There’s been a flurry of excitement over at the offices of MyDestination.com, where the infighting continues between the boys and girls teams in their chilli plant growing competition, but their efforts are starting to become fruitful. Alex Plim (aka Captain Plimiento) fills us in on their latest developments:
In the unlikely event anyone other than my Mum and Dad is following this competition (hey guys!), you will remember that the last MyDestination.com blog post left our crusaders in a shaken yet resilient state, rocked by a series of devastating setbacks, but looking forward to a more stable future.
For a time, the competition’s progress continued auspiciously at a dogged pace, like a Zimmer frame user heading for the biscuit aisle in Sainsbury’s, while the plants settled into four shiny new pots within which they had been re-housed. The My Destination office looked on in quiet anticipation, noting the sprouting of each new leaf from stems that plodded ever further along their journey against gravity.
In fact, it was all going so well that Team Inferno decided to christen their plants, and it was thus that Hector Suarez and Don Juan Pablo came to be, like a 21st century Bill and Ben. But Mexican. And without arms and legs and heads. Plant pots with faces drawn on in black marker pen then, really…
But controversy and catastrophe is never far away in the My Destination chilli war.
The Vindaloo Vixens, in a level of disgrace previously thought impossible, chose an especially blustery day to place a defenceless Hector Suarez on a windowsill as a window stopper. The consequence was inevitable. In an instant Hector was displaced onto the office floor, strewn across the carpet in a scene befitting a brutal and bloody murder.
Team member Will was stunned into a shocked silence, leaving Captain Plimento to salvage the disaster and perform an emergency repot by himself.
Following this unfortunate episode, Team Inferno retired into a period of frenzied care for Hector and the Don, while the Vindaloo Vixens slipped into a habit of apathetic neglect, leaving their plants to shrivel into a pathetic, wilting mess. Captain Plimento briefly considered referring this abuse to charity, before realising no such charity exists, then considered setting up his own plant-care charity, before realising this would be an utter waste of time.
It was upon the return of the Vindaloo Vixen’s adopted captain, Kirsty, from a trip to Dubai that the girls sprang to a sudden and panicked attentiveness. Oblivious to the surfeit of information on the internet warning against over-watering chilli plants (‘the surest way to kill ‘em’, according to Wahaca’s own chilli growing expert), the girls launched a tsunami campaign against their plants, drenching them every day with enough water to fill Winston Churchill’s bath tub.
While this turmoil was unfolding, however, a far more sinister force was at work: aphids (or, to use its deceptively common name, the greenfly). Don’t be fooled by the ‘ph’; aphids are the aids of the plant world, leaving in their wake a trail of merciless desolation as they destroy otherwise healthy shrubbery. In an almighty anti-climax, the entire chilli competition became somewhat nuclear holocaustic. The aphids attacked the plants, munched their leaves and toppled their stems. Everything went dead; not just limp, but completely and utterly dead.
And that was it. Everyone gave up. They shook hands and moved on. Team member Will began talking again, and the Vindaloo Vixens stopped being so vindictive.
The chilli competition ended.
But – and this is a big, big but – the faintest glimmer of the slightest shred of hope remained in the form of one formidable man, a man who refused to relinquish his dreams of one day holding a veritable, real-life chilli in his mighty palm. That man was Stefan, the office’s token German, the very same German who rose to the occasion in My Destination’s previous blog entry and cared for the chilli plants as if they were kin.
Armed with nothing more than a spray bottle containing water and washing liquid, Stefan diligently purged the aphids, bringing the chilli plants back from the brink of oblivion. It was like a scene from Rambo, except Stefan didn’t have a gun, per se, and he was wearing a shirt. The plants’ recovery was slow, and by no means absolute, but gradually, to the gormless astonishment of everyone at My Destination, they made their way back to health.
All of which leads to 28th June 2011, a date that will forever remain in the memories of Team Inferno as the day that Hector Suarez, thrice depotted against his will, overcame immeasurable odds and sprouted his very first flower, bringing with it renewed hope for the future of the My Destination chilli war. More flowers followed, like tiny white light bulbs dripping from branches which bowed under their weight. Each new morning brought with it another, until each plant swelled with splayed petals.
And then came the day it all went galactic: 22nd July 2011.
If 28th June will forever sit within Team Inferno’s memory, 22nd July will be passed down to their offspring and to future generations beyond that, to be celebrated every year from now until the end of time as a day of monumental significance. For it was that morning that Captain Plimento performed a routine check on Don Juan Pablo and found, to his deep and lasting astonishment, two and a half inches of firm, spicy goodness in the form of a ripening chilli.
Goodness knows how he, along with the rest of the My Destination office, omitted to notice such a specimen during its growth, but omit it they did. It took a full week before either team could deal with the discovery and take stock of its earth-shattering implications.
Two things are now very clear: the chilli war is very much alive, and Team Inferno is the team to beat.
You can follow the progress of the Mydestination.com chilli growing competition on twitter, just search #MDIChiliOff.
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: Wednesday, 3 August 2011