Friday, 26 February 2010

Man-Flu: The Silent Killer...of Manly Men!

Yes, as you may have guessed by the title, I have the sniffles.

To be more precise, I have a sore throat and a clogged up nose.

Man Flu!

It was probably the real reason Custer fell. Not the Native Americans, but a bad bout of Man Flu.

I do feel horrible, though. I seem to have gone from being in pain from poke-stabbey-slashy to now being reduced to a puddle of phlegm thanks to this.

Almapaprika, as could be expected, is showing the same maternal insticts of a mother praying mantis (lunch?).

But I do love her so...(she copes admirably with my manly whyning...what more can I ask for?)

This grey, cold, and rainy morning on my walk to work I was greeted by that most picturesque of images that depict this town:

A dunken hobo crossing the street towards me whilst nonchallantly throwing up.

Yes, you just don't get this sort of stuff back home (we got the occasional crackhead who attempted to stop traffic whilst stark naked and in the middle of whigging out.).

I felt immediately nauseous as the milky, chunky liquid spewed forth from his bearded facade (he must be a HARD HOBO! The type that outdrinks elves!)

As I sit here at home, waiting for the handyman to come take a look at our washer/drier (never the two should meet, in my opinion. One uses water, the other doesn't. Simple as that.), I shall update a few photos of the hydroponics chilli. Mind you, said handyman was supposed to arrive at 1:30pm, and it is now 3:15pm, but the landlord assures me he shall be here before 4:00pm.

Anywho, here's a couple of pics of the Little Elf (finally got the blasted name right) seedling:


The Second photo is interesting. All the Rocket died (as can be seen on the other photos. But I have since cleaned the mess), so this little fella could only be the Culantro, which I am crossing my fingers it is.

I have also added today two more seeds to the hydroponics kit:

1 Cayenne Ring of Fire
1 Belpicen

I put the Cayenne Ring of Fire because it's a very fast grower, and the pods are nice and hot. The Belpicen I put just to see what happens. That would make it three plants (possibly) in the hydroponics, since the stem cutting of the Orange Habanero kicked the bucket.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Que le Den Candela!

I feel so horrible right now...


Curse me for thinking my body is still a decade younger than what it really is! (although a decade ago I was actually in worse physical shape, so...)

My quadriceps feel like the muscles themselves are constantly being rubbed with Naga Morich juice while being mercilessly struck by the paddles of drunken frat bro's in some sadistic initiation ritual. My back feels like a very fragile and cheap piece of porcelain being balanced on a pinhead.

We've got kiddies visiting the workplace, and every time I have to de-power the gates to let them through (an act which requires me crouching down to reach the master power switch) or to let them out puts me in a world of pain. It's a fantastic and completely pointless visit on the part of the kiddies, many of whom have libraries on their own schools with similar resources.

But then again, PR is PR, I guess (unless the Prime Minister unleashes 'The Forces from Hell' on you. Here I thought the smell of sulphur was caused by sewage. How wrong I was to think so naively...)

Asides from that throbbing pain my abs received a workout at the pokey-stabbey-slashy practice the likes of which they had not received in a year, so every time I sneeze or my stomach does anything, I feel amazingly unwell.

Add a headache, and you have what my darling Almpapaprika would call:

Absolute Rubbish.

I was amazingly fortunate to have been raised in a household with a physician, which meant every time I got ill, or felt ill, if there wasn't blood pouring out of my eyes, or at least one major internal organ protruding from a previously non-existent bodily orifice I was fine.

And now I've chosen as a partner another person of the medical profession.

With the exact same outlook regarding my health.


I almost forgot to mention (what with the usual daily diatribe):


Hazzah! They have finally done one right! (having just committed this to print, there will probably some catastrophic failure of another aspect of the building tomorrow morning).

As soon as I found out I rushed home and got some more seedlings to bring over, in an effort to get things back on track. I moved:

1x Aji Umba Red
1x Trinidad Scorpion
2x Ring of Fire Cayenne
1x Thai Dragon

I've got a few more to move about in the next few days. Now the windowsills at the office will provide a good 10 hours of light minimum (plus the lights from the office), as well as a constant temperature (from both solar radiation and the radiators a few inches from the pots), which should get this party started.

I have lost one Habanero Mustard (legginess + tumbling = broken stem), and the Almapaprika seedling and another Ring of Fire seem to be suffering from burns (through what is burning them I have no idea).

