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Royal Mail strikes, spore viability and ideal temperatures

Royal Mail strikes, spore viability and ideal temperatures

Hello, and welcome to another episode of “the country is fucked, mate”. Consider this a ‘clip show’ of sorts, because we’ve got all your old favourites: Tory ineptitude, corporate greed, and good ol’ fashioned “Someone’s got to tighten their belts and guess what it’s you again”.

Two dickheads pretending to be human
I’ve actually got a hoodie from this brewery that I now need to burn

Let’s start at the beginning.

I’ve been doing this odd little job for a few years now. Brexit made things a bit more difficult (used to be able to just send packages to Europe without customs declarations on which was a lot quicker for our cousins on the continent), for sure, but there’s been nothing like the recent Royal Mail strikes to figuratively fuck every online vendor straight in the dirtbox.

Right in there

I found the strikes in October to be quite troublesome. We had one strike a week (more or less), and each one caused multiple days of delays because stuff was just sitting in depots. Royal Mail can’t just double up the amount of staff the next day to get rid of the backlog, meaning it takes multiple days to square everything up to normal again. I had to answer a lot of emails about slow packages (I get everything out the door ASAP, no matter what), which I hate doing. I’m in this to provide the best spores (I mean, check out the amount of reviews I’ve got saying that they’re ace), and the best service, but thanks to Royal Mail’s refusal to pay their workers the right amount of money, that side of things got let down a little. I sell a lot of spore syringes every single week, so even if 1% of my packages get delayed, it’s quite a large number and it causes a massive headache.

If only I’d have known how the end of November and December was gonna be compared to October. Man, was I naïve.

In November and December, due to Royal Mail and the Government’s chronic mismanagement of the situation, we’ve had strike days in pairs! Pairs! Now, following the logic that one day of strike action causes at least a couple (if not three) days of delay, you can guess how much two days in a row has disrupted normal service.

It’s not a great situation, at all. It’s causing me a massive amount of extra work, because (and I don’t blame them) people want to know where their package is at. Not my fault, not their fault. But it also ain’t the Royal Mail worker’s fault. There has been the longest time in this country where pay rises haven’t happened, or have been below the level of inflation (essentially meaning your wage is going down, even if on paper it’s gone up a bit). Royal Mail can afford to pay their workers more. Royal Mail’s operating profit (remember, profit is the extra money not needed for costs) for the 2021/2022 tax year was £758,000,000. The year before that was £702,000,000 (Statista). Don’t get caught up in the anti-worker rhetoric that’s getting fed down from the people that are making millions. Simon Thompson, the CEO of Royal Mail, is paid £596,000 a year (Voice.Wales). Royal Mail has paid out £1,900,000,000 (yes that’s £1.9 billion quid) to shareholders since it was privatised back in 2013 (Mirror).

Royal Mail profit statistics
To save you doing maths, that’s over two million quid profit per day

What I am getting at here is that there is plenty of fuckin’ money to pay people enough for the services they provide, it’s just that the money doesn’t get to them because it’s busy being skimmed off the top.

So, fuck, having an online shop is a nightmare lately (and if you’ve got one too then you’ve got my sympathies), but I don’t blame the postal workers, or the rail workers, or the nurses, or the barristers, or Border Force, or the ambulance crew, or the teachers, or the lecturers, or the bus drivers, or the refuse workers, or anyone who’s having to take collective action against the rich fucks who refuse to give them a fair slice of the pie they are involved in baking. Which leads me on to my next point (yeah baby that’s a nice segue)…

Spore Viability

Given all that I’ve said in that last bit, it is likely that people’s spores may well be sitting around in Royal Mail depot for a bit. It’s cold at the moment, and some people have emailed me because they’re worried about whether the spores will still be okay. Maybe you’ve ordered some Golden Teacher spores, and you’re all like “ah man it’s been a week, is everything still good, Mr. Orangutan?”

Here’s the short answer: Yes!

Here’s the longer variant: Also yes! Spores are like little suits of armour, that protect the genetic information inside, and they are extremely good at their job. If you want to kill them, you either have to boil them or freeze them (freezing fucks up the cell walls due to water forming ice crystals).

In my workshop, I keep my spore syringes in a fridge because they’ll last the longest this way (2 years + is not uncommon), so the temperatures we’ve got outside in England at the moment are really no bother at all. Which in a mad stroke of awesome luck segues into the next bit, almost as if it was written that way…

Orangutan doing a thumbs up
It’s all good!

Ideal Temperatures

We’ve established that good temperatures to keep your spore syringe at range from “1c” to “Just Don’t Put Them in the Oven, Dude”, but let’s say you’re living in Jamaica, Brazil (and I have actually got a few customers from Brazil), or somewhere else where it’s legal for you to cultivate magic mushrooms, just for the sake of a bit of knowledge.

For the colonisation stage, you’d wanna be sitting in the early 20’s, somewhere around 22/23. Any less than this means that the mycelium would grow a lot slower. Any higher and you’d be running the risk of any contaminants getting a quicker foothold.

Once you’re past the colonisation stage, you could happily drop the temperature back down to around 19c, as the fruiting stage of Cubensis mushrooms is quite happy in that temperature zone. Goes without saying (or you’d think it would), this isn’t me saying to go and do this unless you’re in a nice legal country.

