Training day 1 – Friday 27th February am

 

There’s many sides to this record – Firstly, there’s the equipment, needs to be made and as the record currently stands at 20.65 meters cubed (which is a very big bubble!), I’ll need to have extra long poles, just to keep the extra long strings from hitting the floor! The poles I’ll be using are 3 meters tall, and once they’ve got wet strings hanging off the end, are pretty heavy. Not heavy like you can’t pick them up, but heavy like once you’ve been holding them up in the air for more than 5 minutes, you really start to notice the muscle ache.

The muscles down the centre of the forearm are the first to feel it, followed by the muscles in the shoulder/neck area, and across the shoulder-blades.

So there’s a physical side to this which requires exercise and training.

Not to mention that equipment of this size doesn’t handle easily and needs to be gotten used to. It’s awkward. They’re long. Just getting the strings back in the bucket takes time and focus.

 

Then there’s the juice – it’s got to be ‘A’ grade, fresh and fruity.

The conditions on the day – the humidity, wind speed, cloud cover and temperature all play a part.

Location too.

 

And all this before you even think about how you’re going to measure a large moving translucent irregular object. The Guinness stipulations are considerably extraenuous and if you don’t get it just right, they’ll disallow your record.

 

Upon applying for a record attempt through the GWR website they send through the list of rules and regs, plus a list of evidence they need to approve it. I thought that they would be happy to allow the same method for this as when I successfully attempted the indoor version, but the stipulations state that it has to be measured by a qualified surveyor.

To me, a surveyor is someone who charges a significant amount of money to come and look at a house and not tell you much.

So I’m now on the phone to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors to see if they can help!

…. Sometimes my job leads me into situations talking to people I would never have considered might be involved in bubbles... you should have heard the receptionists reactions when i told them what i needed! Kinda wish i'd recorded them actually. I then sent them this picture to give them an idea of what i needed:

I got one message back saying:

"Unfortunately we have limited experience in this area of work and therefore would not be able to assist you on this occasion. We would like to thank you for your enquiry and wish you good luck with your world record attempt.

but another, from Vicki, looks hopeful!

"Thanks for this!! That's wicked!! I have forwarded to my director and asked if he is available next week to measure up for you?.."

 

 

Day 2

Wind speed 12mph and gusting. Southerly.

Temperature 8 degrees

Humidity 70%

Saturday morning and I figure I can easily kill two birds with one stone here – best weather conditions are in the morning generally as it tends to be less windy and the humidity is often higher, so I get up early with the kids and let Roanne have a lie in. Brownie points...

I give them breakfast and sort out my equipment, whilst telling them I’m off to the park to do my practise, and would they like to come with? Reuben was up for it, so I grabbed a smaller set of sticks and a sword so he could join in.

The wind speed according to BBC weather is at around 12mph (Southerly), getting windier as the day goes on. This is a bit too windy for me, but I was hopeful that even if it was too windy, I could at least start getting used to the equipment. Full cloud cover, but no rain predicted. Humidity at 70% which is pretty good. My main issue would be the wind.

We wandered up to Downhill’s park (my local) with the aim of doing a bit of a location recce. Downhills park used to be the gardens for a big manor house, back when Tottenham was a very well-to-do area. The Manor has gone, but there’s little tell tale bits of rocks and wall’s, and I suspect grandchildren of trees dotted around. There’s a surprising amount of history in Tottenham: It was a big Quaker area back in the 1800’s.

 

Location 1 – the green outside Downhills Park Café.

This is a good location – it’s big enough that no tree or telephone wires etc are going to pop my bubble and has a selection of spaces to give some protection from the wind. Another good point is that being near to the café, they are taking a very active interest in what I’m doing and tweeting about my efforts. Plus they give me free tea!

The bad point is that this is where most people congregate, increasing my chances of small people/dogs popping the bubble. But, I’m glad to say that people respected my attempts and wholeheartedly were behind me, with plenty of interest/encouragement.

We got reasonable results for the conditions, especially Reuben who by far and away made the biggest bubble he’s ever made! I wonder if he’ll follow in my footsteps…

 

Location 2 – a car park at the edge of the park. I figured this seemed very sheltered but actually the wind is so squally that it keeps changing direction and speed and so unpredictable that I couldn’t really get anything off the ground. It was interesting to explore the area around this though where I discovered there is an abandoned part of Downhills school, occupied for security only. Interesting space… I could imagine it being a great place to have the Bubble HQ!

 

Location 3 – The Rose Garden.

What with the Southerly wind, this was not good for bubbles – the wind blew straight up the path and whilst it’s the prettiest locaton, not good for bubbles

 

Location 4 – the entrance walk into Lordship Rec

We’re lucky enough to have several parks in walking distance, and this one backs onto Downhills Park. Again, like the Rose Garden, it was a bit of a wind tunnel. But there was a very good sheltered spot behind a fallen tree where we spent the remaining time/juice practising, much to the delight of the locals.

Juice all used up, we wandered back to the cafe to meet up with Roanne and Jasmine and treat ourselves to chocolate croissants.

Written by Sam Heath — March 03, 2015

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