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We were 90% sure it was gone. At one point this week, we were 100% sure. Through an old e-mail address, a missed reminder to pay for server space, and a dash of travel confusion, the Schooner was deleted. Unfortunately, just a few days earlier, we’d also deleted our back-up of it.

Let this be a lesson to never delete your back-ups, no matter how chockas your external hard drive may be.

There was an old back up from a year ago back in Australia (somewhere…) but that was no good for us, seeing as we were in Ireland.

And to tell the truth, I wasn’t that heartbroken. Not really. “It’s an opportunity,” I thought, “to make it bigger and better next time, to get back to the roots of the matter, to the important stuff. To feed the dragons of my curiousity, rather than the stressing and search for new newsy news and the technical technics. Like, why are all the kettles of Europe caked with white flakes, like someone has been boiling milk? And how did glaciers form the Brecon Beacons, where I am writing from today?”

Long story short, there was a back-up after all! My brilliant partner uploaded it and with a grin and a proud “you’ll never guess what I found!” gave me back my blog. Hooray! Not a post missing! She’s quite the genius, and it’s because of her I started the blog in the first place.

So filled with enthusiasm, I’ll crack on!

Why is that kettle full of white flakes?

As with ginger beer, Europe has harder water than Australia, at least in my neck of the woods. The white stuff is minerals in the water that have calcified, forming hard white stuff called limescale or calcium carbonate. It’s not too pretty to look at, but it’s pretty harmless to drink. After all, you drink it whenever you drink the tap water, it’s just all invisible making it less gross.

I’ve been cleaning the kettles with some detergent and a brush to get the worst of it out, and tipping out leftover water when the white stuff starts floating about. Apparently boiling a bit of white vinegar in there does the trick too. Ah, the cleaning power of acetic acid. And it’s delish on fish and chips!

Limescale sure looks good under an electron microscope. Looks like it’s called Kesselstein (kettle stone) in German. Image by Stefan Diller, D- Wuerzburg