BBC: Fyffes and Chiquita to create biggest banana firm
Irish fruit firm Fyffes and US rival Chiquita are to merge to create the world's largest banana company.
BBC (Evan Davis): The case for making Hebden Bridge the UK's second city
Birmingham and Manchester are usually mentioned when the subject of Britain's second city comes up. But is Hebden Bridge—population 4,200—the rightful owner of the title?
I'm tempted to say it should be first, but I have divided loyalties. As we all know, Liverpool is currently the UK's first city.
Compare and contrast:
We have a right to know.
Talking of Scarlett Johansson—which, if you've been paying attention, you'll remember I was—you might have heard that the actress came under considerable flak recently for becoming a ‘brand ambassador’ for SodaStream™: a device that allows people to make their own fizzy drinks. SodaStream™ is an Israeli company that operates in the occupied West Bank. Being associated with the company was seen as being incompatible with Ms Johansson's role as a global ambassador for Oxfam. So she quit her Oxfam role.
This whole sorry SodaStream™ saga has an unexpected bright side, however. In the unlikely event that I should ever find myself at a cocktail party chatting with Scarlett Johansson, I will now be able to explain to her how we have something in common. You see, many years ago, SodaStream™ also landed me in a whole lot of trouble.
It was down to my enquiring mind, you see. Our grandmother had bought my sister and me a SodaStream™ device. We seldom used it. This was partly because you had to buy a special concentrate to covert the fizzy water made in the machine into the flavour of your choice, and this concentrate soon ran out. But it was mostly because we were terrified of the damn contraption. Every time you released the yellow lever to remove the freshly enfizzed bottle of water from the device, the gas pressure made the lever shoot back so violently, it nearly took your arm off. I exaggerate only slightly. So the thing languished pretty much unused in the back of the cupboard.
Until, that is, my mum was enjoying a bottle of white wine one evening, and I decided to find out whether you could use a SodaStream™ to convert cheap plonk into finest Champagne.
The answer to that question turned out to be ‘no’.
What I also learnt that evening was that white wine placed in a SodaStream™ tended to explode in a rather spectacular manner. So spectacular, that only a thimble-full of nasty, fizzy wine remained in the bottle, while the rest was sprayed across all four kitchen walls, as well as the ceiling.
As I say, I don't think it's very likely that I will ever find myself chatting with Scarlett Johansson at a cocktail party—cocktail parties are just not my scene—but, in that unlikely event, at least we'll have something to laugh about together. Perhaps we might even see if it's possible to make fizzy cocktails in a SodaStream™ device. Based on my previous experience in this area, I should imagine the result might look something like this:
Who knows, perhaps Scarlett and I might turn out to be the West's answer to Vyacheslav Molotov.