Wild Garlic Foodswap

So, yesterday I dispatched some parcels at my local Post Office. A task that ordinarily should have been quite straightforward. After all, people post stuff all the time. Cards, letters, gifts, mementos, things, you know. I may have told this story before but I once knew a guy at university who used to post his underwear home to be washed. Seriously. Once a week he would receive five pairs of pristine and fragrant boxers through the letterbox and he would diligently pop five pairs of disheveled, sour and slightly stiffened shreddies into the same Jiffy bag, to post back to his Mum. As for the remaining two days at the weekend, I think he went commando. Or turned a pair inside out at the very least.

Anyway, like I said, people post stuff all the time. Yet when I arrived and plonked four packages down on the counter, I was met immediately with a steely-eyed glare and given that the person in question must have been five foot tall and had a rather frizzy brown mane; the whole situation soon turned quite surreal. She reminded me of one half of Thing One and Thing Two, from Dr Seuss. However, she was a whole lot grumpier in her demeanor, as opposed to mischievous, and without the red jumpsuit too. Whatever, she plainly didn't like the cut of my jib.

"What are you sending?" she said, tersely.

Noting her suspicion I had to think quickly, so I replied with "Oh just some stuff, going out to some people. Some people I sort of know." Which was a rubbish response really.

"What do you mean people you sort of know?"

"Well I know them from the Internet!" I said brightly. "And I have met some of them. Once or twice. Actually, one of them has said that I could always use her loo, should I ever need it. Because I drive past her house from time to time on the way to Hereford." Which again, was another stupid thing to say.

She frowned. "But what exactly are you sending?"

At this point I thought about lying and saying that they were 'fabric samples'. But I've been down that road before, pretending that I am haberdasher, with intricate knowledge of zips, thread and ribbons and have been caught out. Technically, you should never use Velcro in place of a decent snap fastener.

So I decided to tell the truth.

"They are plants."

This really seemed to piss her off.

"What sort of plants?!!!"

"They are plants from my garden, OK?? Cuttings. Cuttings that I want to send to people. Jesus, what is the problem here?"

I had just become Kevin the teenager.

"I am asking because these packages stink to high heaven and I haven't got a clue as to what is in them."

There was extra emphasis on the word 'clue' here and I swear one of her bulging eyes was going to pop out of its socket. Suddenly I felt like Billy Hayes, being violently interrogated by a five foot malevolent, fuzzy haired imp. So with the world crashing in on me and the promise of a nasty buggering in a Turkish jail looming, I simply whimpered:

"It's just wild garlic. I am just sending out some wild garlic, to people I sort of know on the Internet. It grows in my garden. It's like a weed. It's everywhere. I......I just want to get rid of it."

Momentarily, she softened and whipped out a pamphlet from behind the counter. A flimsy two paged handbook of some description and she must have spent at least five minutes scanning the scant words on the page.

"This is not going abroad is it?"

"No, just to London. And to various addresses in the Home Counties," I replied, beaten.

"Cambridge and Oxford are not Home Counties."

"You are right. I'm sorry."

To which she paused. For perhaps another five minutes.

"OK, I'll agree to sending these packages out but I MAKE NO PROMISES THAT THEY WILL GET TO THEIR DESTINATIONS," she boomed. And with that she proceeded to punch the computer and rip out tickets and ferociously slap stamps down onto parcels labelled 'Fragile' before barking out the total cost.

"Can I take this bottle of washing up liquid too?" I said, lifting up and wiggling a bottle of Happy Shopper Lemon Fresh.

Oh, she just tutted at that and said I would have to pay at the other till 'Over there.' Me being the obvious fucking idiot for not realising in the first place. Which I did. And queued for another five minutes of my life.

The whole procedure was, in other words, quite traumatic and as a dry run for my business concept of 'FU Wild Garlic by Mail' I am not sure if this one has legs. Maybe I will have to look down other logistical avenues and avoid that Post Office like the plague in future.

