Tallest building in Europe opens in London

6 07 2012

Standing at 1,016ft the Shard in London is officially the tallest building in Europe.

 

After 3 years of construction and more than 12 years of planning and design the “vertical city” was the site of a fantastic laser light show to mark its opening.

The Shard was first conceived by entrepreneur Irvine Sellar and Italian architect Renzo Piano, with funding for the project coming from the Qatari royal family.

Earlier the governor of Qatar Central Bank, Abdullah Saoud Al-Thani, said the Shard marked the Arab state’s “belief and commitment to London both today and in the future”.

“It is a symbol of Qatar’s belief and commitment to London both today and in the future,” he said. “We have a long heritage and continued commitment to invest and build in the UK for the long term and The Shard highlights this close relationship.”

All that to one side it is actually kind of cool to have something like this in London. I am just sad enough to make a point of buying the new Guinness Book of Records each year and love all the little stats and facts like who is fattest or what is tallest.

The fact that it will cost a modest 25 quid for a view from the top just shows the enterprising view which my home city takes towards tourists and their hard-earned cash and once again makes me proud to be a Londoner 😉

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Naga Viper – The World’s Hottest Chilli Pepper?

15 12 2010

There has been a lot of buzz for a while now that the fearsome Bhut Jolokia has been knocked off its top spot as the world’s hottest chilli pepper.

It was announced back in October that Gerald Fowler from the Chilli Pepper Company had grown a new chilli that had not just beaten the Bhut but had destroyed it…. not only that but it has been developed and grown in the UK of all unlikely places.

The name of this deadly little beauty, the Naga Viper and here it is:

Rather unassuming for something that would melt your face and having you rushing for the chilled toilet paper.

The Viper is the result of selective cross breeding of the Bhut Jolokia, Naga Morich and the Trinidad Scorpion all of which are so hot it is not even funny.

Warwick University HRI have carried out HPLC testing on the Viper and have returned some pretty impressive numbers, it seems this bad boy has a LOT of heat 1,349,000 SHU to be precise.

Now numbers by themselves don’t always mean a lot to people so here is a quick comparison:

Bhut Jolokia – 1,001,304

Red Savina Habanero – 350,000 – 577,000

Jalapeno – 2500-8000

So we are looking at a chilli that is over 250 times the heat of a jalapeno, now that is hot!

There is an awful lot of dispute going on as to the veracity of the results, in particular there are claims that NMSU  are the only real authority in terms of accurately measuring the heat of a chilli, whether NMSU are the be all or not one thing is certain further verification will be required before Guinness start handing out world record certificates.

As of the end of October Gerald Fowler was in the process of sending pods away for DNA testing so before too much longer it will be official one way or the other.

Personally I think that whether or not the Viper is crowned top dog it is only a matter of time before someone in the UK turns out a world-beating variety and it says a lot about the skill and dedication  of chilli growers in the UK that they are turning out chilli peppers that are even in contention considering the huge climatic disadvantages we suffer from in this part of the world.

Picture credit – cascade news




The Nutshell – Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

11 11 2010

According to the Guinness Book of Records the Nutshell in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk is the smallest pub in the UK.

 Whether this is the case or not is up for dispute as at least 2 other pubs that I am aware of make the same claim, either way it is bloody small, about 15ft x 7ft according to the barman.

You can fit about 15 people in The Nutshell in moderate comfort but the record stands at a massive 102 back in 1984, having spent many evenings in the Nutshell all I can say is I hope they all knew each other well, if they didn’t prior to going in they did when they came out!

There is an awful lot to look at in the Nutshell, especially considering it is such a small pub, there is a stags head on one wall and there used to be a stuffed black cat as well, apparently it was found during renovations bricked up behind an old chimney!

Unsurprisingly as it is only 5 minutes down the road Greene King is well represnted in the Nutshell with their I.P.A and Abbott Ale always in residence.

The Nutshell is always popular with tourists and during the summer months can be a bit busy regardless of when you pop in, the rest of the time it is just a regular local pub, all be it in miniature.

Well worth a visit if you happen to be in the area.








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