Oooh!, I nearly also forgot! Both Strawberry Guavas have germinated! It took them about 30 days, and it has been painfully slow, but they are both out! :-)

I wish I was in bed...

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Everyone should have Facial Hair

And by that I mean all men. Facial hair gives us a sort of paradoxical 'sophisticated manly-ness' that the clean shaven bloke just doesn't have.

It exudes a kind of self-confidence perhaps only seen in Lord of the Rings. I mean, for all the acrobatics of Legolass, he is nothing more than a poncy, pointy-eared gymnast (all male gymnasts should have thick, Kenny Rogers or Michael McDonald beards). We all know the bare-knuckle-butt-kickers are Aragorn (stubble), Boromir (hard stubble), Faramir (whimpy stubble, and look where that lands him), Eomer (beard), Saruman (beard).

All the Orcs, Goblins, and Uruks are clean shaven...clear sign of 'soon to be defeated' syndrome.

I went pokey-stabbey-slashy last night for the first time in nearly a year. As was to be expected, the Bulgarian coach decided to do his usual 'East European' training regime, which is both fun and exceedingly tiring (more so if you've done no physical activity in months). As could have been expected, in my profligate exuberance I decided to go head-first and full-out into the training.

I could barely walk back home. It was a very painful 20 minute walk. I sweated the whole night as my body writhed in pain.

I still feel as though someone grabbed a pair of blunt surgical instruments and, without the use of anaesthesia, decided to tighten every muscle and ligament from my pelvis down.

But I did win 5 out of 6 bouts for the evening, including a whitewash on someone whom I thought was going to paste me, so this old, average dog still has a few tricks up his sleeve.

I am growing more and more depressed as the growing season moves on and I see more and more photos on forum. I'm dealing with the leggiest seedlings this side of a Paris fashion show all because of lack of light, and I really can't afford at this time to buy lots of lights for the plants.

I may have devised a plan to take care of this using my improvised greenhouses, some Christmas/fairy lights, and kitchen foil.

But we shall have to wait and see.

In the meantime, Aji Chombo Sad!


Aji Chombo in deep physical pain caused by his own stupidity...

...but he did get that whitewash (worth...every...moment...of...pain)

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Blast it's cold here!

It is ridiculously cold at work right now.

And this is WITH all the new fangled radiators, red light district looking element heaters, garden heaters and heat curtains installed.

Not to mention change the settings to the automatic doors so that now at least once a day, a 'patron' slams head first into them because they simply don't open.

Had they done what has been suggested a million (and by virtue of it being put here, a million and ONE) times and just changed the entrance to a rotating door, this might not be an issue winter in/winter out.

It might even keep in the RESIDUAL HEAT and warm the rest of the building deprived of heating thanks to yet another radiator 'malfunction'.


I should look at the bright side, though.

I will never be accused of sweating too much at work.

No sir!

I just left the desk for two seconds, and a co-worker has just got to my computer to clock in...AAAAARGH! Worse part is I was in the middle of using it (no, not for blogging. I was dealing with a patron. These entries take me easily hours to make) to deal with a particular case, which absolutely cheeses me off. It's not the use of my PC that bothers me, it's the crass and disrespectful manner in which some co-workers simply take common manners for granted.

I don't walk up to their computers WITHOUT their approval to clock in, yet my station PC is used like the town trollop! I don't mind when people ask, specially if there's not much going on in my station, but there is a flippin' communal clock in screen ten feet away!

How many duck-pooping seconds does it take you to walk over and clock in there?!

Heck, I use that screen about as often as I use my PC, simply because it is more convenient and because I tend not to BE an inconvenience by using it.


I was going to make the intro short and without outbursts...

So much for that idea.

Now I'll be grumpy for the afternoon.

I brought some seedlings to work today, in the vain hopes that I might be able to trade light for heat with them. I will put photos of their 'self contained enclosures' (Plastic soda bottles) for show.

I moved the following:

1x Barrackpore 7-pod
1x Madame Jeannette
1x Trinidad Scorpion
1x Mustard Habanero
1x Aji Limo Rojo (no link to this one, unfortunately, as doesn't have much data on the chinense var.)

I am really hoping the extra light (not necessarily sunshine, just extra light) will make up for the heat deficiencies.

Temperatures are supposed to stay at between 0C and 5C for the next 5 days.


But wait!

What is this?

Repairmen looking at the heating!

(Cautiously optimistic now...very, VERY cautiously optimistic).

