• April 2011
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Wedding Vale

From the Evening Times

At least 400 people are expected to attend a street party to celebrate this month’s Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton.

It is being held at Dalmonach, Vale Of Leven, and is the only formal application received by West Dunbartonshire Council for a street party on April 29.

Organiser Michelle Stewart said that although the event would mark the wedding, it also aimed to unite the local people and would highlight a campaign to save a community centre from being shut by the council and revamp the local park.

Televisions inside the community centre will screen the wedding.

The council is providing £1000 to help fund the event and it is also being supported by local businesses.


Red Hot Chilli Peppers

From the Sydney Morning Herald

A FARM in Lake Macquarie is growing what may be the world’s hottest strain of chillies, but preparing them for the public is a task akin to chemical warfare.

The variety, bright red and about the size of a dollar coin, is called the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T.

Its grower, Marcel de Wit, of the Chilli Factory in Morisett, sent samples for chemical analysis to ascertain just how it measured up.

The answer was stratospheric, reported EML Chem in Melbourne, where normal duties can include working with explosives.

Chilli potency is measured on the Scoville scale. A jalapeno, as used in Tabasco sauce, contains about 5000 Scoville heat units; a bird’s eye chilli packs between 50,000 and 100,000.

The Trinidad Scorpion Butch T sample topped 1.46 million.

Mr de Wit says this is a world record, but that, like chilli itself, is hotly disputed. Guinness World Records says the present record holder is the Naga Viper chilli, measuring 1.38 million.

A sauce containing 58 per cent Trinidad Scorpion Butch T chilli, and called Scorpion Strike, will be launched at the Royal Easter Show. For portions of the manufacturing process, Mr de Wit dressed in protective clothing including an industrial gas mask to fend off the fumes as the chillies boiled.

Videos of Mr de Wit and Neil Smith of the Hippy Seed Company, which brought the chillies to Australia, show them struggling to eat the raw chillies. From behind fogged glasses, Mr Smith likens the experience to applying a soldering iron to his tongue and throat.

Mr de Wit’s wife, Connie, said she finds the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T too fierce for her palate, although she has watched braver souls try them.

”A lot of people start sticking their tongue out and start flapping their hands around,” she said.

Despite an intensity that would overpower most, the chillies are said to have a fruity taste. ”It’s a bit like a banana and an orange together – like a fruit salad,” said Mr de Wit, who answers to the title of the Hot Chilli Chef.

Asked for advice on how to use the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T in cooking, he advised: ”Very sparingly.”

And it occurred to me that this would be an appropriate ‘morning after’ song.

The Truth About Libya

Great article by Johann Hari in last Friday’s Independent, which I’ve just read.

Hari outlines in graphic detail why the excuse put forward by Messrs Sarkozy, Cameron and Obama is a lie. The excuse of protecting human rights, were it true, would mean that NATO planes would be concerned with many more places than Libya. Hari cites Pakistan* and Congo for starters.

Perhaps his best line, whilst puzzling over why Egypt Tunisia and Bahrain’s regimes were given tacit as well as practical support, was to question how the three leaders seem to have suddenly become the military wing of Amnesty International.

*Whilst Libya underwent its heaviest night of bombing since the campaign began, The Pakistani government were busy making plans to divert money from education to the military. Hopefully this will not include the figure not unadjacent to £700 million given to them by that nice Mr Cameron.

Johann Hari’s full article is here