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Ice Cube Bags - Simple But Effective
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Ice Cube Bags  -  Simple But Effective

Summer at Last!

It’s started a little late here in England this year. Apart from an unexpected and unseasonal heat-wave back in the Spring it has been pretty dismal.

Even the birds are confused by this crazy weather we are experiencing. Some have even started nesting again.

We’ve had drought conditions along with hosepipe bans one week, then flash floods the next.

And the Rain! I didn’t think it would ever stop! Day after day of torrential downpours.

Even my dog was getting fed up with it. She would sit by the window looking very glum. I’m sure she learned a new word during that awful time. ‘Rain!’ I would say or ‘It’s raining again’ and she would look dolefully out of the window and then curl up and go back to sleep again.

St Swithin's Day certainly lived up to its reputation this year:

'St. Swithin's day if thou dost rain

For forty days it will remain

St. Swithin's day if thou be fair

For forty days 'twill rain nae mair.'

St. Swithin, or more correctly, St Swithun, was a Saxon Bishop of Winchester long ago. He was born in Wessex, England which was a Kingdom back in those days. He was a well known benefactor and made many charitable gifts and was also a dab-hand at building Churches, or at least raising and providing funds for them to be built.

He is most famous, though, for that weather-rhyme which basically says that if it rains on 15th July it will continue raining for the next forty days! He certain got that right this year at least!

It is, today, thought to be based on fact, as a phenomena of the Jet Stream blowing here from across the Atlantic. This year it was too far South, so a lot of cool, wet weather was dragged down from the North and this brought us rain, rain and yet more rain!

But today the sun is shining brightly in a clear blue sky. Barely a cloud to be seen. The temperature is rising already this morning and is expected to reach about 29c later today. I think that is most likely too.

I just went to the kitchen and poured myself a long, cold soft drink to refresh and cool me down. Plink Plink! I added some ice cubes. Easy enough to do as I had got some ready for freezing yesterday in anticipation of the warm weather expected today.

While I was putting the ice cubes in the glass though I found myself silently blessing the inventor of those plastic bags we use nowadays to make these small blocks of frozen water. These Ice Cube Bags are taken for granted now as THE way to make ice cubes. But not long ago making them, or at least getting a tray full of water into the ice box and then out of the frozen tray, wasn’t quite so easy.

Do you remember those ‘Ice Cube Trays’? How you’d have to fill them with water, put in the plastic grid and then carry them oh-so-carefully to the ‘fridge without spilling water on the floor? The water would swish from end to end like a mini-tsunami if you weren’t careful. Then you’d have to open the fridge door with your free hand, all the time watching out for another Tsunami, only to find someone had put a bag of frozen peas in the ice cube compartment and there was nowhere to place the ice cube tray without the water cascading over the sides of the tray!

No wonder the ice cube tray was usually empty whenever you needed some ice cubes!

But now we have these blue bags (all the ones I’ve seen have been blue, anyway), which we fill from a tap until all the little square bubbles formed in the plastic bag are filled to bursting with water. Then hold them up by the bottom end and shake off any excess water and almost throw them in the ‘fridge!

Hey! No water comes out of the filling end! It seals itself! How? It has a very ingenious self sealing valve formed in the plastic bag opening. Stop and think about that for a moment. You fill the bag with water and it seals itself! What an amazing device!

No matter how hard you shake the bag or swing it around your head the water doesn’t come out.

Brilliant! Just think how impossible it would be to devise such a valve and make it work ‘from scratch’. You could probably spend weeks on such a project and still have water dripping from the walls following all those failed ‘bag swinging’ tests.

But these cheap, self-sealing ice cube bags are bought by the boxful and with barely a thought as to how they actually work, probably not even crossing the minds of most ‘normal’ people anyway. In fact they are so commonplace we probably don’t even give them a second thought.

But they are so simple, yet effective. I think whoever invented them really does deserve a medal, or even a Knighthood, for his inventiveness and ingenuity. I must find out who he is and put his name forward for some sort of honour!

‘Arise, Sir Ice Cube Bag Inventor!’, with a sword-tap on each shoulder by Her Majesty!

As for St Swithin, AKA St Swithun, I’m just hoping that he got that bit about the rain right. ‘For forty days it will remain’, and that the rain really is over, at least for the few weeks of what is left of this Summer, anyway.

Time for another cool, icy drink, methinks!

Street Talk

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