Yay! Neil arrived safely in Fuerteventura as part one of his mission around the globe to see how vegetables are being used in unique and exciting ways to combat a number of worldwide problems. His first missive has arrived for us underlings - let me share it with you here. Unfortunately, he forgot to take his camera so I've had to recreate his experiences through the medium of Playmobil. Neil is the Playmobil figure in green trousers.
Hail from sunnie Fuerteventura! Bananas, tomatoes, oranges and olives are widely available here but you won't find much in the way of a root crop, which makes the decision by SPROUT (Society of Progressive Research On Ugly Turnips) to set up shop here quite a surprising one.
SPROUT has been working tirelessly for the last three years on the sister project of CERN's LHD in the search for that elusive particle, the Higgs Boson. There is a little known quote from top Physicist Nils Nilssen - "The Higgs-Boson could be anywhere... so why not start by looking in the easy places? Take a trip to the Canaries and split open a turnip or two." This became the inspiration for the building of the Small Hadron Collider (seen in the picture below - Aliya), which is manned by Mr Harold Trike, formerly of Kettering, and a team of trained parrots.
The SHD (interestingly enough, situated within Mr Trike's own shed) works on mains electricity. The turnip is inserted into the GST (green slidey tray), which then is rammed at great speed into a set of rotating knives. The GST is then removed to the garden area, where the parrots pick over the tiny particles in the hope of spotting the Higgs-Boson. If this was to occur, the lucky parrot would emit three piercing squawks and would attempt to hold the particle still in its beak until the arrival of Mr Trike, whereupon it would be rewarded with a little bell and a cuttlefish. There have been a number of false alarms, says Mr Trike, but no solid results as yet.
When questioned about the likelihood of the parrots spotting an infinitesimally small particle, a SPROUT representative pointed out that, "the parrots don't know that they're looking for it anyway, and wouldn't recognise it if it slapped them around the beak with a giant cuddly toy wearing a tee shirt that said HIGGS-BOSON WOZ HERE on it. This is the upper end of theoretical physics we're talking about here.'
And now, I must away to the next stage of my journey. Good luck in all your endeavours, Vegemites!
Well, he sounds very chipper, doesn't he? He must be having fun. I wouldn't have minded a trip to the Canaries. I'm just saying.