Category Archives: Cricket

The wrong type of sun

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The first GiD victim of the day

Do you remember last week I said that the collective noun for a group of traders was a grumble?  Well, we’re still grumbling.  You see, the problem is this.  After all the wind and rain over the winter and spring, the weather now is just too damned nice.  Everyone’s gone to the seaside I reckon, so at least the ice cream sellers and seagulls must be doing a roaring trade.  It seems that us trading types are just not as big a draw as we’d like, not when we’re fighting against the Great British propensity to rush lemming-like for the coast when we get a crack in the clouds.  To be fair, if I wasn’t working I’d be right there with them, so I fully understand.  Just damned irritating.

Right, that’s enough of my whinging, what else has been going on?  Well of course we’re out of the World Cup, though somehow that seems to be a shock to the tabloids.  Let’s examine the facts:

  1. England were in a difficult group containing three former winners of the World Cup including themselves
  2. Both of the other former winners are higher in the FIFA rankings than us
  3. We’re a team in transition so expectations were maybe just a tad high
  4. Apart from 1966 (and a couple of gallant efforts since then) our World Cup record isn’t great
  5. We’re just a bit rubbish

KniggitsSo how it comes as a surprise that we are out already, when we’ve played and lost to two teams in the top 10 of the rankings (we’re #11 at time of writing), frankly baffles me.  Now I’m used to the blinkered patriotic fervour/rampant xenophobia that comes around during big tournaments, but the soul-searching and knife-sharpening going on right now is nothing short of ridiculous.  We’re not good enough, we have rarely been good enough, and with the Premier League calling all the shots and breeding footballers that play for money rather than pride, we will never be good enough.

Did I say I’d stopped whinging?  I may have fibbed a bit there.

Wimbledon has started today, and our great hope Andy Murray has negotiated the first round successfully.  I’m not sure if he’s capable of mounting a defence – his form having slipped since last year – but I hope he does.  He may come across as miserable, intense and humourless, but he is undeniably a damned fine user of a tennis bat and from what I’ve seen from interviews and chat shows he seems pretty unpretentious and dedicated to his sport.  That kind of driven approach to being the best often leads to accusations of single-mindedness and humourlessness – but sometimes the best are the most driven.  It takes someone Flagtruly extraordinary to be implausibly nice and brilliant.

It does occur to me though that if Scotland votes for independence in September, as Mr Murray would surely advocate, does that mean that the long wait for a British winner gets reinstated?  😀

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Dolly from Raising The Baa

So back to the wonderful world of chillies.  It continues to be extraordinarily busy – even if events are unpredictable.  The week in numbers:

1 – new wholesale customers (welcome to No 12 Easton in Bristol)

1 – number of Olympic gold medallists at this weekends events

2 – horns on one visitor to the stall last Thursday.  Hello, Dolly!

3 – words I have tried to keep out of the post after visiting the Cotswolds (bucolic, picturesque and quintessential, since you ask)

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Kingham, land of spiders

6 – legs on most of the wildlife paying a visit to the stall over the weekend.  Ants!

8 – legs on the rest of the wildlife paying a visit to the stall over the weekend.

30 – factor sunblock I really should been wearing this weekend.

83 – units of Naga Chilli Salt forged from the Crack of Doom last Wednesday

2 million – Scoville units of one of our new products

3.2 million – Scoville Units of the other new product, just in case the other one’s not loopy enough

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Between days spent cooking, trading, delivering and catching up with paperwork there’s barely enough time to do the shopping.  I appear to be on the J-Plan diet – all junk, all the time.  I have been to the shops today and have purchased something called ‘fruit’.  It’s all the rage in the chattering classes, I thought I’d give it a go.  I presume you deep fry it?

One ‘joy’ that I had during my regular day at the Farm last week was to make Naga Chilli Salt.  Now this stuff is a lovely, fiery seasoning when safely caged in its grinder, but none of us are rushing to the front of the queue to make it.  All of the grinders tend to get a bit atmospheric during production and, unless you dress up like Jesse & Walt from Breaking Bad, you end up sneezing like a plague victim with hay fever.  The Naga Salt, being the hottest of the lot, is the scariest – and of course if you get it in your eye you feel like you’ve gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson.  Still, I’ve done my bit for now – someone else’s turn next time!

