Hello once again, I must have some time to myself as I find myself in front of the laptop writing a blog. Twice in a week, this is becoming habit forming!
Whisper it quietly, but the sun’s out (briefly). Now I’m not guaranteeing a barbecue summer or unending long evenings spent sipping Pimm’s on the verandah, but it’s nice out there right now, let’s hope it lasts. Of course we’ve not hit Wimbledon fortnight yet, which is a usually cue for epic downpours and – regrettably – outbreaks of Cliff Richard. You have been warned.
So we’ve been planting. This is not a fun job. I’m not just talking about getting a few pots and compost, and bunging seedlings in. No, this is grovelling around at floor level, poking holes in groundsheets, thrusting plants into the ground type stuff. Now when you’re a hobbit of advanced years such as myself I do wonder just why I’ve chosen such a frankly painful career digression, when there are perfectly serviceable shelves that need stacking. But there I was , craft knife in hand, playing the role of hole-cutter-in-chief whilst Simon followed up and poked plants through said holes and into the ground. Our combined ages are getting perilously close to a century, and we’re the oldest two on the farm, so how the hell did we end up doing that job? Obviously age does not bring wisdom or we’d have found a less taxing job to do.
But that’s it – the crop’s in the ground, and looking mighty fine it is too. As is always the case, there’s everything from the quite sensible to the frankly bloody incendiary stuff growing, including some strains new to us. I look forward to seeing the plants grow up during the year, and give us all those lovely pods we need.
Last weekend saw a flurry of activity round the country, with events in Cardiff, Gloucester, Salisbury, Chippenham, Bath, London and Cowbridge being covered by us. Some were good, some were average, some were altogether a bit pants…but you win some, you lose some.
Talking of losing, my big adventure of the weekend was a trip to Wembley Stadium to watch Swindon Town play in the League 1 play-off final. As a seasoned supporter of some 38 years I’m well accustomed to the ups and downs of sport, and am quite aware that sometimes, just sometimes, you may just as well have stayed in bed. Sunday was one of those days. We were well and truly given a lesson in How To Win An Important Game by Preston, who were simply far hungrier than we were for the win. We looked good in small doses, but really from early on it was only going one way. An experience like that is quite deflating for loyal fans such as myself, but at least I have the emotional fortitude to just suck it up and get on with life, not like some of our so-called fans who were hurling abuse at the players after the match. Idiots like that don’t get it – no professional (or amateur, come to think of it) sportsman goes out to lose, or play badly – sometimes it just happens like that. Or maybe – just maybe – you have to give the opposition credit for having done their homework and beaten you fair and square. No team has the right to win all the time, despite Arsene Wenger’s protestations to the contrary. Ah well, there’s always next season.
Back in the chilli world, and this week we launch into big event season. Even as I type, Jamie, Bond and Beard are at the Royal Bath & West Show, one of our biggest events of the year. Jamie spent an inordinate amount of time last week measuring, sawing, then nailing pieces of wood into other pieces of wood, and subsequently varnishing the ensuing creations a colour that wood never quite reaches in real life. To be fair, I only saw the half-finished creation, so it may match the Mona Lisa for enigmatic glory once it’s all set up, but of one thing I am absolutely, 100%, stone-cold-certain – Jamie will not be happy with it, and next year he will be furiously sawing and hammering once again! If you’re down at the RB&W make sure you hunt us out – we have two stands set up – we’d love to see you.
And whilst you’re there, check out our friends PinkBox Boutique…naturally Kerry won’t have the WCF range with her this time as we’re also at the show, but she’ll have some lovely stuff for sale at stand 412 (the Westridge Marquee) – she’ll certainly be glad to see you!
Not content with that, we’re also at the continental market in Kilmarnock and the Monmouthshire Food Festival at Caldicot Castle this weekend – so that’s Britain covered. Oh, and Swindon…we’ll be there on Sunday as well…does Swindon count as Britain, or has it seceded from the union yet? There are some days when it certainly feels like it’s more like an alien world than a large town in Wiltshire.
That’s it for this week folks, time for me to prepare for the weekend’s hostilities. Be careful out there!
Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying ‘End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH’, the paint wouldn’t even have time to dry.