Daily Archives: September 3, 2010

Second Life

Our topic today was chosen by Magpie 11. Lady Magpie made contact with me a couple of days ago to tell me that he would not be joining us in the playground for a few days because he had been admitted to hospital, the latest news came from the man himself.  He has been allowed home with strict orders to behave!  I am sure that Anu, Ashok, ConradGaelikaaGinger, HelenJudy, Maria, Ramana & all of you who have come to know Our Magpie 11, will join me in sending a resounding Get Well wish for a speedy recovery to full health.   We look forward to cracking open a bottle of good cheer and banter real soon.


Bottles come in many colours, shapes & sizes and are often used to provide nourishment at the different stages of our lives.

Poetic licence here, the last one is not really a bottle, but I have on occasion had liquid from all the varieties shown so far!

Today I would like to concentrate on the second life of bottles.  What do you mean you didn’t know bottles had a second life?

Glass is an excellent material for re-use, it is sterile, safe and 100% recyclable.  The recycling process can be repeated endlessly without any loss of quality.  Recycled glass reduces the amount of rubbish that needs to go into landfill.

On a recent visit to St George’s Market in Belfast, I discovered two such ‘Second Lives’!

This young lady was from Greenglass based in Cornwall.  All the glasses on the stall were made from recycled bottles.  I see from the website that they also make glass bracelets and necklaces.

While still on the wander another stall sold clocks.  The battery operated clock mechanisms were fitted to old records, both LPs and EPs… now Magpie calm down, I know you think this is sacrilege, but it is a nice way to reuse a favourite old scratched record.  I saw someone purchase a David Bowie LP and have the clock mechanism attached at the stall.

On the other part of this same stall were unusual wall clocks made from recycled liquor bottles, each with their original label. I am told the bottles are super heated until flexible and then squashed flat, the label is then reapplied and a clock mechanism is fitted. The very nature of the manufacturing process means that no two clocks are the same. They Require 1 x AA battery, it is not usually included in the price.

What is your tipple?

The final part of my dissertation on recycled bottles comes from my own garden.

I have repeated more times than enough that I live on a hill.  The garden at the back slopes away from the house in two directions.  Half of the plot drops quite suddenly more than the height of a two story house.  It was unsafe for Jack to work there because of the war injuries to his left leg.  I at times found it difficult to balance on two good legs and anyway we could spend a major Lottery prize on landscaping and never be able to enjoy looking at it from either the top of the garden or from inside the house.

For safety reasons I decided to build a wall.  The wall I had in mind was of bottles!  Jack thought I was crazy (and you all know that I am!), but I persisted.  I could see it in my head… just as I do with most projects.

I dug a foundation and built it in the usual way.  Oh!  Did I not tell you this was a do-it-myself job with as little expense as possible?  They are the projects I like the best.

It was 1984…. Not the book, the Year 1984!

Now Jack liked a whisky and he always poured me a sherry when I was preparing a meal, wine helped wash down the dinner and for casual enjoyment I would chose a G&T.  It would need to be some party for all the bottles required for My Wall! 🙄

Thinking cap time…..

There were at least six pubs within a 100 yards in this Town of ours.  I would ask them about non returnable bottles.  I did.  They were glad to be rid of them so I began collecting on a weekly basis, then slowly started building up the layers of bottles mixing the coloured glass randomly as I went.  Three rows at a time were cemented into place and left to set before the next rows were added. I was able to work from each side of the garden until we met in the middle.

Now this was not your common or garden straight wall.  No!  I had to be different weaving it in a curved fashion to keep some plants in the top garden and leave some that I thought uninteresting to grow wild behind it.  This all took time.  I collected all the non returnable bottles from the six pubs for five months,  Well it was over seven months if you count breaks for holidays and weather interruptions.

Poor quality photo, but it will give you the idea.  The gap in the centre was yet to be filled.  I was not into cameras back then so digital picture quality was as yet unknown to me.

Miss Elly using her swing as a climbing frame (is that out of the box thinking?), this shot gives a clue to the curves in the wall.

I set the bottles on their sides with the ends facing the house.  I didn’t want to take away the natural light as a timber fence or brick wall might do.  But even I was in for some surprises.

A more recent photo with the shrubs well settled around the wall.  I laid a cement pathway through two sections of the wall to allow for garden cuttings and grass clippings to be disposed of and returned to nature. The curve in the wall is almost a full circle at this side of the path.  I used shorter bottles and the odd jam jar at this stage.

In the mornings the sunshine played on the front of the wall….. but in the evening the setting sun gave it a total different look:

Now after all that hard work, I think I need a drink!