Monday, 22 February 2010

Cerveza, Pokey-Stabbey, and Ajies

This entry might test my abilities to write in Spanglish, a much maligned language (considered not a language at all by some) utilized by many second, third and fourth generation Hispanic Americans in the US.

I do consider it a bit of an aberration, since you should be able to comunicate your ideas and thoughts clearly and succinctly in one single coherent language.

Pero el Spanglish, el cual en realidad deberia ser llamado 'Espanglish' si vamos a hacer la cosas de la manera debida, es la clase de fenomeno que me fascina (y al cual blogspot no le puede corregir la ortografia ni la gramatica. Quizas en un futuro cercano la gente de Google, Microsoft y Apple crearan programas en 'Espanglish').

Typically, Espanglish would be much more mish-mash than this, since I could start a sentence in Spanish, halfway through it add some words in English, and revert to Spanish before finishing, or vice-versa.

All making perfect gramatical sense, if you can imagine.

En fin, es mejor que hable un poco de cosas mas interesantes, ya que se que la mayoria de las personas leyendo este blog ya han perdido interes.

El fin de semana empezo de manera...interesante. Almapaprika y yo (y un grupo de amigos) fuimos a un 'Festival de la Cerveza', en la cripta de una de las catedrales locales. Yo encontre el concepto un poco...hypocrita no es la palabra debida...

...ironico, quizas.

Alli estabamos un grupo de personas, dentro de una catedral Cristiana en Europa probando y tomando mas de 100 variedades de cervezas, cidras y vinos, ademas de comidas artesanales tipicas del Reino Unido (pasteles, empanadas o 'pasties', etc.)...

...en el primer Viernes de Quaresma.

Go figure.

But all in all, the evening was quite an enjoyable one. We drank some beer in the form of Ales, Stouts and Bitters (Almapaprika was just coming of a week working nights, so she could only get through three half-pint glasses), we drank some Perry (a delicious one called 'Two trees'. Laughable Fellow, I won't try to spell it in it's native Welsh, just so I don't end up insulting grannies. For those of you who do not know, Perry is a fermented pear drink similar to, but not, Cider), and drank some Cherry wine. Plus we scored some extra glasses (you are given one half pint glass with your admission ticket) of the 30th anniversary of said Beer Festival.

The following morning I went to see some friends attend a 'pokey-stabbey-slashy' competition. Those of you who know me will know what I'm talking about. For those of you not indoctrinated in this discipline, I shall elucidate:

Pokey-Stabbey-Slashy is a sport that involves three distinct weapons:

1-The Pokey-Pokey: The more 'artistic' of the three weapons (used mostly by people referred to by the other two weapons specialists as 'namby-pamby', though I have seem quite a few individuals in this weapon I would never call that for fear of having my spleen removed).

2-The Pokey-Stabbey: The more 'realistic' of the three weapons (people who specialize in 'Pokey-Stabbey' are often labelled 'Slow', because we like to use our brains...go figure).

3-The Pokey-Stabey-Slashy: The more 'Pain-causing' of the three. Usually practiced by people who like to listen to death metal (no, not Finnish people, although some of them do practice this weapon).

I was a decent Pokey-Pokey and I could do PSS, but generally only if in an emergency situation (always got my rear end handed to me).

It was nice to see people I hadn't seen in a while, although it was a bit of torture for me, as I looked at all the people poking and stabbing and slashing saying 'I can do that (and the more brazen 'I can beat him...he's not so tough.').

One of my friends even won a bronze in Pokey-Stabbey!

She is particularly deadly at keeping her arm extended and poking and stabbing the wrists of her opponents with her Pokey-Stabbey stick.

Los ajies me mantuvieron un poco preocupados el fin de semana. Debo admitir que el que en mejor estado esta es el Elf Chilli, el cual esta en el sistema hidroponico (por lo menos asi creo que se dice en Español), y el cual recibe unas buenas 6 horas diarias de luz gracias a la lampara que le puesto directamente arriba. La semilla fue plantada una semana mas tarde que el resto de los ajies, pero se ve mas grande, verde, mas vigorosa y esta empezando a mostrar el segundo set de hojas (las hojas verdaderas), cosa que ninguno de los otros ajies esta demostrando. Definitivamente es un punto a favor del sistema hidroponico, aunque todas las plantitas de rúcula (o arúgula) plantadas en el mismo sistema ya se han muerto, lo que no me llena de optimismo. Aun asi, el hecho de que por lo menos hay una planta todavia viva y saludable en el sistema hidroponico es algo para celebrar.

