Sunday, 11 December 2016

candle making

My beginnings of a cold still had not developed into anything, and so we went candle making.  Pure beeswax candles are lovely to burn, giving off a delicious smell and (as fans of Wolf Hall will know) a soft light.  They are fun to make, too, only I am never going to invest in all the equipment to do it, so it's as well that a friend runs candle making days every now and then.  There is quite a lot of equipment, by the time you have melted the blocks of wax, and filtered the liquid wax to remove any fragments of hive debris, and kept the wax liquid in a heated bath that is deep enough to be able to make dipped candles more than three inches long.  A couple of old saucepans don't really do it.  And if you are making moulded candles the moulds are expensive.  And wick is sold by the fifty metre roll (although its diameter is still specified on the roll in inches) which is a bind if you only want to use a metre or two at a time.

I made four dipped candles and one tiny moulded Christmas tree.  The Systems Administrator made two dipped candles, which were finished much faster than my first pair.  I don't know how the SA does it or what I am doing wrong, but the SA seems to have the knack of candle dipping.  The Systems Administrator also made a chunky moulded cylindrical candle to use over Christmas, short and fat enough that the cats shouldn't be able to knock it over too easily, although the SA was a little greedy about trying to take it out of its silicon mould too early before it had cooled enough, and some of the bee details on the sides got squashed.  Also the wick fell out, but the SA has a plan to poke or pull it back through with wire.  I suppose that's what happens if you mess about with moulded candles when the centre is still soft and liquid, but it was taking for ever to cool down in the silicon mould and I think the SA's feet were getting cold standing about waiting for it.

Mr Cool was a little fey and wary of us when we got home, as if he had just come in from the garden, when in fact we had found him on the sitting room window sill.  Then he mellowed over the next half hour, just like when he comes in after being outside.  We have wondered in the past to what extent cats have the same concept of inside versus outside as we do, or whether to them it is all their territory and they don't see being outside as being that big a deal.  Perhaps when Mr Cool comes through the cat flap in the evening and takes a while to settle down to being a pet it is not so much that he has been outside as that he has not been with humans, and when we both go out it has the same effect.

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