In the meantime, I do hope that Victoria, Ireena, Chloe and Sophie get their plants soon. And not bags of compost in a couple of months time. Slapped with quarantine stickers, having journeyed half-way around the world.

Via Istanbul.

STOP PRESS: Word has got back to me that someone has successfully received their wild garlic by post. So perhaps this does work!

If you fancy a bunch of wild garlic to use or grow, drop me an email and I will happily send some in exchange for something food related or otherwise. You have about another two weeks to make the most of it this year and I will add you to the food swap board below.

These are the swaps made so far:

Niamh - Eat Like A Girl. Coffee, cake and a Snapchat tutorial.

Jas - Gin and Crumpets. Preserved bergamots and a bag of cookies.

Jennie - All The Things I Eat. Almond and lemon drizzle cake


Brucey said…
Thanks dude, you are a LEGEND!
Alicia Foodycat said…
I received a curry leaf seedling in the mail yesterday in very good health - dispatched on Thursday. They'd made it a little terrarium out of an old sprite bottle and duct tape, then wrapped that in bubblewrap.
Food Urchin said…
Brucey - You are welcome me dear and does that offer of a loo-stop still stand?

Alicia Foodycat - Very good. Do you want some WG?
Miss Whiplash said…
So explain to me how this works...?
I make you a delicious cake/pie/tart and you send me wild garlic? That I can actually plant as well as eat?
Food Urchin said…
Miss Whiplash - That is exactly how it works AND NOW YOU KNOW! Shall we do this?
Ginandcrumpets said…
The wild garlic you gave me has made many people happy. And one friend picked the leaves off the stalks, then popped the roots and flowers into a vase of water and behold! They flowered.

This weekend she is planting them out. I warned her they might take over garden, but she seems pleased at this prospect. So, the FU Wild Garlic programme could be eventually be responsible for turning the south east into a wild garlic wasteland.
Food Urchin said…
Ginandcrumpets - You have just worked out my cunning and dastardly plan! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Alicia Foodycat said…
I would like some wild garlic. What would you like? Boozy cherries? Calamondin marmalade? An IOU for chilli sauce later this season?
Eatsruns said…
I have had that post office interaction before. Well, not the very same one, but the whipping out of the prohibited list, the barked "what are you sending?" The "cream? You can't send cream!" (Skin cream) and the "you are sending this at your own risk".

They need to get their kicks somehow I guess.

Last year a friend gave me a few wild garlic plants to put in my postage stamp-sized patch of dirt. One tiny plant has come up this year. I'm letting it go to seed, hopefully one day I'll have a lot of plants!
Food Urchin said…
Alicia Foodycat - Calamoudin-a-what??? But yes, more than happy to organise a swap, will get in touch.

Sarah Moore - Damn these Post Office Nazis. And don't worry, it will soon take hold.
Pasta Bites said…
I actually stopped using post office! in any case, i'd love to swap. Sourdough starter? home made marshmallows? amaranth energy bars?
Food Urchin said…
Pasta Bites - What the hell are amaranth energy bars? (But if you want some WG, some drop me a line)
Unknown said…
Reminds me of a village post-office clerk who had a vindictive sideline in reporting everyone coming in to cash an unemployment giro for benefit fraud. This was back in the early nineties when you could cash giros and all of them were innocent. Very glad when she was quietly removed from her post otherwise I would have had her stuffed into a mailsack and dropped into the nearest trout lake.
Pasta Bites said…
Will drop you a line :)

Here is what they are (I love them!) http://blog.pastabites.co.uk/2015/12/amaranth-snack-bars-recipe.html

But can also swap with some freshly made (last night) rhubarb and orange jam ...
Shu Han said…
Haha this is such a good idea! Sort of like an illegal drug deal...
Food Urchin said…
Nic M - HA! Excellent story ; )

Pasta Bites - Sorry, I have been a bit absent minded and neglected to check my comments. The WG is on it's way out now but how about next year?

Shu Han - What are you insinuating Shu??

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