Clos Roche Blanche, 2010 Update

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so“.

So wrote the late Douglas Adams, not in any of his Hitchhiker’s Guide novels, which are only naturally the first to spring to mind, but in Last Chance to See (1990), which Adams co-authored with environmentalist Mark Carwardine. This book was something of a diversion for Adams, a factual account – although liberally and yet sensitively laced with humour, as evinced by my selected quote above – of Adams’ and Carwardine’s journeys across the globe in search of near-extinct species such as the Yangtze River Dolphin (since believed to have disappeared from this earth forever) and Zaire gorillas.

Clos Roche Blanche

Last Chance to See is not, despite its erstwhile subject matter, one of Adams’ better known books. I recall when listening to Adams speak at a student society in the early 1990s that it never received a mention, as all attention – without any cause for surprise I suppose – was focused on Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Arthur Dent and their many companions. At least that is how I remember it; it was twenty-or-so years ago, and I wasn’t taking notes at the time! Nevertheless Last Chance was clearly a personal favourite for Adams, as he revealed in his posthumous biography and collection of essays The Salmon of Doubt (2002).

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