Just to show you how my mind works (OK, OK…) here’s a little snippet from the weekend.  At the Lockeridge Fun Day there was a stand with some fabulous birds of prey on display.  As is my wont I got to the event quite early, and was busy setting up when I heard one of the organisers tell another that ‘the hawk man has arrived’.  I immediately expected to look up and see Brian Blessed, but no.  I suppose after spotting David Hemery earlier (young people – go look him up on t’interweb) I should have been satisfied with my celeb-spotting for the day.

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So where are we this weekend?  I realise that I’ve a bit behind on my events page, so I’ll do some surgery on that this week if I can.  Friday will see me at Lechlade Garden Centre, for another go at their Friday Food Fayre.  This has been a very slow market so far, but the organisers have moved the pitches to right by the front door this time to see if that helps.  I hope it does, Lechlade’s a lovely place and I’d like to see it work.

Saturday I’m on my travels again – Berkshire this time, to Reading and the Good Food event at the Hexagon.  Sunday will see me at the Swindon Dragon Boat Race at Coate Water, where the big question is of course will King Gazebo finally meet up with Princess Pinkbox?

Other venues for our intrepid chilli bods will be Bath, Upton on Severn, Oxford and Birmingham (Friday); Bath, Calne, Pembrokeshire, Newbury and Upton on Severn (Saturday); Bath, Newbury, Oxford and Swindon Designer Outlet (Sunday).  Unfortunately due to our inability to perfect a cloning machine I will not be at my regular markets at Royal Wootton Bassett on Saturday and Bradford on Avon on Sunday.  We really are spread a bit thin at the moment (first time for everything where I’m concerned, I hear you all cry).

If anyone from either RWB or BoA needs anything desperately let me know, I’ll see what I can do to drop it round – I’m often on my travels and can swing by with an emergency delivery 🙂

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They’re coming…

And with that, it’s time to wrap up for the this post.  I’ve been watching Sri Lanka dismantle England’s batting whilst writing this, so if any naughty words have crept in I apologise.  It makes me think that my season’s batting average of 1 (I counted twice, just to make sure) makes me suitably qualified for a late call-up for the next test series.

I’m off for a little cry now.  It got a whole lot worse since I started that paragraph 😦

 

As a parting farewell, it’s a fond farewell and RIP to Nursey from Blackadder (actress Patsy Byrne) and Shaggy from Scooby Doo (DJ and voice artist Casey Kasem).   Zoinks!

Till next week…

Oh well…who wants to live forever?

Dive!!!

 

Whippersnappers

Welcome once again to the increasingly loopy world of The Chilli Hobbit, a planet that just seems to let more loonies in by the day.

20140523_152217So what’s occurring, I hear you ask in a bad Welsh accent?  Well, first and foremost comes another nail in the coffin of my attempts to pretend to be young and vibrant – my eldest Harriet is to become a Mum again, giving me a second grandchild somewhen in December.  I’m not old, I’m not old, I’m not old…

It’s really lovely actually, and myself, Pink Chilli Hobbit and Aunt Jemima are all really delighted – and as you can see from the photo little Gracie is looking forward to being a big sister!

This is an auspicious week for all of us Kevins.  For those of you that don’t know, June 3rd is St Kevin’s Day.  No, I’m not making this up.  Here’s the opening lines from a song about him:

St Kevin    In Glendalough there lived an auld saint,

    renowned for his learning and piety,

    his manners were curious and quaint

    and he looked upon girls with disparity

It seems that our Kev was a bit of an ascetic (which I always thought had something to do with vinegar), but it means that he abstained from ‘worldly pleasures’.  At one point is he is reputed to have drowned a woman who tried to seduce him, which seems a tad harsh.  He lived his life fasting and praying, so as you can see there’s not a great deal of similarity apart from the name…although an absence of worldly pleasures is regrettably familiar 😡

It’s been a funny old weekend on the chilli front.  I was at Temple Quay Market on Thursday, and as I know very well from my days working there for IBM, half-term week is very quiet and this was reflected in the sales.  Friday was spent in Lechlade Garden Centre for their Friday Food Fayre.  This was only the second one to be held this year, the first one at the end of April being held in rain so heavy it was what Sir Terry Pratchett would have called ‘an upright sea with slots in it’.  Again it was very quiet, but the relentlessly chirpy and helpful Laura who runs the event has pulled a bit of a flanker by getting us a new spot right outside the front door of the Garden Centre next month, so we’ll give it another go before passing judgement.

