Sunday, 22 March 2009

The Lost City of Nutlantis

WARNING PLOT SPOILER ALERT: The squirrel gets it

Grasshopper is planning to grow in the next six months and in order to do so we have recruited an easy-going Tasmanian hockey player to head up the investment proposal. His name is Todd and on Tuesday we took him to the nut factory to meet the lovely people who make our porridge for us.

The factory is ENORMOUS and Grassy is its smallest ever customer. In fact Sue our account manager only took us on because we shared her interest in the history of British military vehicles. One whole warehouse is devoted to a 50 ft high stainless steel mixing machine that looks like a cross between a giant washing machine drum and The Wall of Death from Clarence Pier fun fair.

Half the factory is completely sealed off with plastic sheeting similar to when the scientists arrive at Elliott’s house at the end of ET. Behind the plastic screens is the area where the nuts get processed by special nut workers who are not allowed to talk to the non-nut workers in case they contaminate them. They are allowed to smile at them though through the special window in the plastic sheeting.

There is a new warehouse at the factory where they store hundreds and hundreds of tonnes of nuts and nothing else. Only the nut people are allowed in and the whole building is sealed off. Last autumn a lone squirrel managed to penetrate the layers of security and arrive inside what, to him must have seemed like the Lost City of Nutlantis. The discovery apparently blew his mind and before going out to tell his family what he had found he decided to have a spot of lunch. Unfortunately squirrels, like me, find portion-control difficult to manage and his light lunch turned into a lost weekend of constant eating. Sadly, having ingested hundred of times more calories than he had expended he became so fat that he got wedged into the hole in the ceiling that he had come in though and was discovered a few weeks later by the man that come to fix the roof. Having been unable to escape and spread the news of his discovery the existence of the lost city of Nutlantis thankfully remains a mystery to his fellow Rodentia, a place that the squirrels of Britain can only dream of.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Everything I know about sick leave.

Our mum is amazing. In the 70s she ran dad’s practice, threw regular dinner parties involving fondues and avocados, had 3 kids under 10 and dressed every day like Mia Farrow in ‘Rosemary’s baby’ If she was ill and needed time off people would say ‘You put your feet up and have a break, ooh just one thing…have you done the banking and picked up the kids from brownies/orchestra/kung fu?’ It is only now that we have our own business that we truly understand what that must have been like.

In the first year of Grasshopper Abi broke her foot and her arm, it made her cranky for around 6 months. Did she stop working? No…she didn’t miss one day of pestering unwitting members of the media and high on Tramadol she brought home the bacon time after time.

Last week I had minor surgery and, inspired by Abi’s example, the first words I uttered on regaining consciousness after the anaesthetic were ‘custard creams’


ME: (pushing my drip out the way and extending a shrivelled hand towards the tea trolley) ‘custaaaard creeeeeeeams’

I did one year of nursing training at King’s College London and was top in ‘Drugs Administration’ (mostly because the teacher had really lovely thick hair and I wanted her to notice me) Just as the school for tropical medicine has antivenom for different types of snake bites I can tell you with great authority that the antidote for anaesthetic medication is custard creams. The suggested dose is 6 every 20 minutes with a pint of tea.

If you have your own business or small children it’s the same deal, the only things which get you time off sick are bleeding from the eyes or coma.