Well hello there fellow chilli fans…it’s been a while! It’s been…whoah…how long? To use the lingo of young, text-happy, folk – soz 😦
I could go into great detail about why I’ve been so quiet, but frankly there are no good reasons. It does go a bit quiet at the start of the year, but once we’ve recovered from the mayhem that is Christmas there’s plenty to do, to report on, and to wax lyrical about. I’ve just been a lazy arse and not done it.
Of course events take a bit of a back seat at the start of the year. Everyone’s broke, the weather’s a bit pants and no-one comes out to play. There are times when I’m trying my damnedest to sell on a grey February day, when the damp and the cold is seeping into my bones, and I bemoan the lack of customers…and then I think – would I g0 out on a day like this if I didn’t have to? Invariably the answer is no, I fully appreciate the lure of a duvet day or a long Sunday lunch down the local. Oh, how I remember them…
Cooking does take a bit of a back seat, and we at the Farm end up discussing all sorts of cunning plans for world domination that are not necessarily ready to share with Joe and Jane Public. Especially the bit about the chilli-powered assault rifle being developed to deal with the upcoming zombie apocalypse. Or the continued collaboration with Mr Hoppy as we attempt to stitch up Ivan Dobsky once again. Some of us even have holidays and a general recharge of batteries, those self same batteries that will now start to get very run down for the next 9 months.
And now we’re heading back out, getting ready for another year of repeated assaults on the senses.
So what’s new?
Well, we’ve had a new tunnel built over the last few months. When I say built, I mean we, a group of cack-handed and maladroit buffoons, gathered over the course of two or three sessions and created a magnificent, shiny erection. Much swearing was sweared, many, many insults were bandied about and lots of criticism was directed at the DIY-challenged…but said erection now houses a growing number of plants of varying types, from the milder end of the spectrum to the frankly bloody stupid. And there’s still a lot of space in there for more plants, which we will manage to fill in no time at all.
Another major exercise we undertook over the fallow period was to put down a new floor in our kitchen. Now this might not sound like something that requires much elaboration, but stone me it was a task and a half. We’re not talking about common-or-garden kitchen lino here, this is – as you’d expect – proper industrial kitchen style dimply, grey, tough, unbendy and downright bloody recalcitrant stuff that tested the finest minds of our generation. Well us, at least. We sweated, strained and swore at the damned stuff for the entire duration of the operation and I can safely say that what we have now is grey. And dimply. But it does the kitchen floor thing really, really well and has added an air of much-needed dimpliness to and otherwise two-dimensional floor situation.
On a business footing, we’re trying to turn the Wiltshire Chilli Farm into a classy, well-oiled business machine by having regular meetings and even going so far as to have minutes and actions and all that guff. It’s rather like pushing jelly uphill with a stick, but with exception of the occasional bout of verbal fisticuffs it’s all making progress. There’s far too much to do and we all have these brilliant ideas that sometimes hit the rocks the moment we try to set sail in them, but there are outbreaks of sanity and the odd eureka moment.
One of the things to come out of our brainstorming sessions have been some new product lines – peanuts and biltong. There are two flavours – the lovely moderate smoky Chipotle, and a buttock-clenching Bhut Jolokia for the serious chilli fiends out there. They’re all gert lush as our Bristolian chums would have it, available from all of us itinerant chilli peddlers and of course the online shop.
During one of our meetings we discussed our entire sauce/jam/grinder range, and killed a few off. However, just like a zombie peeping tom, some have magically resurrected themselves and are making a right old nuisance of themselves. It seems that our attempts to kill things off have been scuppered by public opinion – we keep getting orders for products that we try to retire. So I don’t think that anything will ever truly die – but it might only be available online, and then not all the time.
Talking of dying, which is not a pleasant thought at the best of times, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t mention the passing of Leonard Nimoy and Terry Pratchett. As a kid growing up in the 1970s Nimoy was of course a massive part of the Star Trek series that I remember watching, seemingly almost constantly. His passing, although sad to hear about, cannot be said to have been a shock – I seem to recall saying to myself during the JJ Abrams reboot of Star Trek released in 2009 ‘bloody hell, he looks old’. Maybe not that old for a Vulcan, but nothing lasts forever.
Terry Pratchett’s demise was sadder for me, mainly due to the fact that I am a huge fan. I remember buying the first Discworld novel in 1983, whilst I was away at university, and have bought and read everything since. His creations were interesting, deep, though-provoking and in many cases downright absurd – but in every case they made me laugh, and laugh out loud. I have long since lost the paperback copy of The Colour of Magic, but when I saw Sir Terry give a talk in Devizes a few years ago I decided to replace it, so I now have a lovely hardback edition signed by the man himself. I don’t often do the fan-boy thing, but with STP I was prepared to make an exception and join the queue.
The last and hardest passing was a very personal one. One of my cats, Cassie, lost a very brief battle with a catalogue of medical issues, and we had to make the awful decision to let her go. She’s appeared in this blog a few times as she always loved jumping up into my van when I was loading up, but now I’ll just have her brother, Fudge, to fend off – and he’s a lazy git so doesn’t help me load the van often. My reaction to her passing was to descend into a very unbecoming blubbering heap, which really isn’t classy for a hobbit of my advancing years, but luckily I have a teenage daughter that showed me how to behave with a shred of dignity.
That’s enough of the sad stuff, a quick note about events. There are lots of them. And we will be at a goodly number, oh yes we will! We’re fighting a constant battle to get the Wiltshire Chilli Farm’s calendar on the website working properly, so keep checking there – or on the Facebook page, we try to update that regularly as well. Come and find us, try out new stuff, eat some old stuff, regret trying the God Slayer, and have a giggle. We don’t do serious, you know us…
On that note I will close for this week. The plan is that I’ll be updating this on a regular basis from now on – assuming I can find the time – so keep ’em peeled, there will be more random bollocks coming before you know it.