Saturday was spent…wait for it…not working.  I spotted that there was likely to be an outbreak of 5th Saturday Syndrome a while back…the upshot of which is that there aren’t many regular markets running that day.  My usual ‘last Saturday of the month’ market is Royal Wootton Basset, but in fact that runs on the 4th Saturday, which is of course most often the last Saturday as well – but not in May.  So the calendar had a blank day in it, and I didn’t look too hard for a 20140531_165113replacement event as I thought it would be nice to support my old cricket team (Potterne 4th XI) and go and do a spot of umpiring.  As it happens I was elevated to the starting XI, and took my place as number 11 batsman (1 run scored, run out by a furlong on the last ball of the innings by an overenthusiastic whippersnapper trying to steal a bye to the keeper.  He’s a third of my age.  He made it.  I didn’t try.  I know my limits).  I was, however, asked to turn my trusty arm over to deliver the usual slow-to-dribbly annoying induckers, which I was more than happy to do.  Six overs, an awful lot of creaking, a fair bit of swearing and two wickets later I proclaimed ‘job done’.  In fact I took the last two wickets of the innings in consecutive deliveries, so I will be on a hat-trick the next time I bowl.  That could be in 2015…possibly the longest hat-trick attempt in the clubs history.  I’ll keep you updated on the outcome 🙂

20140601_134407Sunday it was back to the stall, in Frome’s lovely Independent Market.  I’m constantly impressed by how superbly the town transforms itself into a delightful place to bimble about in – attendance is always good, and even though this month was pretty quiet for me sales-wise, it’s still nice to see so many people out and about.  The market coincided with the Frome Steampunk Extravaganza, where there’s always a photo opportunity or two…

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20140601_135330The highlight of the weekend was yours truly being soundly, comprehensively and rather noisily upstaged by the extremely precocious Charlotte, who, fresh from a successful career on the cake stall opposite took it upon herself to take over my pitch and try to sell chilli sauce.  She’s not backward in coming forward, I can tell you that, there’s definitely a hint of costermonger in the bloodline somewhere.  It was actually really nice to see someone having a bit of fun, she picked up the patter with remarkable ease and will definitely have a career in sales, I’m sure of that!  If you ever meet her in later life keep your hands on your wallet – she’ll have every last note out of it 🙂

So last week was a biggie for the Farm, Jamie being at the Royal Bath & West Show.  I get my turn at a monster show this week, I’ll be off to the Royal Cornwall Show with my glamorous assistant the Pink Chili Hobbit (am I allowed to say that, now that we’re not together?  Oh well, just have 🙂 ).  Visitor numbers should be up in the billions, and frankly I’m more than a little nervous, so if you see me there please be nice.  I’ll try not to make a berk out of myself, especially if the stall gets a visit from royalty…though it might be funny to get the Countess of Wessex to try God Slayer just to see what happens.  I’ve never been to the Tower of London, I hear the dungeons are just lovely this time of year…

20140601_093633My usual spots in Temple Quay, Tidworth and Devizes will all be covered this week so fear not people, you can still get your fix.  We’ll also be out and about in Bexley Heath, Clapham Common, Shaftesbury, Oxford, Swindon, Bath, Chippenham and Ogbourne Downs.  No rest for the wicked, apparently.

That just about wraps it up for today, I’ll leave you with the rather surprised looking lady on the right, spotted in Frome on Sunday.  I’m not sure what she was laughing at, but I did have my trousers on at the time so it can’t be that.

Hugs and happiness ’til we meet again post-Kernow.

Truth, Justice, Freedom, Reasonably-Priced Love and a Hard-Boiled Egg!

 

Gums are burning

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Nice weather for them

How can we dance when our stomach’s churning
How do we sleep while our gums are burning

(With apologies to Midnight Oil and their fantastic song ‘Beds Are Burning’, which they played at the Sydney Olympics closing ceremony)

Before I explain the inclusion of the rather mangled politically-inclined lyrics above, let’s start this week with some fantastic news.  Jamie from The Wiltshire Chili Farm entered four products into this years Taste of the West awards, and has come away with three golds and one silver award:

TOTW Gold Award 2014

Chipotle Chilli Salt – Gold

Lemon Chilli Pepper – Gold

Fireside – Gold

TOTW Silver 2014

Chipotle Chilli Sauce – Silver

Anyone that’s tasted these will not be surprised – all four are fantastic products that I just love selling at events, especially the Chipotle Chilli Salt – the roast spud’s best friend!  Congratulations to Jamie on the well-deserved accolades.

