Under the bloody snow, that’s where they are. What’s with the weather? It’s been a thoroughly indifferent start to the trading season – a number of days lost at events to levels of mud normally seen at Glastonbury, very few of those lovely spring days, and not much warmth at all. And today we’re dodging snow and hail showers! I blame the BBC and their portentous forecasts – Carol Kirkwood, with her occluded front and cheeky smirk, telling us all that it’s all gusty winds and wintry showers.
So why does this matter? Well, it’s high time we were putting our crop plants out into the tunnels where they belong. They’re been happily growing for a little while now, all nicely potted and toasty on heated mats, but there comes a time in every chilli palnt’s life where they must be unceremoniously hauled from their cosy pot home and thrust into the soil, or possibly this year, a bigger pot. Yes folks, we’ve invested in the advanced technology of autopots with a view to increased yields, better control and – this is the most important bit – not having to do as much work next year in preparing tunnels. See, we do plan ahead! Even as I type, industrious types are thrusting plants groundwards…
On the event front we have a couple of new guys trading for us this summer…well, new-ish, as they’ve both done the occasional event before. Both Pete and Orry have significant baggage to carry round with them – Pete is a friend of Bond, and Orry is related to Jamie – but let’s hope that doesn’t get in the way of them inflicting Slayer-based pain on the chilli cognoscenti of the UK. Both have started markets with mixed success (it’s a time of the year when making a decent profit is aspirational rather than expectational) but you will see them out and around the country this summer.
With the pair of them on board there is the potential to be in ten or more locations each weekend, so we’re having to coordinate things a bit more these days. We’re even considering launching into oversaeas festivals, but of course the logistics and costs of that are quite alarming…but it might just have to be done. Watch this space!
I’ve been spending quite a lot of my time over the last few weeks helping Kerry at PinkBox Boutique with her new headquarters, a fabulous barn conversion in Coate, near Devizes. I have a vested interest as not only am I a director of her business, but she sells a hell of a lot of our stuff as well. You’ll find her and her partner Chris in Swindon on Sundays, as well as events around the country like the rest of us. Her new HQ is a great place to spend time – although I hope she doesn’t decide to expand again any time soon as we’re all sick to the back teeth of painting…and painting…and painting. The HQ was opened by the local MP last Friday morning, and we were there until midnight on Thursday putting the finishing touches on things. How we all got it ready in time I’ll never know, but it’s a testament to what can be achieved when you set youself a stupid target and then ignore all those alarm bells that keep ringing to tell you that you’re running out of time!
I’ve experienced one of those horrendous first-world problems this week. You know, the sort of thing that sends you into fits of rage although in reality it’s just not that important. You see folks – my laptop died. Now this is of course a real problem as far as my work is concerned – I need constant access to t’interweb, I track my business on a bewildering array of Excel spreadsheets, and of course e-mails are everywhere and using a phone to do this sort of thing just doesn’t hack it. But, in the grand scheme of things – when you hear about things like refugee crises, earthquakes, the Zika virus, and for heaven’s sake the terrifying prospect of Donald Trump merely continuing to exist – it just pales into insignificance. Getty angry simply because I’m having trouble recovering my iTunes library seems somewhat churlish. And of course the fact that I’m able to write this post shows that I have recovered enough data from my old laptop to set up it’s hastily-bought replacement OK.
One great, but slightly scary, piece of news is that I have my spot reserved at Salisbury Christmas Market once again. It’s something I look forward to each year now with equal doses of eager anticipation and utter fear. Costa Coffee’s takings will rise exponentially as I subsist almost entirely on double espressos and sugary snacks…a decent night’s sleep will be a distant memory…and hopefully the Salisbury Christmas Market Bewildered Traders Association will reform for moral support and ritual abuse…but it’ll be a laugh.
But before then – summer! Although spring would be a nice start…