Los ajies en la oficina van bien. El Datil aparenta estar acostumbrandose a su nuevo hogar, con nuevas hojas empezando a salir. El tronco principal del Naga Morich esta empezando a mostrar señales de brotes vegetativos nuevos, lo cual es fantastico ya que solamante tenia una pequeña rama con un par de hojas. El resto estan en el mismo estado de antes, lo cual me mantiene preocupado, pero en fin. Todavia no las he podado como habia prometido. Una de las plantitas de Saril murio (la que tenia el brote de hongos), pero la otra se ve saludable. Dos de los maizes Morados han muerto tambien, sin duda a causa de las bajas temperaturas de la ultima semana (nevo el Domingo nuevamente).

See, writing in Espanglish is not that diffucult.


If only understanding it was just as easy...

Friday, 19 February 2010

A Book arrived in the post today...

I just got a copy in the post today of 'The Complete Chile Pepper Book' by Dave DeWitt and Paul Bosland.

It is not as academic as Jean Andrews 'Peppers: The Domesticated Capsicums', (which I think is a fantastic book, mind you) but it is a book I had been waiting for a while to get. It is also more complete than Mark Charles Miller, John Harrisson 'The great Chile Book', which was until now the only Chilli book I owned.

I will probably sit and read it over the weekend and give allow it to sink in before I talk about it, but from glancing through it on Google Scholar, and from just giving it a quick read a few minutes ago, I think it is a fairly complete book on capsicums.

I gave all the plants at work a quick watering with a half dose of Chilli Focus today, to start bringing the nutrients back into their diets. Some of the forum members have advised not to over-rely on nutrients, since it leeches the soils, but these are potted plants, so not much choice, unfortunately.

The Naga Morich at work is starting to sprout growth along the previously bare main stem, so I am seriously considering (someone just hit the sliding glass doors in our entrance head on...I should mention they slide open with the same speed and impetus of a professional mime miming 'a solid wall') chopping the top growth from it and using it for cuttings so as to trim it back to a manageable two feet height and seeing if I can get broader growth this year.

The Rocoto Rojo is also showing promise, albeit as a single, two foot stick with lots of new green growth coming out of it.

The Chocolate Habanero, Orange Habanero and Caribbean Red Habanero are showing less signs of vigorous growth. It may be a case of pruning for them and hoping for the best.

Crazy students have just spilled hot tea all over one of the radiators in front of me...and they wonder why they are not allowed into this building with hot drinks... least they didn't spill it all over themselves (though that would provide me with a modicum of amusement.

Almapaprika dreamt of Mrs. Cole again last night. And once more she was helping out at the wedding.

I say it's all fine and dandy so long as she doesn't wear that awful outfit that made her look like an extra from a Street Fighter video game (Mrs. Bison).

The entrance door of the building is now refusing to open to people who want to leave or enter, unless they meet some unknown height/weight/body mass requirement.

I wonder sometimes what the (INFORMATION RESTRICTED) millions of pounds that went into the construction of this building ACTUALLY went into, what with the heating problems, the malfunctioning entrance doors, the malfunctioning lifts, useless lights, etc.

But at least it looks nice and shiny from the outside, and that's all that matters, really. (Ghost of cynicism past floats past me)

Almapaprika has infected me with her 'celebrity' dreams.

Or in my case: nightmares.

I dreamt last night I got into an argumentative spat with Wayne Rooney.

I was hoping for Cheryl Cole, to be honest (with a translator next to me).

But no.

I get the floppy eared 'White Pele.'

And not in a good mood (Is he ever in a good mood? then again, neither was I).

At least I saved Almapaprika from dreaming about him...

I hope.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Mobile (Cell) phones...they enhance an idiots' natural idiocy.

I have just embarked on an interesting venture, and created a Facebook page for Aji Chombo!

Yeah, it does stink of self-promotion...

Maybe I should hold a press conference as well...

Nah, I'm sure Tiger Woods would upstage me if I did.

And yes, people (not just idiots) seem to unlock some sub-conscious 'Extra Idiot' gene when they use cell (mobile) phones. Since I work more or less in a customer service 'orientation', you get to do a lot of people watching, and it is surprising how many people swear they can multitask who clearly should not be allowed to operate a PAIR of chopsticks.

Mobile phones turn the average person into an 'Idiotic Neophyte', and a full blown idiot into a 'Grand Wizard Moron'.

Mind you, these phones are a nice and convenient thing to have...

