We have America to thank for National Watermelon Day which falls annually on this day. Why the 3rd August? Who cares, it's a good excuse to eat a watermelon, carve a watermelon, or, in our case, use watermelons in cocktails.
But first, 10 fun facts from America's National Watermelon Promotion Board:
- Watermelons compose of around 70% flesh and 30% find but 100% of a watermelon is usable -- the rind is edible and can be used like a vegetable in dishes, stir-fried, stewed or pickled.
- An average seedless watermelon yields about 11 cups of cubes and 6 cups of juice.
- The first recorded watermelon harvest occurred nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt.
- Watermelons are around 92% water so eating them is a good way to stay hydrated.
- Watermelon's official name is Citrullus Lanatus of the botanical family Curcurbitaceae. It is cousins to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.
- By weight, watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the U.S., followed by cantaloupe and honeydew.
- Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.
- The first cookbook published in the U.S. in 1796 was titled "American Cookery" and contained a recipe for watermelon rind pickles.
- According to Guinness World Records, the world's heaviest watermelon was grown by Chris Kent of Sevierville, Tennessee in 2013, weighing in at 350.5 lbs / 158.98kgs.
Not to be outdone by the National Watermelon Promotion Board, we present 10 watermelon cocktails (click names for recipes):
- Watermelon Caipirinha
- Watermelon Margarita
- Watermelon Martini
- Miami Martini
- Agua de Cuba
- Watermelon & Basil Smash
- Watermelon Badita
- Red Melon'tini
- Watermelon Cosmo
- Watermelon Man
Nautilus under the North Pole
Navigating under the North Pole is no mean feat but at 11.15pm on 3 August 1958, Captain Anderson and the crew of the USS Nautilus submarine did exactly that - despite magnetism confusing conventional guidance systems, and there being absolutely nothing to see.
They discovered that the Arctic Sea stretched more than (2½ miles 4,000 metres) below the North Pole's ice floes. Avoiding antagonising the USSR, they travelled between Alaska and Iceland at the impressive speed of around 25 mph (40 kph). Anderson hoped that passenger submarines would one day ply the route. They don't - yet his achievement deserves celebrating with the aptly named Submarine Kiss.
"The lamps are going out all over Europe"
This day in 1914, the British Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, looked out over a darkening London and remarked: "The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."
Germany declared war on Russia on the 1st August 1914 and France on the 3rd, also invading Belgium on the same day. Britain had promised to protect Belgium so the invasion effectively forced Britain's entry into the First World War. Millions would die in the trenches, and millions more would live the rest of their lives with injuries and trauma.
In the hope we never see a Third World War, we're toasting Sir Edward with a Moonlight Cocktail, a riff on the Aviation created by the great Garry 'gaz' Regan. We'll leave you with our favourite, very British, joke about American defence policy: "The Americans were late for the first two World Wars so they're trying to be really punctual for the third."