Avatar English Wine

What do dogs know that we don’t?

Spend any time with a dog, as I sometimes am privileged to do, and it’s immediately clear that there is some deeper mystery behind their eyes. There’s something else going on that you just can’t quite name.

Kev used to say the same, I’m sure: after a long day grooming one poodle after another, looking into those glassy eyes at the ever-present enigma of the dog conspiracy would wear him down, piece by piece, paw manicure by paw manicure, and he’d return home a shadow of himself to drink himself to sleep.

I think I’ve found a clue. A few days ago I met Digby while I was heading to the shops. Digby is a small dog. Digby was friendly enough, and he was also wearing a striking fluorescent waistcoat that said “follow me for English Wine”.

I feel like Digby’s indiscreet attire might give us all a clue about what exactly dogs are up to.

Are they operating vineyards? Do they press grapes when nobody is looking? Are they all perhaps members of elite wine clubs, secretly laughing at the unbelievable tastelessness of their owners who they see pairing a Beaujolais with fish? Or perhaps they are ruthless sales hounds, hustling for money here and there, tirelessly shifting units to make a secret doggy living?

Digby went in to a sort of shed, and I didn’t want any English Wine, so I didn’t follow him. I suppose that means we’ll never know.

Avatar No radio

Yesterday at work, we were having a quiet afternoon, so I went off to find something useful to do. I ended up at the workbench in one of our upstairs rooms, where I made myself a coffee and spent a few hours fixing up some old PCs that were sitting around awaiting repair.

My plan had been to listen to the radio while I did this. The workbench has a little audio monitoring panel, with green LEDs bouncing up and down like on your dad’s 80s hi-fi, so I turned up the volume and found it playing Radio 1. There were no other controls.

With some difficulty I traced the cables out of the back and found they disappeared, unlabelled, into a hole in the floor. I went to the audio router at the other end of the room and tried switching stations on anything I could find tuned to Radio 1, but none of them were right.

No problem, I thought. It’s the 21st century. I’ll use my phone. So I opened my TuneIn radio app and selected 6music.

The app informed me that this station wasn’t available in my territory due to geographical restrictions. I looked around to confirm my surroundings, and yes, I was indeed sitting in Broadcasting House where 6music is assembled and broadcast, and my phone was connected to the building wi-fi. It was, therefore, legal to listen to that station in my present geographical territory.

Nothing I did would persuade TuneIn radio of that, though, and my coffee was going cold, and the PCs weren’t getting fixed. Sometimes, even when it’s your job to make the radio work, you can’t make the radio work. So I listened to Absolute 80s instead.

Avatar Banana safari

The modern world is an amazing place. I went to the kitchen a bit hungry, just hoping to peel a banana and let that squishy yellow mush satisfy my snack reflex.

But my banana had other plans. Look at this sticker.

“Visit my farm!” it says. Well, you’re damn right I’m going to visit your farm, Mr Banana. Let’s do this.

Slam those numbers into the Dole website and you can join me on a banana safari. Welcome to farm 10608, the Guapiles 2 Farm in Costa Rica. Here’s some Guapiles Facts.

  • Costa Rica is home to over 100 volcanoes, five of which are still active.
  • The farm meets the ISO 14001 standard for environmental management, relating to waste management and air, water and soil contamination.
  • All plastic waste is collected, sorted and reused or compressed into bales and recycled.
  • The farm’s full official name is “Guapiles 2: This Time It’s Personal”.
  • It’s 6.03pm there right now, and 23 degrees celsius. (This one will vary in accuracy depending on when you read it.)
  • 204 people work here.
  • The farm is in a region called “Limón”, despite growing bananas, not lemons.

So far, so absolutely brilliant. Obviously, the next thing I wanted to learn was the story of the grinning bloke at the top of the page, who obviously loves his life at Guapiles 2. I want to know whether he knows the other 203 people by name, and whether he gets involved in collecting, sorting, reusing or compressing into bales and recycling the farm’s plastic waste. I want to know how he feels about the ISO 14001 certification, and whether he thinks Guapiles 2 is ready for ISO 14002 yet.

We will never know the answers to these questions. It turns out that Pedro – he’s definitely called Pedro – doesn’t work at Guapiles 2. Smash any five digit number into Dole’s palace of lies and there he is, pretending he works at Perla 3 where it’s now 29 degrees celsius, or Zurqui C near Sarapiqui, or one of just 70 people working at the evidently very exclusive San Jose 2.

Pedro has let me down, an agent of Dole, purveyors of fantasies and ruined dreams. I don’t know what to believe any more. It seems crazy that I ever thought you could grow bananas in a place called Lemon. How foolish I have been.

I threw the bananas in the bin, and had a Twix instead.

Avatar Crazy Religos: Who Really Rules The World?

In the second installment of Crazy Religos, I’ve decided to bring you the wonderfully insightful pamphlet, “Who Really Rules the World?” from the Jehovah’s Witnesses. If you didn’t think they were a bit odd for spending time going and bothering folks on their doorstep to talk about their imaginary friends then maybe you’ll be fine with the conculsions in here, but for the rest of us…

Its not who you think…

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Avatar Mrs Miggins is up to no good

Back in April, we learned that Mrs Miggins was redeveloping the heart of her enormous property empire. 75 Farringdon Road, the fine property where either Ian or I fell head over heels in love with the lucrative old crone, had the builders in.

I’ve been back to see what she’s done with the place, and I have to say I’m shocked. Take a look for yourself.

A respectable office building, you think to yourself. A fine example of the tasteful architecture and prime locations that have made Mrs Miggins the property magnate she is today.

I thought so too. But then I noticed something. Have you seen it? Look closer.

There it is. Miggins has handed her shiny new building over to Richard Sisskind of the Crossland Otter Hunt – the only UK hunt that chases otters across land and, presumably, then kills them in horrible ways.

Otters don’t deserve this. Otters are lovely. And I demand to know why Mrs Miggins – once the love of my, or maybe Ian’s, life – has taken on this brutal new pastime.

One thing is for sure. We will not be moving the Pouring Beans office to 75 Farringdon Road. No need to send me those fivers.

Avatar Bean Grab – Jan 2020!

Look everyone, look over there…
Just there, you see that green bit, yeah, just behind that… no left a bit.

Haha, whilst you’re all looking over there I’m sneaking off to Chris’ statistical bean cupboard and pinching one. What are you going to do? You’re off looking at that thing over there.

Got one!

Whats that? You cant see it? Keep looking… Yeah just behind that bush….

Suckers.

Avatar 2020 State of the Beans Address

Good day to you all. Thank you. You’re very kind.

My name is Sergeant-Major Professor Lord Sir Elbert Louche, KBE. It is a great privilege to join you here at Fairburn Ings visitor centre for the sixth annual State of the Beans Address. Please could I request that you do not feed the ducks until the formalities have concluded, and also please don’t feed any of the crispy Peking duck to the ducks. The RSPB are trying to avoid another Mad Cow Disease type incident with their mallards.

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Avatar Seductively readable

I mean, I’m as horrified as you are to discover that something we thought had come directly from Ian’s brain is actually real, so I apologise now for having to make you aware of this, but it has to be done.

Penny Vincenzi!

She’s out there, not just real but actually writing books. Presumably it’s the same publisher as Ian’s, turning out neatly-bound stacks of highly flammable product without regard for literary quality.

I searched the shelves of the bookshop in vain for anything by Sweet Petunia, but now I think about it, I didn’t check the gardening or self-help sections.

Please can we all be on the lookout so we know what we’re dealing with here. If characters from Ian’s brain are now real and writing books, there’s no telling where this will end.