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I'm taking real care not to get drawn in to social media misery. It's not about pretending bad stuff doesn't happen, just not plunging into issues I can't affect and can only feel bad about. It's really paying off. I feel more energised, less depressed and more aware of summer sunshine and good times.

It may be that the world has got worse, or perhaps we are more aware of what is and what has been. Reading bits and pieces about the Franklin expedition and the characters involved leads me inescapably to the conclusion that Victorian Britons were as tough as nails and a tad unhinged.

Lead poisoning definitely affected Franklin's crew. When one considers the levels of lead among the population of 19th century GB, one can't help wondering if the empire was driven by folk suffering similar symptoms to the expedition, except that lead poisoning depletes energy levels and no-one could ever accuse the British Empire of lethargy.

But the people of this story are so extraordinary; Crozier would have preferred to sail with the man his beloved had a crush on rather than her uncle; not that James Clark Ross would have even noticed Sophia Cracroft, being so in love with his wife that her death did him more damage than years of sea and ice, heartbreak hastening his end. Sophia remained unmarried all her days, travelling with her aunt around the world, writing and sketching with some ability. Her aunt doggedly nagged the admiralty for 9 years before finally donning widow's weeds, and funding much arctic exploration in her determination to find her husband. Seems she turned to mediums as well, and that some of her documents may have been edited or tampered with to maintain her credibility - a credibility she used to decry the conclusions of John 'Long Strider' Rae, with his dogmatic insistence on believing the Inuits and providing evidence of death, failure and cannibalism among the Franklin crew. Rae was an extraordinary explorer and added much more to the sum of our knowledge about the arctic than the man for whom he was sacrificed; His was a prime example of how being right is not always enough. Lady Jane Frankin polished his career right off, even enlisting the talents of Charles Dickens to her cause. Dickens wrote an essay which buried Rae under an avalanche of rhetoric and pretty hideous racism. And so it spirals on...these people were so fierce, so brave, so passionate and so plumb crazy by our standards,I admire them but wouldn't want them living next door. Whether it's social evolution, easier times or just a lack of lead in our diet, I think we have become less interesting as stories, but kinder people. Maybe.

Anyway, time to detach myself from all this polar mularky. Last night was champagne for the beginning of larians new job and the delight of the Ashes, tonight is an engagement party for a couple of friends.

Life's pretty good right now.



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