Mysterious Magical Death-Weed Seeds

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Mysterious seeds

CNN –

States are warning people about suspicious packages of seeds that appear to be from China

I was reading the above story – how lots of gardeners across the US (and also UK) are randomly being sent unlabeled seeds from China and this is causing panic. The recipients are warned DON’T SOW THEM, WHATEVER YOU DO! CALL THE POLICE! STEP AWAY FROM THE SEEDS!

I was thinking that sounded interesting. And then I thought, Wait a minute! I’ve got some of those. So I went to my fridge and pulled out the little baggy of seeds in the photo.

How did I get them? Well during the lockdown I bought a load of seeds online – Coleus, Thunbergia, a few Cosmos for work. Partly to have something to put in my garden, partly for something to do. I thought they’d all arrived, but then an unmarked box arrived with this bag inside. No note or receipt, no email telling me I was getting a parcel, and no indication of what the seeds were. I assumed it was some I’d forgotten, and put them in the fridge since it was too late to plant them for this year.

I’m fairly sure that they are the seeds in the article, since they have the exact same label as the ones in this article. So I think I’ve been sent seeds from China as part of some, what? Attempt at an invasion? Are they triffids? I showed them too a friend and he said, ‘They don’t look like seeds, more like electronic circuits.’ Fabulous.

There’s talk that they are part of a scam called ‘brushing’, which is a way of getting reviews by sending people things and then stealing their details. To be honest it doesn’t make much sense to me – if they’ve already got access to my Amazon account, then surely they can post a review without giving me stuff. And it must cost a fortune to give away so many free seeds. So I am still not sure.

Just to add, I’m joining in with this because I love the mystery, but I’m still wary of these China are Evil stories that are so popular. It’s true that China is something of a superpower now, which means other (failing) superpowers such as the UK and the US feel threatened, and that leads to our media spreading fear. On the other hand, what is reported as happening to the Uighurs in China is horrific, so I’m not sure their government is especially benevolent. But the shittiness of a government definitely doesn’t mean the people of that country are shitty (I really hope or I’m screwed too). And I know plenty of Chinese people who are lovely. So an addendum to this seed mystery is: is this an innocent mistake that UK/US press are distorting to spread ill-feeling about China? Or are these robot-controlled, demon-summoning, mind-controlling, triffid seeds?

I’m going to have to plant the seeds, aren’t I?

 

 

Abandoned London

Londo2

It occurred to me walking to work today, that London may never look this empty again once the virus is over, so I took a couple of photos. Although Dan reckons that London is changed forever now, the people won’t return.

‘So London will become a rotting husk? Just the occasional cyclist and confused tourist wandering about?’ I asked. He nodded.

Okey doke. We know the movies and the TV series, the plague comes and the busy city life never returns. We end up huddled around a camp fire roasting cockroaches on sticks and trying to open a tin of beans with a plastic spork. And yes, I am aware of how melodramatic I am, it doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

LONDON

Supernice came true!

train sign saying wear a face covering

So I wrote this book Supernice about an alien invasion. The aliens create a dystopia of oppressive new rules and terrible consequences for breaking them. In response, the government replace advertising hoardings with posters that politely (and then not so politely) tell the public how to behave to avoid trouble. Following are some quotes from the book. (And the book can be acquired for a dollar, to your right, if you fancy)

Advert hoarding for a charity. Says Be more us. Let's talk more.
There aren’t many adverts for products left in London stations. Instead there are adverts for charities.

At first the messages seemed friendly:

Advertising hoardings stretched along the seafront. Usually they were filled with adverts for phones or cars, but now the adverts were in pastel shades of purple and pink, with butterflies and smiling faces. In large letters the messages were simple:

SHOW LOVE, NOT HATE

PSST, YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL, PASS IT ON

But even then, Natasha was suspicious and happy to see signs of rebellion:

As she headed back home, Natasha passed a hundred more pink posters in bus stops and stuck to lampposts. Some had already been defaced.

KINDNESS SPREADS was graffitied with DESTROY!

And LOVE UNITES US in purple, with FUK DA ALIENS in angular black writing over the top. Natasha had never liked graffiti – she always thought it made a place look messy – but this was righteous.

And finally as the oppression became more extreme and the pretense ended:

The main road had changed again. Instead of advertising hoardings with hippy messages, now there were screens, each showing an order.

POLITENESS IS NECESSITY and SHOW RESPECT and DON’T BECOME ONE OF THE TAKEN.

I wanted to create an atmosphere of tension and uncertainty, but one in which people needed to find a way to not only survive, but to still laugh, still connect, still keep going. And of course they wanted to dupe the aliens and escape too.

Well now I’m back at work, I’ve discovered that is exactly what London has become. Lots of instructions with cute pictures, saying Cover your face, Keep your distance, Don’t travel unless you have to. It’s all considerate messages for our own safety, but the atmosphere is still intense. With half our faces covered, people are more suspicious of each other, and anyone could be a virus carrier. But we still need to laugh, connect and keep going. Luckily we don’t need to worry about the alien bit. Yet.

Sign in London station says Please keep your distance

Covidworld

So, I’m back at work and it’s great to see everyone again and be outside tackling some plants.

It’s all quite odd though, everything is not quite the same, little details have shifted. I’ll get some pictures tomorrow. It’s as if someone gave all of London a makeover. And then almost all Londoners have changed too. We hide our faces. We aren’t rushing, instead we keep our distance. No more stand on the right, walk on the left on escalators, now everybody stands. And there are police everywhere.

At work, my colleagues are just like they always were – cheery, lovable oddballs. But with longer hair. The guys have either slicked back styles or new wavy locks.

I feel like this is a puny blog, so here is a fella I read about this morning, the monkey slug caterpillar, Phobetron. They aren’t anything to do with monkeys or slugs, but they are caterpillars. Aren’t they incredible?

Click on this to go to the site I nicked it from
Definitely click on this photo to see more photos from the Maryland Biodiversity Project