...but I get the feeling that if everyone that was born after 1990 was suddenly and simultaneously hit by a car and sent into a coma (yes, a Life on Mars reference. Good. You can count yourself NOT in the two categories above) back into the 1980's, they would die of starvation for lack of finding a phone with a 'Find a curry house' application.

But I digress...

Almapaprika has been having pre-nuptial nightmares.


They have been happening for the past few months, in anticipation of having to say 'I do' to a union with me in front of a crowd of family and friends. (I'm not that I?)

Last nights (well, days. She's working nights this week) had her at the wedding, sans wedding dress, while the rest of the women there HAD wedding dresses (thankfully, neither me or the rest of the gentlemen present had said wedding attire on), and with our DJ gone leaving her mom to handle everything from her MP3 player.

In the midst of all this, who emerges to console her?

Not her two best friends.

Not me (I was probably writing a blog entry in her dreams at the time)

But Cheryl Cole.

Yes. You read correctly.

Cheryl 'The Geordie girl who went on to be a pop superstar and married Ca$hley' Cole.

She apparently did fairly well in consoling her, and Almapaprika also did commendably in understanding Mrs. Cole's Geordie accent.

Almapaprika even went on to give Cheryl some sound advise ('You should look for better', when referring to Mr. Cole).

So, Cheryl, if you happen to browse through this blog (I really wouldn't know why, but hey, stranger things have happened), feel free to drop by the wedding reception.

But bring an MP3 player (but not JUST with your songs).

On the front this blog was created for (chillies, which seems to be a neglected part of today's entry), I now find myself drinking copious amounts of soda in order to use the bottles as makeshift greenhouses (thank the El Cheapo challenge for that)

The Rocket keeps dying in the hydroponics kit. The little Elf Chilli seems completely unaffected and actually quite healthy, as does a little cutting of the Orange Habanero I put last week. I wonder why?

I have also experimented with putting an Aji Lemon Drop seed on some decaf tea 'grinds' to see if they can also be used to germinate seeds (Decaf you say?). Put the seed in Tuesday, so fingers crossed. We go through tonnes of the stuff at home, so if it works, I might have found a cheap germinating medium.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Does my Blog look big in this?

I took the opportunity today to browse at the blogspot blogs, something I had not done before.


Talk about a United Nations of Weird!

But then again, I also keep a blog, so that's an interesting reflection on me...

I was telling a friend who also has a blog, that it was like that friend we all have (if you have at least ONE friend, odds are it's him/her, or YOU) who was not born with that filter that allows most people to sort out the stuff that should be said from the stuff that maybe should be kept as 'personal', or 'you really shouldn't say that'.

But the Internet to some degree makes us all live in a constant state of 15 minutes of fame, and this is how we all deal with it.

Some of us deal with it like Vanilla Ice...

...some of us deal with it like Dame Judy Dench...

...some of us deal with it like Gonzo from the Muppet's! (I would probably be in this last group).

Instant, universal, unstoppable exposure! (and by universal, I am confining it at this time to our corner of the Galaxy, since wireless transmissions have only travelled so far...The thought of this blog being read by Extraterrestrials makes me laugh. 'Look, Zorg! He mentioned John Terry again! That human is so well mentioned in blogs he MUST be their leader. We shall probe him first!')

Could anyone ask for anything else?

I have had to switch to Firefox to upload J's Naga eating adventure, since IE is being it's usual Microsoft self, and refusing to allow the upload. So, with any luck, you will be able to see this video soon.

As a bit of a backdrop, last August, as the first Naga Morich pods were ripening at work, a friend of mine from work asked to try one. I did give the customary warning (this chilli is the hottest known to man.), but it was still a 'go on, then.' reply. So, after notifying a few people in the office about it, we proceeded to have a little chilli sampling one morning. I took with me an Orange Habanero and a Naga pod.

It was very cool, because I simply walked into an office, plucked the pods from the plants, and said to the people in the room 'we're going to do a chilli tasting.' And they followed. Soon a crowd of about 20 gathered at the Staff common room.

The Orange Hab went down quite well with the people who tasted it. I was one of them (having never tried them before), and the flavour was nice and citrus-like. A few people got watery eyes, but it didn't go beyond that.

The Naga was the main event.

J decided to try a sliver, as did C, R, and me (I think. There may have been one extra person).

Gosh it was painful! But at the same time tasty! J ate all of his sliver, and later asked for more!

MORE! He said

Are you sure? we asked, watery eyed and burning.

