Photograph of Breaker Bay, New Zealand
Our Christmas tree is twinkling in the bay window, there’s a chilly breeze in the London streets outside and 2019 has less than two weeks to run. I’ve not made any time for this blog over the past year but I thought I’d inject a little life into it today as the place to round up all the many happenings of a busy working year.
First off, thank you to everyone who’s written to me through this website about Endeavour or any of my other books. It’s always (or almost always) a cheering surprise to read the notes and it’s always striking to see how far a book’s travelled and what reactions its elicited.
I’ve done some travelling myself this year. I was honoured to be asked to give the annual Charles Darwin Lecture in Shrewsbury and I travelled up there for an enjoyable few days on Darwin’s birthday, 12 February. A few months later in May I had the wonderful opportunity of travelling to the Huntington Library in Pasadena, California, to talk about the Endeavour voyage. And a few weeks ago – I’m just about over the jetlag – I managed to join a brilliant collection of scholars, artists and activists in New Zealand Aotearoa for their Tuia 250 Commemorations. That was a magical experience. It was fascinating and provoking to see the weight of history and also to get a glimpse of the future.
The Tuia 250 Commemorations, of course, have been prompted by the 250th anniversary of Endeavour’s arrival in the Pacific. It’s an historic event that means different things to different people. Here are some photographs from aboard the replica ship and from a different perspective too (click on them to see them properly), kindly shared with me by David Ennew and Heather MacLoed. Thanks to you both!
Back in the UK I’ve been enjoying the challenge of audio storytelling with the Travels Through Time podcast. We’re just (today I think) a year-old and in that time we’ve released twenty six of our time travelling adventures into the past. We’ve roamed from Ancient Greece to the year 1969; and from Number 10 Downing Street to the Holy City of Jerusalem, with authors like Dan Jones, William Dalrymple, Diarmaid MacCulloch, Kassia St Clair and Andrew Roberts. If you are intrigued and want to find out a little more about this, then do go and have a look at the separate Travels Through Time website. There’s so much more to come from that project in 2020.
But for me in 2020 I’m looking forward to getting back to a little more writing. I’m still hooked on the eighteenth century world – a time so rich in intellectual range and human characters – and that’s where I’ll be staying for my next book. If you’re interested, there’s a little snippet about that here: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
As ever, do write to me through my contact page if you want to say hello. Or I am experimenting with my little infant Facebook page too.
Otherwise – a Very Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy 2020!