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