PC 175 POD(s)

My Oxford Illustrated Dictionary, circa 1962 and given to me by my Godmother for my 16th birthday, is a mine of information laid out in a delightfully old-fashioned way, with some gorgeous little drawings. The thick blue-bound, rather battered reference book smells a little musty if I am honest and therefore not the Go-To tome if you are allergic to dust!

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From it, this is an example of “A. Dry Fruits and B. Succulent Fruits.” And No 2 is labelled ‘Legume (pea)’ and the figure 14 says Pod or Hull. If you then go to ‘Pod’ further down the alphabet you get the description: “Long seed-vessel, especially of leguminous plants (eg pea or bean); cocoon of silkworm; case of locust’s eggs; narrow-necked eel net”. Marvellous language, English, isn’t it? One word meaning many many things!

If you buy your Broad Beans frozen, providing of course that Iceland or your local supermarket has not been raided by those with two chest freezers in their double garage, you have missed the sexiest thing possible to do with raw vegetables. When they are in season, buy some broad beans in their pods (better still, go to a pick-your-own farm), break open the pod to expose not only the broad beans but also the inside of the pod itself, covered in light green, silken hairs. Run your fingers over these hairs – sexy huh?

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If you have the time it’s worth taking the outer skin off the broad bean to reveal the tender inner one. Do this by placing the beans in a small saucepan of boiling water for two minutes, drain and then dunk in a bowl of cold water. Pop the bean from their thick, leathery skin by squeezing gently – so-called double–podding. (You see, you probably didn’t know this is a verb?)

The dictionary also informs me that pod is the name for the socket of a brace and bit (of a drill) ……. and a small herd of seals or whales. I imagine everyone has watched at least one of David Attenborough’s nature programmes and somewhere will have seen either pods of dolphins, or killer Orcas, or poor little Sardines forming pods to present a more intimidating sight for feasting whales.

In our C21st we tend to ‘Google’ – so ‘pod’ gets Pay on Demand (Note 1), Print on Demand, Payable on Death and ‘POD’, an American-Christian nu (sic) metal band formed in San Diego in 1992. Here in the seaside city of Brighton & Hove we have the British Airways i360, locally irreverently called The Doughnut, which offers passengers an opportunity to see the city and the sea from 138m high up in its 18m diameter observation pod.

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In the last century if you went camping you took a canvas tent and pitched it in some farmer’s field. Nowadays you can hire a camping pod, complete with running water and electricity. Glamping anyone?

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Any excess luggage needed for your stay can be packed into your car’s roof-rack storage pod.

If you are a foodie you will recognise the term Chocolate pods. Whilst the natural ones are the seed pods on the cocoa shrub, nowadays you can buy pods from Galaxy, from Nespresso, from Hotel Chocolat etc to create your perfect Chocolate drink.

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And if you are involved with the Armed Forces there are fuel pods of varying capacity and weapon pods, slung underneath fighter aircraft or infra-red flare pods to be activated against SAMs or AAMs

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The current Coronavirus pandemic has created a whole new lexicon, words I hadn’t known existed or have been specifically invented – ‘social-distancing’, ‘lock down’ ‘self-isolating’ ‘herd immunity’ to name but a few. Who knew you could have a NHS Coronavirus ‘Priority Assessment Pod’?

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And the word pod has been attached to the word sky to describe a new transportation system to be developed in Dubai, where Skypods on a monorail will whiz commuters around the city by 2030. A British company, BeemCar, has just signed a contract for this new form of travel.pc 175 8

We have all heard of the iPod, I imagine – “a pocket-sized portable music-playing device produced by Apple” – which first hit the shops in October 2001 and currently on its 7th iteration. What you may not know is that ‘pod’, in this case, is thought to mean ‘portable open database’.

Then we come to Podcast – a joining together of iPod and broadcast – ‘An episodic series of digital audio files that a user can download to a personal device in order to listen (to?).’ So for those who normally spend a lot of time in a car or travelling by train, this is a way to listen to every imaginable type of broadcast, from songs, to comments, to news, to reviews.

I have signed up to a Podcast platform giving me space to ‘publish’ my audio PCs. I have recorded the first 30 or so and published them on the platform. To ensure a free posting, I am limited to the number of hours of published content. In a month or so when I have recorded more I will start deleting the earliest ones. I only have just over another 140 to record so that’s some 16 hours of talking into a microphone, so don’t hold your breath, although with the self-imposed (Government diktat?) isolation for three months it seems a good time to tackle it ……… after clearing out this cupboard and that drawer, pulling out the fridge, moving the bed and vacuuming underneath, turning the mattress, clearing out the wardrobe, pulling out the outline chapters for that book you started in the last century etc or trying again to learn some basic Brazilian Portuguese.

And the name of the Podcast platform? Podbean! (Note 2) Bringing me nicely full circle to pods and broad beans!

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Richard 2nd April 2020

Note 1: Payment on Delivery used to be called Cash on Delivery COD

Note 2: Simply download the Podbean App and search for The Postcardscribbles.

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