Sunday, 2 November 2008

Sunday bibble, organ, and soap

Last Sunday, after having finished my organ practice, I had a very hard time motivating myself to pack up my bags and leave, which seemed to be especially heavy. Going to church this morning, I was surprised to note that my music bags were not that heavy after all, and came to the conclusion that there was something weird going on.

To be a little informative, I keep about 20 music books in my main music bag, plus two hefty hymn books and my organ shoes* in the second bag. I have never weighed them, mostly because I do not have any suitable scales, as opposed to because I am not that anal. I am that anal.

So, today after church I did some organ practice. "O Come all ye Faithful" is coming along nicely, I think. The piece I really want to play next week for Remembrance Sunday is not. Bugger.

Anne, my baby sister, was disgruntled when I "suggested" that she should be practicing the piano very slowly indeed, several bars at a time, keeping to a set rhythm, but I insisted that it would do her good. In a rare bout of insight, I realised that this would also do me good, and spent a while working on about five bars over and over and over and over again. After this, it was considerably less bad. I must do that again. In fact, I must do it again tomorrow. I must leave work on time and not spend two hours e-mailing important people this time.

After a couple of hours of organ practice,** I decided to leave. When I picked up my music bags, they had once again magically become very heavy indeed. On the plus side, the nuns hadn't shut the gate this time, so I was able to get off the grounds without wrestling with unwieldy bits of wrought iron. It does beg the question of why organ practice seems to take so much out of me. It must be the mental effort combined with the overdue lunch.

I know - my life sucks so much. I have to spend a couple of hours doing something I love, then carry two heavy bags 100m to the car. I can almost hear your heart bleeding for me.

I then went shopping, and bought my first Christmas present (excluding soaps, of course). HWSNBN has indicated that it will not be very well-received; it is perhaps a bit too practical for its intended recipient. However, it is just the sort of thing that she needs, and it is not as though I shall not be making her a special soap scented with her favourite perfume. Which makes everything better.

I also bought some toothpaste, some caustic soda and some coconut oil; the latter two are for soap making. Oh, and a chewy, noisy rattle-type object and three vests for my friend's new baby, who I may get to meet this week. So far I have only seen one photo of her; she looks very cute indeed. Her dad assured me before she was born that she would be a quiet baby who slept a lot. I will be very interested to find out how that is going.

When I returned home, I set to decanting the coconut oil from bottles to take-away containers. I don't know whether or not you have encountered coconut oil before, but it is solid at room temperature. Mine comes in narrow-necked bottles - I get the feeling that their packaging was dreamed up by someone more accustomed to warmer climes, in which the coconut oil would be pourable immediately.

As I am an impatient sort of person, and do not fancy heating up bottles of coconut oil every time I want to make soap, it was necessary for the contents to me melted and stored elsewhere. In a bold and imaginative move, I put the bottles on a radiator for a while to give the oil a chance to melt without costing me any additional money. Of course, had I been organised, I could have put them on a window sill in summer, and also paid less for them (the price of coconut oil has gone up). However, I did not, so there is no point beating myself up about it on such a wildly public forum (yes, your views are welcome). When they were melted (which took no more than five hours in any case), their contents went into take-away containers to set again - I can remove measured quantities of oil with a spoon now. Tomorrow, they get lids, then they go to join all of my other oils. Now, if only I can convince HWSNBN to buy me some more olive oil, my collection will be as complete as I can afford at the moment. Just in time for Christmas soap. Which, incidentally, is coming along nicely.

It is Grandad's birthday on Tuesday, and I shall be sending him some soaps for that. Had I thought far enough in advance, I could perhaps have got some siblings to take them back, but I did not, and nor did I have all of the soaps I now have. I tell you, it's a little soapy empire here. I have run out of suitable storage space. Quick! Send shoe boxes!

Grandad's soaps are all wrapped, except for the one I made yesterday, which is on the radiator, in a desperate attempt to get it a little more dry before I send it to him tomorrow morning. As the radiator went off nearly an hour ago, perhaps now is an opportune moment to rescue it. Then I shall read that book I was supposed to read instead of going on the Internet. That would be useful.

*Typically, organists will have organ shoes. These should have smooth, not too grippy soles (so the feet slide easily over the pedals), a bit of a heel (to make it easier to avoid hitting notes in between the two desired notes) and the sole should not be much bigger than the foot (to reduce the probability of hitting more notes than desired). Mine are OK except that the sole is a bit wide. I am looking for another pair, but they are surprisingly difficult to find. You will be reassured to know, I am sure, that my new man shoes do not seem to make my organ playing significantly worse; they will be useful when I become an organ builder.

**That is the figure I would like you to believe - I started at about 12 and finished at 14.20, so obviously I did do two hours, at least.


Lisa Moon said...

Interesting. I use coconut oil in cooking, as it does very well at higher temperatures. However, the kind I purchase comes in wide-mouthed bottles, easy to get a large, long spoon or whatever into to scrape up the last bits. To melt the last bits out, we often run hot water over the outside or sit it in a bowl or pot of hot water. Then, when melted, it is easy to pour it out.
Drat on whoever thought it clever to put it into narrow bottles.
Soap making sounds involved!

Abi said...

It sounds as though somebody has actually thought about the packaging used for yours. I can get palm oil in wide-necked jars, but it really isn't the same!

Soap making is actually not all that involved - it takes under an hour to get set up, make a batch and get it into a mould, cooling. I have been pleasantly surprised! When I started, I expected it to be scary and dangerous, but that doesn't seem to be a problem now. Perhaps caustic soda is not as strong as it used to be ;-)