Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Dedication's What You Need...

...if you want to be a Record Breaker! Record Breakers was a lovely children's programme,  which began in the early 1970s, featuring the late great Roy Castle, and the amazing McWhirter Twins [who produced the Guinness Book of Records]
In every school I have ever worked in, the children have loved this annual of amazing facts. The 2018 edition came out this week. The first edition was the result of an argument in 1954! Sir Hugh Beaver, then managing director of the Guinness Brewery, was at a weekend shooting party in County Wexford, Ireland. 
Guests began disagreeing about the fastest game bird in Europe. This was pre-Internet - and so they had to research library books in a vain attempt to find the answer. Beaver recognised a gap in the market- where could one go to answer these questions about fastest, tallest, oldest, largest...? He found Ross and Norris McWhirter, fact-finding journalists working in Fleet Street, and set them the task of compiling such a reference work.
The rest is history! And now libraries and schools order this sparkling volume each autumn, and children [and adults] pore over the fascinating facts therein. The "longest fingernails" always intrigues the kids - I note that 2015's chap from India now has been beaten by a woman now
The Guinness World Records website is packed with information. The rules have tightened up in recent years. Record breaking attempts involving very dangerous stunts or rapid-eating challenges are now [rightly] frowned upon. A local baker here in Dorset is aiming to get into the books this week with the world's largest Victoria Sponge.

Steven Oxford, from Sherborne spent a whole day baking this cake for his son's birthday - and it was revealed at the Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival on Sunday night. The cake is 60" across and 8" high. Containing 700 eggs, 50kg of butter, 35kg of jam, 68kg of flour and 59kg of sugar, it was made in a tin created by a local engineering firm, and sandwiched together using a forklift truck.
I doubt Mr Oxford will win GBBO - but the GWR says there is currently no Victoria Sponge Record, so maybe he is in with a chance! I'm intrigued by his recipe though-  don't the WI say that you should have the same weight of eggs, butter, sugar and flour for the perfect Victoria Sponge?
Last month friends took part in the Penzance Pirate Gathering Attempt- but sadly didn't beat the existing record. Have you ever taken part in a GWR event?[successful or otherwise]


  1. Thank you so much for sharing the origins of this amazing book! I didn't know that. The fingernails one always creeps me out as they remind me of the Dr Who serial, The Curse of Fenric, which terrorized me as a child for at least 3years.
    I have actually been part of a Record Attempt. In 1998, I was part of a successful attempt to have the most recorder players playing a piece together at the Royal Albert Hall! I.played the Sub Contra Bass recorder on the stage.Xx

  2. Oh, how we grimace over those nails every time!

  3. I had a copy of this when I was a young boy and was intrigued by the photograph of the world's tallest man, Robert Wadlow, at 8'11.1". I thought I would go for that record but gave up when I got to 6'2". Does he still hold the record?

    1. At 8'11, I think he was tallest, but there's a man living in Turkey who is 8'3.

  4. Those nails are the worst thing I have ever seen!

  5. How would you scratch your nose?

    1. Forget the nose, how does she do ANYTHING????


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