Saturday, 4 February 2017


There is a curious moment in any presentation, however interesting it may be, when, as a member of the audience desperately trying to stay awake, I find myself gradually succumbing to sleep and starting to hallucinate. This semi-conscious dream state can cause any number of problems (apart from the usual, incoherent and insensible shouting), such as the time I very nearly smacked the back of the man sat in front of me, convinced as I was that his head was a cat trying to eat a two-tier birthday cake (mine). 

This time, as I slipped relentlessly towards the cliff face of slumberland, I was in an audience listening to the headmaster of a local school reading out the various school house names, most of which were taken from eminent British scientists (strange what I do for fun). Just moments before the critical stage of cat-cake-head-slap-interface, I was suddenly brought to my senses by a child, sat behind me, who loudly informed their respective parental unit that Charles Darwin "was the man who discovered animals"

There could be no doubt that this particular discovery had been a momentous one, rightly earning Darwin a place in the history books. I couldn't help but wonder, as I slowly careered back to the land of the living, what people had done before Darwin had made his research public. It must have been quite a shock for humans to discover that they were not alone (sharing the planet with a mass of four legged creatures of all shapes, sizes and fur-types) but boy, did it open up the food potential. No more carrots and cabbage - from the moment of Darwin's discovery, people would be eating meat, sometimes in dangerously large amounts.

In a similar vein, I recall, some time ago, being told by a very earnest six-year-old that Isaac Newton had invented gravity. Quite how anyone had coped, prior to Newton's amazing invention, remains unclear. Perhaps people simply floated along the surface of the Earth, desperately clinging on to rocks and trees, bumping into one another and, just occasionally, spinning off into deep space.

Makes you think doesn't it.

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