MORE! he replied, salivating with anticipation...or was that just from the previous sliver? (Hmmm...'Orange Habs and Nagas', a new book by Dr. Aji Chombo)

So I have him another sliver.

C, thankfully was filming it all.

So, here it is. Enjoy!

If you're from thehotpepper, and you find the video entertaining, pass the word along.

If you're from another planet: Yes, peppers are fun to eat!

Monday, 15 February 2010

There are bad films, and then there are BAD films

First of all, I FOUND THE USB CABLE!!!

Hot Dog!

I normally don't scream whilst writing (I have an aversion to ALL CAPS texting. It's very shouty.), but I was soooooooooooooooooooooooo happy when I found the cable, I spent most of Saturday evening transferring photos from my camera to Almapaprika's laptop (and tonight to photo bucket). It saved me the money and the time to get the new cable, and I ended up bumping into (can't believe I've just spent 30 seconds hitting enter on this contraption trying to get to, without realizing I had only written 'ww', instead of 'www') Stephen Graham whilst shopping in the City Centre.

By bumping into, I of course mean I saw him from a respectful yet quasi-personal distance from me (about two metres). Took me a while to recognize the face.

Almapaprika didn't recognize him at all.

She says I always get to see the interesting people (like when I saw Eddie Izzard jog past in...and I can assure you I am not making this up...past a red double-decker bus in London just outside of Big Ben. It would only have been more interesting had an executioner appeared in front of me asking me to chose from Cake or Death.) She was looking in the opposite direction, doing what I should have, which was looking for my aunt who was visiting London for the first time (I am an absent minded nephew), and thus missed the whole episode.

But I digress.

This is a good idea of how long ago I last downloaded photos from the camera:

These are two photos of last autumns' harvest. Not exceedingly abundant, but not bad for a first time. I did harvest more White Habaneros than pictured.

But I also lost most of the Orange habs to mould :-(

This is the little hydroponics kit Almapaprika's mum got me for X-mas (which will be included in the 'El Cheapo-Budget Smackdown' thanks to me putting ONE seed into it. You can find out more by going to

This is where I am germinating the seeds this season. I am not entirely happy with the setup, but beggars can't be choosers, as the case might be...

The Trinidad Scorpions are up and out! Two of them out of 4 is not bad, and together with the 7-pot should make a good group of super hots! (if they grow and are not killed by this...apartment of doom!).

Now it turns out one of the Roselles has mould, and may not make it, while the other one looks really strong. I will be happy with the one (more than I can say for the Rocket, which is slowly dying in the hydroponics kit. Why? I can only guess some of the seeds were too close together, and competition is doing this, but with my luck...

I have just finished watching an absolutely horrendous fantasy film entitled 'Dragonhunter', and I am subjecting myself to even more misery by watching 'Merlin and the War of the Dragons'.

WHY, Jürgen Prochnow?!


I will go away now to finish watching

Friday, 12 February 2010


Feeling strangely rough at the moment.

Hoping I've not picked up the little bug that made Almapaprika's life miserable Tuesday in the wee hours of the morning...

I've gone into some serious 'El Cheapo' mode at the moment (expenses from upcoming 'union of capsicums'), so I've resorted to using empty (and clean) coke bottles (the plastic kind) as mini-greenhouses for the chillies so I can grow them somewhere where the sun shines. Have moved four into bottles (as in, the entire bottle, not just cutting the top off and using that on top of a little seedling transplanted into a pot), and now that I've finished off another 500ml bottle, will be moving a fifth into a new home today.

An update on the growth:

I really shouldn't be grumpy or pessimistic about my pods, though I think sometimes I am.

SPECIALLY when looking at the more impressive setups on

After all, I've planted 56 seeds, and to date well over 50% have germinated. The only ones that haven't popped out even a single seedling as of yet have been:

-Chilean Guava
-Peach Habanero

The rest have at least one seedling out, so I should feel happy.



The Trinidad Scorpions AJ sent me seem to be stirring. Perhaps at the weekend I shall see some little seedlings popping their heads up.

I just know I've had the humidity WAAAY too high in the little incubators. So, I've gotten rid of a fair bit of the moisture that builds up. Hopefully that will de-soak some of the coir pellets and will result in the germination of the ones remaining (only on Barrackpore 7-Pot out of 4 planted).

On a separate note:

John Terry! John Terry! John Terry! maniacal footballer has appeared looking to steal my other half, or offer me an exec box at Wembley... (Whew!)

