Last bits of soap still have use

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - PUZZLES, CARTOONS & COLUMNIST GWEN - For ad­vice e-mail Gwen at trevorb@yebo.co.za

MANY years ago the Christ­mas gift cat­a­logues with small gimmicks had a de­vice for reusing all your soap frag­ments. You col­lected them up into the con­tainer and pressed a cake of soap from them. Where can I get such a thing? – RL, Gra­ham­stown. Per­haps a reader will be able to sug­gest a source for the de­vice you de­scribe. Mean­while, here is a way of turn­ing your scraps of toi­let soap into a us­able tablet:

Place the pieces in a con­tainer and add a few drops of glyc­er­ine. Then steam over boil­ing wa­ter un­til the mix­ture is soft. The best way to do this is to put the con­tainer in a colan­der over the boil­ing wa­ter, with a lid on top. Al­low to cool so that you can han­dle it, and press it into a ball. From this you can shape it into what­ever size tablets you want. Other ideas: ý Grate 230g soap into two cups of boil­ing wa­ter. Sim­mer un­til dis­solved. This gives a nice soapy mix­ture with to wash del­i­cate gar­ments. Store in a jar.

ý Col­lect the small pieces and tie into a gauze bag. This is very use­ful for clean­ing off the "tide marks" in baths or basins.

I have a set of pot­tery cof­fee cups that have de­vel­oped a waxy smell due to stor­age in a side­board. I've al­ready tried bi­carb pow­der, vine­gar and bleach with no re­sults. Have you any idea what else I could try to get rid of the smell. – JM, Port El­iz­a­beth. You have tried some of the things I would have rec­om­mended. Here's an­other idea:

Fill the sink with suf­fi­cient wa­ter to cover the cups. Add dish-wash­ing liq­uid and plenty of lemon rinds and leave the cups soak­ing in this so­lu­tion. Lemon rinds are said to elim­i­nate the smell of fish and onions from china and cut­lery. You could also leave lemon juice in the cups.

Thank you for the sug­ges­tion that we sponge my hus­band's dark grey pants with ben­zine to re­move an oily mark left by bub­blegum. The white mark I re­ferred to did dis­ap­pear but we still have the oily look­ing stain. Do we per­sist with the ben­zine treat­ment? – MD, Port El­iz­a­beth. Have an­other try with the ben­zine, if you are happy it is not af­fect­ing the colour of the fab­ric. If the stain per­sists, you can try Plan B! Cover the area in liq­uid laun­dry de­ter­gent, and use an old tooth­brush or some­thing sim­i­lar to work the soap into the mark. Rinse out and then laun­der the trousers, as per the care la­bel in­struc­tions.

I have a recipe that refers to “Fava” beans. Is there an­other name for this type of bean, and where can I get it? – KW, Port El­iz­a­beth. Fava beans are known lo­cally as broad beans (Vi­cia sabia) and should be avail­able in most veg­etable shops. This is a bean with an an­cient his­tory, and orig­i­nated in the East.

From a cook­ing point of view, broad beans are at their best when very young. They are un­likely to be avail­able like this, so it is best to grow your own.

Broad beans will grow in all types of soil, which should be well com­posted a month be­fore plant­ing. Plant in early spring in well dug, finely raked soil. Don't sow in very cold or damp con­di­tions. Sow in stag­gered rows by CLAW PROB­LEM: A scratch­ing post will avoid catas­tro­phes at home

mak­ing holes with a small stick and drop­ping the seeds in snug­gly.

We have ac­quired a cat, which we love, but it is start­ing to scratch things, and the up­hol­stery in the

lounge is al­ready a tar­get. How can we dis­cour­age this scratch­ing? – JK, East Lon­don. Cre­ate a scratch­ing post. A piece of wood cov­ered with a rem­nant of car­pet should suf­fice.

GWEN BISSEKER

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