OK, on to the lyrics.  Well, this weekend just gone has seen me selling our hottest ever sauce – God Slayer.  This ferocious little number was hatched by Jamie and Bond a couple of weeks back when I was unfortunate enough to be working at the Farm and hence available for taste tests.  The words that sprang to mind (the printable ones, anyway) were ‘incendiary’, ‘malevolent’ and most importantly ‘why’?  It tastes fantastic but damn nearly warps holes in space-time.  Plenty of people sampled it over the weekend’s events, with the best comment coming from fellow trader Claire from Hive Originals (check ’em out, they’re great) who claimed some time after tasting that her tongue, lips and even gums were still burning.  That just makes me think we need to try harder, we want to get teeth to hurt…

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Salisbury St Georges Day stalls in Guildhall Square

No exciting tales of criminality to report this week.  Rather it was another weekend of the very British hobby of moaning about the weather.  I tried out Lechlade Garden Centre’s Friday Food Fayre (I’ll leave you to work out when) and left, after three hours of attempted trading, with a tide mark that soaked up the legs of my jeans to mid-thigh height.  Now I can hear you saying ‘that’s not very far on you’, but I do believe that if I’d have toughed it out till the end I would have drowned thanks to the capillary properties of my own clothes.  Unpleasant though it was I shall be back next month, new event organiser Laura is very keen to make it work so I’ll give it another go, and do a little anti-rain dance beforehand.

Saturday saw a regular trip to Royal Wootton Bassett, which was blowy but somehow stayed dry.  Another unspectacular trading day but God Slayer saw it’s first proper outing with me, and drew it’s first public expletives.  The wind played havoc with packing up at close of play, and I’m so thankful I invested in a sturdy bugger of a gazebo…it was a big expense at the time but is worth it in April weather.

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Jingle jingle jingle bloody jingle

On Sunday I was in Salisbury at the St Georges Day celebrations.  Lots of bunting, medieval jesters on stilts (as if I don’t feel short enough already), songs and plays, and – bloody hell – Morris dancers right in front of my pitch.  Now don’t get me wrong…there’s nothing I don’t like more than a bit of tradition…but the sounds of jingling bells all day is enough to give a man nightmares.  I can still hear them, jingling, jingling…

Having said that it was a nice event – plenty of people around celebrating the day of our favourite sainted Turkish lizard-botherer, the weather played ball during the event itself, and I managed to inflict God Slayer on quite a few customers with generally hilarious results.

So what’s on the menu for this week?  Well, it’s a busy old time I can tell you.  I’ve already spent some time at the Farm bottling loads of Chipotle Sauce, Hellmouth and Sweet Chilli…having a paperwork day today (such fun) and there’s a rumour of the press visiting the Farm tomorrow.  I’ve had my hair cut just in case.

The weekend coming is mega busy – starting on Thursday I will be at Bristol Temple Quay, Tidworth, Devizes, Frome Independent and Wanborough May Day Fayre.  Pink Chilli Hobbit will be at the ss Great Britain in Bristol on Saturday and Marlborough on Sunday.

On top of that little lot we’ll also be in Oxford, Reading, Swindon, Bath and at Eastnor Chilli Festival.  Phew.

Advance notice for any Frome-ites out there – we won’t be at the Farmers Market at the Cheese & Grain in May, due to having more bookings than I can handle!  If you need your chilli fix then come and see me on Sunday instead 🙂

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Am I obsessed by chillies?  Take a look at the shower gel I bought today and make up your own mind.

Seriously, how could I resist?

 

This weekend will see the start of the cricket season for me.  I’ve not touched a bat or ball since last August, but I’m hoping that my magnificent athletic prowess will enable me to wobble up to the crease and deliver my slow to even slower in-duckers with customary accuracy.  I’ve been saying for some time that once I lose the uncanny knack of bowling line and length I’ll give up and play golf instead, but I’m hoping that won’t be the case yet.  I still enjoy playing for my club Potterne and even though I’ll manage less games this year because of work, I’ll still support them when I can get there.

Well that just about wraps it up for this post.  Needless to say, I hope you have a good week and we’ll see you at the weekend!

PS I’ve just noticed that the bar of chocolate I’m currently munching has the words ‘easy reclose pack’ on it.  How does that work?