First things first: I am still alive! The attempt is still on. I had some worrying stirrings in my stomach for two days after a curry (lamb bhuna) but they passed and I didn’t die so it’s all looking good.
This isn't the first time I've looked danger in the face and won. You’re probably wondering how I can possibly keep up this incessant march towards the world record. Well, I should admit that for the last couple of weeks I have had some help. All too aware that more potentially deadly curries could be lurking round every corner, I found myself a pace-setter, a running-mate, a friend-for-life.
If you've been following my progress closely, you may have heard me enigmatically mention this lady on twitter – she’s called Rosie and has generally been lounging round, eating salad and, crucially, not dying for the past couple of weeks. She's an ideal sparring partner. As a female she’s not a rival for the record and I have a feeling that, even though she’s already fifty years old, she’ll keep me company for decades to come.
Because I sneakily neglected to mention one important detail: Rosie is a tortoise.
I’ve always felt that the species that lives longest is the best (because, of course, everything should be a competition). Life is about survival. That’s why we wear seatbelts and drink smoothies, that’s why tortoises have hard shells, that’s why I’m trying to break this world record. We all want to live for a long time.
So we humans can be pretty proud of ourselves. We’re not doing too badly on the longevity stakes. According to Wikipedia's list of longest living animals, humans rank 14th in the world. That’s pretty respectable (although it is also USA’s current FIFA world ranking). And unlike other species, we seem to be moving up the charts. It surely won't be long till we catch up with 'George the lobster' who, aged 140, is at number 13, or even the Geoduck (a nerdy sounding species of saltwater clam) who has been known to live over 160 years.
But at numbers 7, 8, 9 and 11 we find the tortoise – four different species of tortoise, actually: a Greek one (Timothy, who was 160 when he died in 2004), a Galapagos one (Harriet, who was born died in 2006 aged 175 and allegedly met Charles Darwin), a Radiated one (Tu'i Malila, who made it to 188 and is the world's oldest verified vertebrate) and an Aldabra Giant one (Adwaita, who is unverified but may well have been a majestic 250 years old when he died in March 2006).
Now, my Rosie is a Mediterranean tortoise who can, experts say, live for 80 years or more. So much like humans. And unlike most other pets. Dogs and cats would make poor running mates, with their rather feeble ‘dog years’ and ‘cat years’, whereas tortoises often outlive their owners (which, sadly, is how Rosie and I were brought together).
She may not look particularly youthful (in fact, she looks like she’s at least three millennia old), but she’s playing a canny game. She seems to avoid anything that looks even remotely dangerous. If a shadow passes near her she instantly retreats into her shell. That’s the sort of attention to detail that has earnt tortoises their high world rankings – and that’s what I’m going to try to emulate.
Later on in the week I’ll make a little film showing Rosie’s typical day but until then, all you really need to imagine is a wise little head, inside a tank-like shell, studiously surviving every minute of every day by doing very little indeed.
If you're wondering what the top 6 long living animals in the world are, we have:
At number six, Red Sea Urchins, who live to over 200 years but make disappointing pets
Bowhead Whales at number 5 who, at 211 years, are the oldest mammals but are impractical to own
Koi fish (at number 4) who I did try to obtain - the oldest koi, Hanako, died in 1977 at the age of 226 - but I'm rubbish at fishing
At three, an Icelandic mollusk called the ocean quahog who has lived over 400 years but who, frankly, gives me the creeps
An Antarctic sponge, at number 2, that is estimated to be 1,550 years old but whom I wouldn't trust myself not to eat
And, at number one, a little beast called Turritopsis Nutricula who is a cheat. He's a Hydrozoan species, related to jellyfish, who can turn from a mature adult to an immature polyp and back again, meaning that there is no natural limit to his life span. Clever, but would the Guinness Book of Records allow it? I doubt it.
And if you want to choose a slightly more common animal to accompany your own long life, there are a couple of other surprising options, besides the tortoise:
You could get a tuatara (a type of lizard whose likeness I happen to have tattooed on my left arm (which will almost certainly be the oldest tattoo in the world one day) (the oldest tuatara tattoo at least)); a tuatara called Henry recently mated for the first time at the age of 110 in a musuem in New Zealand. That's both good going and slightly embarassing. His mate was 80. They had 11 babies. Incredible.
Or you could get a bird. Some birds are surprisingly good at not dying. Macaws can live for up to 111 years (one called Charlie is apparently still going after having been owned by Winston Churchill) (although his daughter, for some reason, denies the claim) (that's Winston's daughter - not Charlie's daughter). Cockatoos can live to their 70s. Even ravens can live to 50. Get a raven!
But don’t get a humming bird. They only live for 8 years. Pathetic.
 Although I should say (but don’t have to) that Innocent smoothies are good for you and tasty (thank you for those smoothies, Innocent – I shall break this damned record for you if it’s the last thing I do – which it will be).
 When I say ‘we all’, I appreciate that I shouldn’t really say ‘we’ or ‘all’ – ‘some of us’ is more accurate but far less impressive.
 At 10 there's some old tubeworm.
 And they make that annoying humming noise. Tortoises are pretty quiet.