Cheers now everyone, I hope you have a nice Xmas holiday whatever flavour of it is that you personally celebrate (I call it Baileys Day because I celebrate the birth and inevitable death of the litre bottle of Baileys in my kitchen), and remember, as always, don’t vote Tory.

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What I have been up to…

What I have been up to…

Yo! It’s been a while. Turns out writing time can be a bit hard to come by when you’re arguably the UK’s best and most handsome spore supplier! It’s been an eventful few months, so get yourself a nice cup of tea or some booze, arrange your cushions to the optimum level of comfort, and buckle up for a glorious summation of the past month or so…

Reasonable tequila
A nice bit of reasonably-priced splosh

Got fuckin’ Covid

I’m going to start early by saying that I love vaccinations and if you don’t that’s great, I don’t care. If you feel the burning need to try and engage in any kind of vaccine chat, feel free to post your well-reasoned arguments to “the bin closest to you” to save me having to read them, cheers.

Basically I got quite ill, had to take a week or so off my day job. Tested negative every day. I was due to go back, did a test, and then tested positive and got properly sick for a good ten days. It was fucking horrible. Turns out I had some kind of funky chest infection the first week and then managed to upgrade that to a nice slice of Covid the following week. Lovely. First time I’d had it, and I had this vision in my head of “yeah boyee I’ll just play video games and chill out with some time off work” but it actually turns out I was too miserable to play any games and it fucking sucked. I was then in a huge panic because I was due to fly to Amsterdam with the Mycopunks crew. I finally managed to test negative the day before I had to travel, which was cutting it a bit close to the bone for my liking!

Fucking bellend

Went to Amsterdam

I went to Amsterdam! That’s been a long-term destination since I was a 15 year old stoner sitting around going “wow man I’d love to go there because you can smoke weed wherever you like and they’ve got titty ladies in the windows”. I am now 40, I don’t smoke weed any more, and I’m in committed relationship, but get this – it turns out there’s more to Amsterdam than fannies and plants! Who knew?!

It was quite a laugh travelling with the Mycopunks team as they’re all lovely people, and we went about our merry way, carousing and cavorting all over the place. Special mentions go to the awesome microbe museum, Micropia, where you can look at all kinds of microscopic shenanigans (including mycelium, obviously), the suggestively named steakhouse Mr Meat (spoilers: Mr Meat did indeed put his fingers in my mouth and on the way out I was drunk so I told him I loved him and I regret nothing), and the best escape room I’ve ever experienced at Amsterdam Catacombs. I seriously lost my shit at one part of the experience, it was amazing, if you go to Amsterdam you should absolutely give it a go.

Lovely dinner, great company, yes I take the mask everywhere, I’m like Batman

Yeah I still went to a weed shop and the Red Light district

Well I couldn’t not, could I? When in Rome and all that.

Weed shops: probably really cool if that’s your bag (pun intended), I bought a joint of drugs that made me conduct a forensically thorough character assassination of myself for several hours after just a few tokes (this is why I don’t normally smoke weed) so yeah, turns out even if I’m in Amsterdam, the Devil’s Lettuce ain’t the right high for me.

We then went to a shop where we could buy magic truffles, which was nice! I was, however, half-cut from lots of nice lager and whisky, and the shop man was actually being ethical and refused to sell them to me until the next day. Fuck that, obviously, so I got the lovely Paola Mycopunks to get them for me, and then I also went next door to a shop that advertised something called “Sex Opium” and let me tell you, that guy didn’t give a fuck, and sold me lots of truffles.

The Red Light district was, to be honest, fucking weird. Like I say, I’m 40 now, and not to brag, but I’ve seen upwards of four vaginas in my life, and several pairs of boobs, so it’s not got quite the same draw for me as it had when I was 15, where the sum total of bob and vegene views was zero, despite all my best efforts. There was a different atmosphere there to the rest of the place, it was a lot more hectic whereas all the other places we went to were super relaxed and friendly.

Also there were a whole lot of people queueing up to watch porn in cinemas which is something that spun me out a bit given the fact that we’ve all got the Porno Device in our pockets 24/7 these days. Takes all sorts, innit.

Chris at Mushroom Museum
Chris always looks this suspicious

Mushrooms, Liquid Culture, etc

So it transpires that in Amsterdam you can buy liquid culture in the shops, which is cool because it’s a really good way to grow mushrooms (speeds things up quite a bit, and you can make sure it’s super clean). Sadly, it’s illegal in the UK as contains mycelium, so even though it’s super easy to make, you can’t. Because of this, no-one really sells spores over there! What a place.

Classic B. Dolan

Royal Mail strikes again

Once more just in case – I support the strike action, people need more money. The Royal Mail strikes are fuckin’ killing me. There have been four strike days in the past two weeks, and the amount of emails I get about it is crazy. People are very understanding when I explain to them, which is nice, but it adds a lot of time to my already stretched day, so if you’re reading this, don’t worry, it’s all on it’s way still, it’s just late due to the state of Tory Britain.

Anyway, that’s what’s been on – stay safe, and remember, don’t vote Tory.