The explorer David Hempleman-Adams has been on a radio travel program this morning, talking about one of many trips to Antarctica he has made, and as he talked, the first predicted flakes of snow fell from the sky and settled on the frozen streets of Bath outside.
D.H-A. lives in Box, just outside Bath, as does the other famous British explorer, John Blashford-Snell. What is it about Box which attracts explorers, and what is it about explorers that attract double-barreled names?
I have never met David H-A, but I am fairly good mates with his brother, who drinks at my local. I don't know what David is like as an explorer, but one thing I do know is that the Hempleman-Adams family is extremely good at producing stunningly beautiful daughters - his brother's 16 year old is jaw-droppingly pretty, as is his own 16 year old who he recently took on a trip to the Antarctic, making her the youngest person ever to have set foot on the continent. I think that her cousin went with her in the party, but I will ask her that next time she is with her dad in the pub.
When I lived in Box, John Blashford-Snell's daughter, Victoria, worked behind the bar of my then local, The Chequers - what is it about the beautiful daughters of famous explorers and pubs?
When asked about his hopes and fears for the frozen continent, D.H-A. expressed his deep and justified dread that some other country will lay claim to the vast resources of oil that are predicted to lie beneath the ice cap, with the inevitable consequences to the pristine environment.
As you probably know, the unwritten law which applies to Antarctica is that anything that is taken in there must be taken out again, and this applies to (not to put too fine a point on it) human waste. The presenter of this program (broadcast from Buckingham Palace!) chose the 16 year-old Amelia to ask the rhetorical question regarding poo to - from a panel of about four 50+ year-olds - which I thought was a somewhat cruel choice. I suppose we have to make allowances for the fact that he spent a year or two chained to a radiator in the Lebanon, though.
The imagery of an oil field disaster in the area is probably the most the most potentially 'iconic' of any other image of any other disaster possible. Never mind the fragile existence of bird life, etc.
Black on White.
Just think of it - Black on White. Could there ever be anything so shocking and irreversibly tragic as photos or video footage of square miles of thick, black crude spilling out over a virginally white landscape - a landscape which has remained pure and untouched for longer than any other on the planet?
Never mind if Blackpool is razed to the ground by an earthquake - keep on fracking. We can always build another tower.