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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

An Eleven Plus Smile

Have you ever used the words: “Oh dear. You have got yourself into a fine pickle!”

At one time or another we may have enjoyed the stimulation of eating a pickle. The word probably comes from the Danish `pekel’ which means to preserve for use. Shakespeare used the word in the Tempest when he asked: “How cam’st thou in this pickle?”

Jewellers, however, use the word when they trying the remove discolouration caused by an oxide layer building up. Goldsmiths log ago figured out that a low strength acidic solution would remove oxides without damaging the work. The earliest solution used for this vinegar, which is also used to preserve vegetables, so the cleansing bath came to be known as a pickle. Even though we no longer use the same chemistry to flavour our food or clean our jewellery the term has stuck.

Some jewellers now use sodium bisulphate – and the rest of us know that this the product that is used to lower the pH in swimming pools. A solution of sodium bisulphate works at room temperature – but works even faster then it is warm. Many jewellers use a crock pot to keep the solution warm – but not boiling. The rest of us would probably use lemon juice or a lime flavoured drink to dunk any items we are trying to clean.

The next time you are tempted think that your child fled into an eleven plus mess – you may consider:

Lay a soothing or warm hand on your child’s brow. This could, possibly, remove any lingering hang ups.

Think about what Shakespeare was writing about in the Tempest – where a father tries to use illusion and skillful manipulation to restore his daughter to her rightful place.

Contemplate the fact that the word pickle may not come from Denmark – but may be Dutch in origin -so keep encouraging your child to read as widely as possible.

Never ever use the word `crock’ in association with any eleven plus work. Keep encouraging and smiling. Be positive.

If your child’s vapours continue then why not consider flushing them out with a little lemon drink.

There is a cocktail called `The Secret Smile’. This is made with a lightly beaten egg white, caster sugar, a measure of unsweetened orange juice, half a measure of Galliano, some dry sparkling wine and two thin slices of lemon to decorate. Dip the rim of your champagne flute in the beaten egg white – then the castor sugar. Pour the rest of the ingredients – and swirl not stir.

If your child really does land up an eleven plus pickle then a few glasses of `The Secret Smile’ should restore your faith in humanity!

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