21ST MARCH 2022
Thirty years ago today, my partner, Jen, and I became a couple. To mark the anniversary, this afternoon we finally made it official by entering into a civil partnership at the local register office. (If you’ve never heard of a civil partnership, it’s basically the same as getting married, but without any of the historical religious or patriarchal baggage.)
Famously, when brainstorming the Pros and Cons of getting hitched, the occasionally over-analytical bachelor Charles Darwin noted, on the plus side, that a wife would be better than a dog. Like my hero, I have a huge soft-spot for dogs, but unlike him, I know exactly what I’m getting myself into… After three decades with Jen, I can confirm without a shadow of doubt that she knocks poor old Fido into a cocked hat!
Decades… When did I start reckoning in decades?
Some stuff I thought worth sharing:
- How a handful of prehistoric geniuses launched humanity’s technological revolution
A new study suggests many key prehistoric inventions were one-offs. Instead of being invented by different people independently, they were discovered once, then shared.
- Endurance: Shackleton’s lost ship is found in Antarctic
The ship whose loss beneath the ice led to one of the greatest stories of escape from adversity has been found on the Antarctic seafloor.
- We’re analysing DNA from ancient and modern humans to create a ‘family tree of everyone’
How linking together genetic material from thousands of people, both modern and ancient, allowed scientists to trace our ancestors, and the history of our evolution.
- Self on Sebald (audio)
Twenty years after W.G. Sebald’s untimely death, Will Self pieces together the life and work of the writer.
- Swallows opt out of migration
Climate change has allowed a small number of swallows to alter their winter strategy, remaining in the UK instead of flying south. (Sounds like good news, but it really isn’t.)
- What you need to know about comma splices
Bite-sized punctuation advice from Charles and Emma Darwin’s great-great-granddaughter, also named Emma Darwin.
Apologies for the brevity, but Jen and I are off celebrating at the moment. Thanks as ever for making time to read this newsletter. If you have any friends you think might like it, please forward them a copy, suggesting they might like to subscribe.
Keep safe, and I’ll see you next time.
Richard and Jen - May the next decades be as happy and memorable as the past three.
And I agree, that Endurance is one of the best books I've ever read.