Back at the offices of FLABI (Floral Liberty and Bio Integrity) Dr Ricky Coast was in a bit of a state. He hadn’t heard from Bob Banner since his last call via the satellite phone, since then nothing…and even that call had been cut short due to a bad connection…
The trip to Nepal should have been an easy one for Bob, the climb would have been tough but the plant identification should have been easy….why was it taking so long????
FLABI were short on funding and in dire need of a successful project, one that the UK Government could get behind ….and then be able to approve the types of budgets required to successfully monitor and eradicate invasive species within the UK.
Gone were the high profile days when the Aphalara psyllid successfully stopped the spread of Japanese Knotweed in late 2025 – when there was a National Holiday declared. The famous scientist Sir Dick Shaw was poster boy for the campaign and became hero to Ricky Coast as a young boy.
Sir Dick was now residing on a tropical island which he bought with the proceeds of a patent that he took out on an insect repellent which became popular around the time of the psyllid release. Unfortunately he has lost his marbles and spends most of his time chasing anything strange that arrives on his beach shouting … ‘out,out,out….no aliens allowed…’
Thinking fondly of Sir Dick, Ricky thought about the last conference where all of his colleagues had been together and remembered that Bob Banner had spent much of the evening talking to the eminent businessman Mike Clough author of ‘Invasive Plants and Fast Cars’ a children’s book based on a character who on the one hand cares for the environment… whilst at the same time driving the world’s worst gas guzzling supercars. The book had been popular with readers mourning the loss of Jeremy Clarkson from our TV screens following the demise of Top Gear.
Bob had been talking closely to Clough and Ricky even remembered seeing Clough pass a small envelope to Bob…probably some of the famous ‘fertile’ Japanese knotweed seeds that had appeared on the ‘dark internet’ a few years ago.
All of these thoughts were useful but didn’t lead any closer to why Bob had disappeared and why nobody was talking about where he could be….
The only answer was to fly out to Nepal and get on the case himself.