Trust me when I tell you that it’s not often that a Fleming – that is, someone from Flanders, Belgium – breaks a world record. Yet, as the Flemish newspaper De Standaard reported today, 24-year-old Matthias Willemijns from the small village of Deurle in East-Flanders, has done just that. Not by running or swimming or lifting, nor any other feat of endurance. Rather, his accolade comes from growing the world’s biggest pumpkin!
This story really cheered me up. It seems as if every newspaper is talking about it. In fact, it’s almost as though nothing else happens in Belgium (actually, that would be about right!) Honestly, a few months ago my husband and I were at a loose end and so decided to look online and see what places of interest or things to do might be found in our vicinity of Antwerp. Having already seen much of what was on offer – think museums, breweries and more churches than you could shake a censer at – we were left with two, uniquely exciting options. A walk through a pedestrian tunnel, or a visit to a reptile garden where we might be able to see some tortoises sunning themselves on a rock. Faced with such hedonistic delights, someone growing a pumpkin that weighs as much as a small car, sounds too good to be true.
De Standaard gushed with enthusiasm, telling its readers that “Matthias has broken the world record by almost 150 kilos”, with his Herculean gourd weighing in at an amazing 1, 190.5 kilograms. They even provide a perspective, telling us that this means that the pumpkin “weighs almost as much as a Volkwagen Golf…or a little bit heavier than a black rhino.”
“Never has anyone grown a bigger pumpkin anywhere on the planet” De Standaard breathlessly reported. They even gave away a secret to growing impressive pumpkins: injecting useful bacteria into the underground roots.
Matthias’ hard work and effort has brought unexpected glory to a small town in East-Flanders. Previously, giant pumpkins have always been grown in the US, but two years ago, a Swiss grower set a world record of 1,045 kilos. Matthias said that he thought that “if it can be done in Switzerland, it can be done in Deurle.”
Reading the story, I couldn’t help but wonder whether Matthias might be interested in creating something of a political pumpkin, and, perhaps, setting another world record. Why not grab people by the pussy and scare the bejeezus out of them this Halloween, by carving the world’s biggest Trumpkin!