Monthly Archives: January 2018


‘I ate’nt dead’.

And with those 3 simple words, ladies and gentlemen, I will either have spoken volumes, or you’ll be saying ‘he can’t spell, please alert the authorities’.

Those in the know will recognise the sign that Granny Weatherwax would hang round her neck when she went borrowing, in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books.  It’s become a bit of shorthand amongst us Pratchett fanatics, and if we see it, we know we’re in the presence of someone that we can say ‘Ook’ to and not be laughed at.  Someone that understands the phrase ‘the turtle moves’.  Someone that  knows what a seamstress really does.

IMG_20180105_105313Why am I blathering on about this?  Well, not just because I think Pratchett was rather splendid, but because I managed to catch the end of the exhibition at Salisbury Museum featuring his work.  It had been on for months and I promised myself that I would get there before it closed, and thankfully I managed it, along with fellow Pratchett nut Alison, who I met via a Facebook group.  I don’t go to museums very often (at my age I run the danger of becoming an exhibit), but I have to admit that I was very, very impressed with this visit.  The exhibition itself was very tastefully done, a little bit emotional (bloody onion fairy), and of course full of reminders why us fans love his work – plenty of intelligent, witty humour.

IMG_20180105_121534_01Importantly, it gave me a chance to wear a very silly hat, and for that I am eternally happy…and even more importantly than that, I met up with the rather bloody marvellous Alison who, as well as providing me with that extraordinarily modest description of herself, appears to be somewhat fond of hobbits…

Now there is a link here to my roundworld job as an itinerant chilli peddler.  During the Christmas Market in Salisbury, in which I endured the slings and arrows of outrageous weather, I see a lot of people drift by.  A lot.  and so it was one day, whilst I was in the early evening stupour of too many brunch bars and vast amounts of caffeine, I noticed a group of people walk by that were dressed…well, differently.  For a start they weren’t wearing the kind of jacket that the weather required (basically a flattened mattress) and they were somewhat flamboyant.  In fact, one was wearing a gold suit, and a hat with wings.

And that, dear reader, was the giveaway – I can spot a Moist von Lipwig a mile off.  They were Pratchett fans and had been to the exhibition, all in costume and unashamedly willing to wander round Salisbury city centre, running the risk of encounters with ‘the public’.  Now ‘the public’ are all well and good, but when Wayne and Waynetta Lagerdrinker are faced with someone dressed as a wizard it’s often not a meeting of minds, mainly because one party doesn’t possess one.  So chapeau to them, and if you read this, I hope you enjoyed your trip 🙂


‘I ate’nt dead’ could also apply to me so far this year, what with there being a distinct lack of going outdoors happening right now.  I’ve taken the decision to hibernate, albeit briefly.  Events are famously a bit crap in January, and the weather ain’t nice, so I’ve hidden away from the world and am going steadily more and more ghostly pale as the weeks progress.  I’ve been busy booking events…getting a blog or two written…designing even more spreadsheets to get all orgasmic over (ooh, pivot tables)…and the lovely Alison has been keeping my spirits up (ahem).

But I will be back on the road again soon – as soon as February comes round in fact.  And I’m trying out a few vegan festivals this year, which is a bit of a departure from the norm – going to have to brush up on my sales patter a bit, obviously a fair bit of my normal spiel revolves around non-vegan food.  But I’ll adapt, and I’ll just have to remember not to say ‘live long and prosper’…


+++ Divide by cucumber error,  Please reinstall universe and reboot +++


Apparently, yesterday marked the 200th anniversary of the first publication of Mary Shelley’s classic ‘Frankenstein’, a truly groundbreaking piece of literature that’s been subsequently ripped to pieces by Hollywood.  And why is this relevant?  Well, after posting what can best be described as ‘bugger all’ for a long, long time, I now get to say – in my best Colin Clive voice – “It’s aliiiiiiiiive”!!!

Yes, the Hobbit’s still here, I’m still peddling chilli stuff, and I’m marshalling what passes for thoughts for 2018…

…and yes, I’m still slightly furious, all of the time.  It’s a description I’ve nicked from a blogger I still follow (thank you Paul Smith of The Runton Diaries), but it’s definitely appropriate.  It’s been some time since I last broadcast my thoughts on the airwaves, but there’s been little to make me think that the world is any more pleasant, that the future is any rosier, that we are any more secure than when I last spewed forth.  And that, of course, leaves me with a dilemma.

When I originally started this blog it was definitively in support of my business, and nowt else.  It still is, after a fashion.  And as such, it was incorporated into the Wiltshire Chilli Farm’s blog (where I have posted a few times since the last thing I posted here), and that was great.  The trouble is – and this is self-censorship, nothing more – I felt the need to behave, at least a little bit.  I was posting as a business that was not 100% mine, and that made me think twice about saying anything too controversial.  Not that I’m ever likely to of course, I’m far too nice for that, but somewhere in the back of my mind there’s been this little voice saying “can I say that out loud…do the other guys think that way”?  Now at no point has anyone said that I should change what I say, or how I say it, but being the sensible cove that I am, I got a bit more…cautious.

Why am I saying this, I hear you say?  OK maybe not, but I’m going to tell you anyway.  You see, in 2018 I am going to attempt to write two blogs.

I know, I know, couldn’t even keep one going…

So the Chilli Farm will get something sensible, and business related, and vaguely relevant to what we do on a day-to-day basis…well, that’s the plan.

This blog, however, is likely to gravitiate much more towards the feverish outpourings of a deranged hobbit…and trust me, I’ve got VERY deranged since the last time I posted.  A lot of sh*t has happened, and I feel the need to vent, and in some cases, get a bit more up close and personal.  Simply put, there are some things that are relevant to me, and none of my colleagues, so I just want to share what’s in my head.  It’s a kind of therapy, and one that doesn’t involve illegal, or at least immoral, substances.  I could, of course, share my thoughts through the medium of interpretive dance, but anyone that’s ever seen me on a dance floor would soon be alerting the authorities.

So here we are, starting another year, and I’m wondering just how I’m going to f*ck this one up.  I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few days wondering just why I do anything that I do, and how I reconcile what I think I am with what I do for a living.

And I think I’ve come to some kind of realisation.  Basically, you see, I’m a thumping great introvert doing a sporadically good impression of an extrovert.  Or, potentially, it’s the other way round.  It’s an interesting dichotomy.  Some days, I’m all over the ‘being with people’ thing.  Other days, I just want to hide.  And the problem is this; I never know which day is which, until I’ve set sail on that day’s journey.

Now I’ve been doing a bit of light reading about ambiversion, which is basically the extremely logical state of most people – that no-one is completely introverted or extroverted, and can behave as either in given situations.  And it makes perfect sense, and I can see it applies to me.  It just seems to me that I swing wildly from one extreme to the other, especially in times of stress and anxiety.  Is this normal?  I dunno, it’s going to take a bit more research, and thought, and maybe just a little bit more Belgian beer to make it all swim into focus.  But what I know for sure is that getting my thoughts down in a post like this helps me, if only because I’m a frustrated author and I just love writing.

So whilst I feel in need of a little bit of help, you should all pray – to whatever deity you believe in – that this form of therapy works.

Otherwise the interpretive dance is going to happen…

Sometimes it is better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness.
Terry Pratchett