False Alarm – Potato Record Safe

Some of you may have missed this, but there was quite a kerfuffle in potato growing circles when Lebanese farmer Khalil Semhat claimed to have unearthed the world’s largest spud. It weighed in at just an ounce shy of 25 lbs!

Mr Semhat called in the good folks at the Guinness Book. They were obviously quite interested because a 25 lb tater would be over three times the size of the existing record. Such a find would be almost too good to be true.

Turns out, Mr Semhat doesn’t know his Solanum tuberosum from his Ipomoea batatas. Yes, that’s right, Khalil grew a sweet potato, which despite it’s English name is only distantly related to the white potato. Now you may be thinking that’s a pretty big sweet potato, and I’d have to agree. However, it is nowhere near record size, that being 81lb 9oz.

The world record for a proper potato is still held by Kenny Sloane of Patrick, Isle of Man. It is reported in the Isle of Man news that upon hearing his 1994 record was safe, Mr Sloane was “pleased”. That’s about as exciting as it gets in the Isle of Man. This is the top Manx news story for today.

Bannaghtyn

I was reading the Manx Independent newspaper online this evening and looked at the regular Manx language feature. This led me to the Ynsee Gaelg website. Ynsee Gaelg means “learn Manx”.

From the first lesson, the long history of Christianity in the Isle of Man is evident in the idiom of greeting. One of the simple greetings in Manx is “Bannaghtyn”, which means “blessings”. What a nice way to greet someone.

Being a Celtic language (more specifically a Goidelic Celtic language, related to Scots Gaelic and Irish), it’s not easy to learn. It takes eleven lesson before it is time to talk about pets. Apparently an essential sentence is “Ta kayt aym as t’eh breimeragh” – I have a cat and he farts.

The website doesn’t make it clear, but I’m guessing this isn’t a nice way to greet someone.