This indespensable Cucumber Straighter was developed around 1850 - on one of their many
You see: I spent part of yesterday in The Garden Museum near Lambeth Palace. Once it had been a church, as you still can see:
It has a beautiful little walled garden with a knot-garden, designed by the Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury after her famous knot garden in Hatfield House. (I was there at noon - that's why I won't show you a photo - they look like spinach). The border outside was done by the garden-designer Dan Pearson ("The Green-fuse"):
The museum has an excellent cafeteria with wonderful and unexpensive vegetarian food (they use goat cheese etc) - and is really worth a visit! www.gardenmuseum.org.uk
I talked a lot with the helpful volunteers, and promised that I will keep my eyes open for another ingenious device that the Victorians had developed (at first they thought I was joking - I could only convince them of my solemn sincerity by pointing at the cucumber straighter):
little appliances made out of wire, like a muzzle, that were bound around the mouth of guineas pigs - and allowed them to nibble the grass on the lawn to one exactly even size. No need for these noise-makers:
What made me a bit pensive and musing was how practical the English are - you have to look hard to see how the cycle of life works everywhere, and sometimes nearer as one thinks: Between the composters you see a venerable tomb.