfully far: about 15 km. But it made its way along several turns, and maybe more than once, as the river in that part is tidal. The area where it was found has several islands, too. But I don’t know whether it was found tangled in woods or other things, or freely floating in the river, or maybe washed ashore somewhere.

This latest found raises the percentage of bottles found in the river Thames to 100% (2 dispatched, 2 found).



Planning for the Future


During the weekend I cleared up my studio a little, and while I was at it, I counted the remaining bottles: It turns out I have 64 bottles left to fill – plus a couple odd bottles here and there which I put to use as storage jars for tiny bits. I made 84 bottles to date and it took me a little less than 3 years. So I should have enough for another 2 years. Plenty of time, really. But having used up more than half made me a little antsy.

Letztes Wochenende habe ich in meinem Studio aufgeräumt und mal meine verbleibenden Flaschen gezählt: 64 plus einige wenige, die hier und da rumstehen und als Behälter für kleine Dinge benutzt werden. Bis heute habe ich 84 Flaschen mit Nachrichten befüllt, das heißt, ich habe bereits mehr als die Hälfte verbraucht. Dafür habe ich etwas weniger als 3 Jahr gebraucht, also für zwei weitere Jahre sollte der Vorrat eigentlich reichen. Trotzdem hat mich der Gedanke ein wenig nervös gemacht, und hat mir die Augen für andere Flaschen geschärft:

On Monday then, M. and I each drank a bottle of ginger beer. – And I love the bottles. Turns out that the labels come off really easy (are just stickers and can just be peeled back). Each bottle has a best-before-date stamped onto the bottle which comes off with just a bit of isopropanol (cleaning alcohol). So I decided to collect these bottles for now. – Maybe I should write to them and ask whether they want to sponsor me 🙂
flaschen 2c

Einen Tag später haben M. und ich Ingwerbier aus diesen Flaschen getrunken, und die Flaschenform hat mir gleich sehr gut gefallen. Das Etikett lässt sich super einfach entfernen: das ist ein Aufkleber, den man einfach abknibbeln kann. Bleibt nur ein Haltbarkeitsdatum, das auf die Flasche gestempelt ist. Und das lässt sich einfach mit Isopropanol (Reinigungsalkohol) abwischen. Easy-Peasy.

Also werde ich wohl erstmal diese Flaschen sammeln, ich habe ja noch lange Zeit, bis mir mein momentaner Vorrat ausgeht und ich einen ausreichend großen Vorrat identischer Flaschen brauche. Die Unterschiede zwischen diesen neuen und den momentanen Flascen sind erheblich: Die neue Flasche ist viel größer (330ml im Vergleich zu 90ml), aber immernoch recht klein. Der wichtigere Unterschied ist dass die Öffnung deutlich kleiner ist. Das könnte sich noch als so unpraktisch erweisen, dass ich doch lieber zu anderen Flaschen greifen werde. Für den Augenblick finde ich die Aussieht auf neue Flaschen und eine grundsätzlich andere Sorte Flaschenpost allerdings faszinierend, und ich denke schon darüber nach, wie die neue Generation Flaschen aussehen könnte. – Ich habe ja noch Zeit bis es soweit ist…

So I have probably about two years to build a decent storage and decide how the new messages will be made up: These bottles are larger than the ones I use now but still fairly small (the bottle holds 330ml ginger ale compared to 90ml special formula milk in the current bottles). The most important change however is the much smaller opening which might actually prove unfortunate after all. We’ll see, I do have time.
Still, I am quite excited about the prospect of new bottles.- Silly 🙂


A quick update on the small worlds: If you have been following here for a while, you might remember that I am trying to put a shopping cart into one of my bottles. I have also not given up on them. Since all metal attempts are discouraging so far, I am now experimenting with baskets cut from paper. I’ll see where this will take me. I hope you’ll follow the journey. See you around!

Aber auch an anderen Inhalten wird natürlich weiter gearbeitet, konkret wieder an einem Einkaufswagen, den ich gerne für eine Szene in meiner “small world”-Serie benutzen würde. Weil alle Metallkörbe, die ich in der Zwischenzeit ausprobiert habe schrecklich aussehen, experimentiere ich zur Zeit mit Papierkörben. Mal schauen, wohin mich das führen wird. Bis demnächst!