I know you’ve been waiting for it, so here is the latest news from this month’s Bordon and Whitehill Parish Council Newsletter.
‘The Bordon Pig’, who is called Holly, escaped from Hollybrook Mobile Farm on 3 January 2021. 100s of hours have been spent by a small dedicated team from the community, led by Cllr. Tina Strickland and William Dadley, to ensure her safe return to her family and friends. After 52 days being at large she is now home safe and sound. Thank you to all those who assisted in returning her home.
Unfortunately we still don’t know how a “mobile farm” can possibly exist, but we’ll bring you more news on that when we have it.
What you sometimes forget about your car is that, as well as a whole universe of complicated machinery and electronics, one of the things it needs in order to work properly is air. Your tyres are designed to imprison the right amount of air in exactly the place it’s required. I advise you to do your best to keep it there, and I will tell you why.
Gather round children for I have a story to tell you.
The ratio of men to women is currently around 1:10 in my office. We used to have two gents toilets but it was decided to turn the smaller one into a ladies, for obvious reasons. The remaining gents toilet is umm quaint but not perfect: the light takes around 10 seconds to turn on (not ideal when you’re busting for a whizz wazz wongle), the hot water tap doesn’t work so they had to get an extra one with a heated unit and the dryer is so poor that it’d be quicker to blow on your hands yourself.
Due to the hand dryer being as effective as a car made of wet cheese, I started putting paper towels in the gents so that we had options. There was a small bundle stacked on top of the dryer and a spare lot in the (broken) cupboard above the urinal. I had started doing this before the Bovona virus took hold and every so often the same thing would happen; the paper towels would vanish completely. There one day and gone the next. I thought it was the cleaners moving them or something else. Baffled but thoroughly British, I said nothing and merely replaced the towels. This happened at least half a dozen times over a period of about twelve months.
When I came back from furlough, mainly working from the office, I did the same for what few men remained in the building. To my astonishment the same thing kept happening; a few weeks would pass and the half-used stack of paper towels would be gone with no explanation. I finally decided to do something about this so I mentioned it to the office manager, who was just as puzzled as I was. There was absolutely no reason for anyone to remove the towels. She said that she would mention it to the cleaners and get back to me.
The next day I entered the gents to put my contact lenses and smiled as there was a newly opened pack of paper towels waiting to dry my moistened paws. After putting the lenses in I walked over to the office manager’s office and thanked her for sorting it out. She looked confused, “sorted what out?” I mentioned the towels. “I haven’t spoken to the cleaners about it yet though.”
I asked if she was winding me up, an elaborate prank which I had completely fallen for. Given how grim the world is right now anything light-hearted is very welcome, even at my expense. She swore that she knew nothing about it. There was nobody else in the room when I asked her about it the day before. The towels re-appeared out of nowhere.
There is talk of a ghost who haunts the office at night. Colleagues working late have mentioned hearing noises and bumps after dark. The building is over a hundred years old so it has gone the rounds, so to speak. Do I think that a ghost is playing a trick on me? Do I think that this spectre is yanking my chain by throwing away paper towels?
I don’t have a foggy froggy fog fog fogey Phileas Fogg the foggiest idea.
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.
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.
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.
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…