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Rocket man's bright idea.

DID you see Q.I with Stephen Fry the other night? He had some mystery gardening objects and the teams had to guess their function.

One was of particular interest to me it was a glass tube which was slightly narrower at one end.

Fry had to eventually tell the teams that it was a cucumber straightener invented by Stevenson, better known for his steam engine the Rocket. He explained a baby cucumber was placed in the narrow end and as it grew the glass corset forced it to grow straight.

But what Fry didn't tell them was why Stevenson wanted straight cucumbers. Nowadays it would be an EU directive so they could be accurately measured. But not in Stevenson's day.

He produced the cucumber straightener because he realised without it his other more expensive invention was useless. This was of course the cucumber slicer which he'd realised would only work with straight cucumbers. Now you know.

So why do I have a cucumber straightener in my collection of medical stuff? Well hard of hearing gardeners realised they made very good omnidirectional hearing aids.

You learn something new every day if you're not careful.

I was once asked to go on a show to compete for the 'Golden Anorak'. I turned it down I'm waiting for the 'Platinum Anorak' awards.


* MYSTERY MAN: Stephen Fry
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Dec 5, 2009
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