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When Antarctica was Green

4 Apr

A fantastic lecture in Cambridge given by Professor Jane Francis. Professor of Paleoclimatology at the University of Leeds. She went through  Antarctic history in million year bands. Apparently ferns flourished over 200,000.000 years ago, trees were prolific about 100,000.000 years ago. Wilson’s glossopteris was apparent nearly 300, 000.000 years ago (as was coal which he identified on the final expedition). The Eocene period was the time just before ice set in, a mere 40,000.000 years ago. Jane  showed paintings by an artist colleague,  which illustrated what the plants and animal life would have looked like. The paintings were informed by the fossils and remains found in Antarctica.

So, up to about 40, years ago Antarctica was warm and tropical. Will we go back to that?

Incidentally, Marie Stopes was a geologist and specialist in glossopteris before she became involved in birth control. She met Scott at a dinner and wanted to go with him to the Antarctic. She  got him to promise to search for fossils and predicted that glossopteris would be found.

A service to commemorate the life of Edgar Evans at St Mary’s Church, Central Swansea

24 Feb

This was a wonderful occasion. The great and the good of Wales and beyond gathered to give proper recognition to Edgar Evans’s contribution to Scott’s expeditions, exactly 100 years after his death. The service was attended by the Lord Lieutenant and the High Sheriff of West Glamorgan and other dignitaries. The navy was well represented. Edgar’s grandson, John Evans, read from Scott’s journal and made a plea for a statute for his grandfather to be erected in Swansea, Edgar’s granddaughter was also present. The Bishop of Swansea and Brecon made an excellent address stressing Edgar’s virtues, the Archdeacon of the Gower led the Intercessions. Naval Cadets marched up and down the aisle, a Petty Officer Cadet read the Naval Prayer.

The whole service was much appreciated by those of us who have come to admire Edgar.

You can read a report of the service on the BBC News website:

Edgar Evans, the ‘Welsh Giant’

7 Dec

I have just seen the book cover of my book on Edgar Evans. In his picture Edgar looks every inch the ‘Welsh Giant’, a man of whom Wales can be proud.

Sadly, the only memorial to Edgar in Wales was commissioned by Edgar’s widow, Lois Evans. There was no national memorial. This was probably because some London newspapers blamed Edgar for slowing the progress of the British party on their ill-fated return and so causing the deaths of the men he so admired, an ill-founded suggestion that took years to refute.