...the stories little children tell each other in the playground...

...Plus, every time I write John Terry! on the blog entry, people randomly searching for juicy tidbits on this man's personal life (you'd swear he was some sort of celebrity or something) on google get directed here! :-)

And this is much better reading than the tabloids, or so I'm told.

John himself might be well advised to take up chilli farming as a means to pass the time and steer clear of the vices of 'The ladies' (or more to the point, other people's 'Ladies')...nothing is more exciting than biting into a Naga....

...well, maybe biting into a Naga right after scoring the winning penalty at the World Cup (celebration ideas, you say?) ;-)

Plus I'd love to see if Carlo Ancelotti's eyebrow retains that non-chalant expression of sarcasm after trying some of JT's Naga Curry.

Ah, but in a dream world...

Still, if, in the future, you read about JT the Chilli farmer, then you heard it here first, folks! (although they are an aphrodisiac, so maybe I'm actually making the problem worse...)

I really should stop now. This is bordering on ridiculous (but from WAY inside ridiculous' border).

I'd like to thank MrArboc for the practical and wise (beyond my wisdom) suggestion of getting a new cable for my camera.

Amazon has them for very cheap.

I would say something in Swedish to you, kind sir...but the only thing I was ever taught would make Snoop Dogg blush (and I forgot half of it)...

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Some New Photos

These are, of course, photos taken from my rather horrible phone camera. I wish they could be better photos, but I still haven't found the USB cable for my camera.

Today has been the second nice day in Liverpool. Cold as the handshake of a coroner, mind you.

But exceptionally sunny.

And that usually means that any plants by the windowsill at the office will absolutely love it.


This top one is the Royal Gold (a hot chinense) I got from Vincent. I am slowly moving the plants from the flat to the office in an effort to get some of them to start growing, as opposed to what they are doing now, which is searching desperately for the sun.


These are the two Roselle seedlings. I brought them up to the office quickly because the last time I tried to grow them (in the floral deathtrap that is our flat), they quickly wilted after a promising start, no doubt felled by the lack of sunlight (maybe I need to grow a vampire plant...).


This is the overwintered Rocoto Rojo. It was reduced to a Y-shaped, 30 inch stump with a couple of millimetre long leaves a fortnight ago, and look at it now! One of the Y arms is pretty much dried up, but the other one seems full of life (what a window full o'sunshine will do for ya!)


Last, but not least, the Maize Morado. Yes, they are in little individual pots, and I have only recently learned that they need deep soil for their roots. Still, for the time being this will have to do. I am hoping to move them to deeper pots soon.

Almapaprika wasn't too well a few nights ago. Spent the wee hours of the morning paying tribute to the porcelain Gods. I felt really bad and thought she might be seriously ill (so I immediately distanced myself by about two metres).

Yesterday evening she came up with a theory as to why she was so ill:


That's right.


I knew they were evil to begin with, and this only feeds my paranoid mind...

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Sunshine, Lollipops and Raindrops

Um....yes. That's what is happening at the moment where I am (two of the three anyways).

One of the Maize Morados may have kicked the bucket, after I accidentally dropped it while transporting it to work.

AAAAAAAAAAARGH! (yes, do picture Charlie Brown in your heads, why don't you).

I am secretly (well, not anymore, since I am in the process of writing it here. I wonder if that's how John Terry's 'extramarital' indiscretions got out. He posted them on his blog...) envious of people with growing lights for their plants...

...not having growing lights, and a flat which is now very good at KILLING plants (even the little Christmas tree is beginning to look dry, even though it is getting watered) is making me feel miserable and (GASP!) miss our old flat.

Yes, the downstairs living area was as cold as a coroner's handshake (thanks to single glazed windows), and it was FIVE stories with no lift to go up every day. AND the landlords were less-than-helpful.

But the upstairs was fantastic for growing plants with it's floor to ceiling South-West facing windows (not to mention the fact that it was the very top of the building). Stuff grew there at a fantastic rate (though not as fast as at work).

Sure, we got no sleep in the summer because of the fact that the sun was glaring in our eyes (no blackout curtains, just wimpy blinds) as of 4am, and would not cease until 11:00pm...

...but the plants loved it.

At least it is a nice and sunny day today (though really cold), and the plants at work are having a ball! Brought some more in today and yesterday (the two Roselles, and a Royal Gold), so today is a good day for some 'sunning'.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The Voldemort Chilli

I must admit I never thought the Maize Morado could grow at the staggering rate it has been. I brought two of the four plants to work today, and they are pushing six inches in height.

