Friday, 8 April 2011

'Mature and Intrepid Gentlemen'

Here's a cheering story - 'mature and intrepid gentlemen' indeed; we need more of their kind... And leading the expedition, I'm pleased to see, is the same Anthony Smith who - among many other achievements - enlivened Radio 4 back in the early Eighties with his brilliant short talks titled A Sideways Look. Unlike many a 'sideways look', these were the real thing, illuminating a range of subjects by coming at them from an oblique angle, often overturning the received wisdom (he'd have been a great blogger). Smith has written many books about his travels, often by hot air balloon, and wider subjects. He also got the Jolly Boat returned from the US, restored and exhibited in the Imperial War Museum. This was the lifeboat that in 1940 picked up survivors from a ship sunk by the Germans, then drifted off West across the Atlantic for 68 days, finally making landfall in the Bahamas, by which time just two of the seven survivors were alive. Happily the gentlemen of the An Tiki have all survived, in good health and excellent spirits. Hats off to them!

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