Finally coming to the end of the Christmas and New Year holidays, in which much of my times was spent drafting the Volans Breakthrough White Paper. Amazing how long it can take to write short. The draft is now out for comment with Sam and Astrid, with just one section still to do, which will probably be tomorrow.
Apart from a visit to Little Rissington, to see my parents (Tim has been quite ill) and extended family, and a visit yesterday from Gaia, Hania, Jake and Paul for a New Year’s Day lunch, I have been reading somewhat eclectically (books like William Gibson’s The Peripheral, H.E. Bates’ Down the River, Andreas Wagner’s Arrival of the Fittest, Simon Scarrow’s Brothers in Blood, and Alexander Kluge’s Air Raid), writing, walking (including a visit to my favourite heronry) or watching television, in one form or another. One highlight was watching the original films of The Lady Vanishes and The 39 Steps on the same day. They really don’t make them like they used to.
Elaine has been working away on her immense Lycian Coast travelogue, now posted – and has attracted an encouraging amount of positive comment.
Today we went across to Kew Gardens, to meet up with John Gilbert and take a glorious walk around the gardens. The weather was dazzling – so warm that we could eat outside at The Orangery.
En route, we stopped off at Cambridge Cottage to see the botanical paintings, where I took a couple of images of the room where SustainAbility held its first Council meeting – way back in 1995. A gentle haunting as I looked through the window, a form of of time machine. Thinking back to the 15 or so wonderful people we convened, among them Tom Gladwin, Charles Medawar, Jane Nelson and Ulrich Steger.
One highlight of the Kew visit was making fairly intense eye contact with a pufferfish underneath the lily pond area in the Princess of Wales greenhouse. Interesting to learn later that the big eyes of this fish makes them much loved pets, despite their toxicity.
The fish’s maze markings put me in mind of the complexities ahead in 2015, which looks set to be quite (American sense) challenging. But then the fact that my new friend is related to the box fish family put me in mind of biomimicry, particularly the concept car based on the boxfish, which was uplifting.
When I think of the areas of our work that most engage me these days, they include biomimicry (where I am on Janine Benyus’s Biomimicry Institute board), Gaia Theory (where John Gilbert and I have been working with the Science Museum) and the Sustainable Eel Group, which we were discussing as we walked around the Japanese building in the heart of the gardens. One thing I’m particularly looking forward to in 2015 is releasing the 27,000 eels that SustainAbility gave me to celebrate my 27 years to date with the organisation.
At this juncture, there’s something about 2015 that feels to me pivotal, out of the ordinary. Interested to see what it might be.