All this after a mere 10 days of being sown on the ground (as it were)! The office is a trade-off, mind you.

At home the temperature is nice and constant, but they get very little light. In the office they will be getting maximum light exposure, but with recent radiator problems (a building that cost an unimaginable amount of money to renovate, and they didn't pay enough attention to the heating...seriously now!), it means that it will be considerably colder than at home.

I'm hoping light wins the battle.

The Roselle seedlings are doing quite well, all first leaves are fully open and taking in the little light available.

Capsicum wise, moving the incubators to the boiler room has worked the charm, as little seedlings are sprouting left and right. So far I've got 'en route':

Mustard Habanero X 1

Jamaican Hot X 2

Fatalii X 2

Thai Dragon X 1

Royal Gold X 2

Brazilian Starfish X 2

Hot Apple X 1

Red Squash X 2

Granted, it's not much yet, but I'm happy with the output so far, specially since there are once again, two Fataliis out of the blocks.

I came across what I consider to be a hilarious thread in yesterday which dealt with what can only be described as a seriously touchy subject with experienced growers:

New Strains.

Or in the case of this thread, a possible mutation, or crossbreed, or genetic anomaly, or chilli with an identity issue.

No one really knows for sure, but it did cause quite a stir.

It was to do with the nigh-mythical 'Chilli that must not be named' Yellow Bhut Jolokia...

...or Lemon Bhut Jolokia.

Reading the thread you'd swear blood would be spilt.

It was, however, quite entertaining (Chilli Gods forgive me) to watch two grown men (We presume. You never know in online forums where people have crazy sounding names like...Aji Chombo..ahem!) so adamant about the veracity of the strain origin and what was perceived as an act of fraudulent intentions on the part of one of them.

It was 'Get Medieval' stuff online!

In the midst's of it all, another grower (based here in the UK, but I won't say more) took the time to remind everyone that his super secret product was indeed real and the hottest one in existence (said to kill Male Buffalo if downwind of the plants, able to knock down incoming attack missiles if a slight mist is sprayed on your roof, can cure cancer by just looking at it, and other mighty boasts I just made up), and conveniently changed the website content of his site to reflect that the Yellow/Lemon Bhut he has (which he bought from one of the growers in the fisticuffs in the forum), was a fantastic experiment he hoped everyone enjoyed...

...while charging every customer a healthy amount for the unknown seeds.

And here I thought experiment participants usually 'participated' for free or by being paid.

Silly me, I must be on a different planet.

You seriously cannot make stuff up like this!

It's better than a Mexican TV Soap (telenovela!)


Monday, 1 February 2010

Signs of Life

The Maize Morado is growing with a purpose! Almapaprika was amazed to see how fast the little things are pushing up, UP! to the sky.

The same can be said about the Roselle. These are fast growing little things...

On the capsicum front, it seems the Brazilian Starfish, Red Squash, Royal Gold and Jamaican Hot are showing early signs of life, which makes me very happy. Put one of the germinating boxes on top of the water heater in the cupboard, and it has done wonders. I'll move the other one as soon as I move the two Roselle seedlings to slightly larger pots to free up the space.

Have taken photos of the Maize, but will take some more today and post the comparison photos so people can see how quickly they have grown.

I am really annoyed with the hydroponic setup. A week has gone by and no sight of progress from the Culantro. I might bring some up to work and scatter some of the seeds on the pots of the overwintered plants, who seem to be starting to sprout new growth. The Rocoto Rojo, the one that worried me the most because it only had two small leaves in three near metre long stalks, now seems content with a scattering of little blooms of green. The Naga Morich is also showing signs of new greenery. In fact, the Naga, the Orange Habanero and the Chocolate Habaneros are all producing the odd flower or two. The Caribbean Red Habanero is thankfully not doing that, but has maintained itself nice and green. I've decided I will start watering them with a half-strength Chilli Focus solution once a fortnight, just to start giving them a little bit of extra nutrients.

Haven't been feeding them anything for nearly 6 months, just water. But they seem to have done OK (Specially the Rocoto, which only produced the pods when I stopped feeding it. I read in the Hot Pepper Forum that it might be because of too much Nitrogen, which tends to be a particular issue with Rocotos and Manzanos.)

So, photos will appear shortly (I hope).

Oh, and I still can't believe I made the whole of the last entry in Spanish without the use of any 'eñes'. But boy, was it difficult!