The butter bell I purchased last week attracted more than its fair share of attention. It's a pretty simple little device to allow you to keep butter at (spreadable) room temperature without exposing it to lots of bacteria from the air or letting it get rancid. All my childhood we kept butter out at room temperature without so much as a covered butter dish without any known ill effects, but the Little Woman has a cow whenever I leave any food item out for more than a few minutes. She worked for a while at a residential home for mentally retarded adults, and the health department training she received there augmented her already vigilant disposition to a hideous extent. I pick my battles, and the butter bell has brought me a satisfying victory without making her scared of spreadable butter.
Bournes Pond, which is directly behind the house where I am currently staying, is a spring gathering place for swans. Right now there are about fifty swans hanging out there. I am told that the numbers get as high as 100. I've never lived where so many were to be seen - in my experience a pair might be purchased as a decorative item, or a single swan or pair may have stopped at a local pond for a week or two. One thing that has really caught my eye is that swans spend as much time upside down with their butts sticking up as ducks - quite amusing! It undermines the regal appearance I am used to expecting from swans, but in the nicest possible way.