Country Life Today: ‘I think we’re all shifting our behaviour, I really do’

Sir David Attenborough, whose stark warnings about the state of the environment have chilled us all, delivers a message of optimism, while we also look at Alfred Wainwright and Vincent van Gogh's tortured soul.

‘People in all parts of society are aware of what’s happening… and there’s something they can do about it’

Sir David Attenborough believes that the tide has turned on our use of plastics, and that people are now genuinely doing what they can to lessen their usage.

The veteran naturalist and broadcaster was speaking in an interview on Monday night after he and the BBC Natural History Unit were awarded the Chatham House Prize for Blue Planet II documentary series, which looked in depressing detail at the plastic polluting our oceans.

Among those scenes were images of an albatross feeding plastic to its chicks — something likely to cause those chicks to die, one of the sights which Sir David said are ‘very powerful — they speak to a paternal image’.

With awareness now high, however, he has high hopes that we can turn things around.

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‘It’s the beginning, and people in all parts of society are aware of what’s happening, and it’s vile, it’s horrid and it’s something we are clearly seeing inflicted on the natural world and having a dreadful effect, and there’s something they can do about it,’ he told the BBC.

Julian Hector of the BBC Natural History Unit echoed those words, saying that the programme had ‘struck a chord’.

‘We’re emotionally engaging the audience, giving them a connection with life histories, the behaviours, the plans that these animals have got, and how plastic in that case is getting in their way, reducing their chicks’ survival.’

Read more (BBC)

Alfred Wainwright’s unfinished walks

The Times has revealed that Alfred Wainwright had been working on an updated version of his iconic guide when he unfortunately passed away, at age 84.

Among the updates he intended to include were sections which could be covered by car, a sensible option, given the route is 182 miles long.

Pictures from the unfinished project show a wealth of new stops for those wishing to wander and ramble rather than race.

Bleaberry Fell, Lake District National Park, Cumbria County, England. Bleaberry fell is one of the 214 Wainwright Fells.

‘The aim of the book was that if you were to walk the coast to coast over a longer period, rather than rushing through one route, you could break off and visit these places.’ says Chris Butterfield, a Wainwright archivist and writer, who compiled photographs from the project. ‘Wainwright was delighted. It wasn’t often you could get Wainwright to back a project and smile for the camera, but he was all for it.’

While Alfred never got to complete his work, there’s no doubt that he would be delighted with how beloved the walk (and his work) still is today.

Full story (The Times – subscription needed)

On this day…

…in 1998, Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait of the Artist Without Beard sold at auction for around £55.1 million.

Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait of the Artist Without Beard, 1889, oil on canvas.

‘I puked, fouled myself and collapsed — it was great’


If you’re thinking of taking up running in January to combat the upcoming seasonal blowout, this piece about Camille Herron in the Telegraph might make you think twice.

Oddly, though, it doesn’t seem to have put her off. Absolutely fascinating.

Full story (Daily Telegraph)

And finally…pub?