That was one of the opening sentences of an account I wrote about my time on Codfish Island, off the south coast of New Zealand. I was there for a couple of weeks way back in 2006 to help with the Kakapo Recovery Programme.
Standing barefoot under a cloudless sky, in the heat of an Indian summer, on the beach of a tiny island twelve thousand miles from home, I considered how I’d ended up there. “I blame Douglas Adams,” I thought.
Not only is Douglas Adams partially responsible for my journey halfway round the world to help endangered parrots, but he is also indirectly to ‘blame’ for my decision to run the London Marathon for Save The Rhino in 2009. I am of course very grateful to him for influencing me through his various books and articles, otherwise I would never have had these amazing experiences.
Douglas Adams is best known for writing ‘The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy‘ series, a trilogy in five parts which explains, amongst other things, that the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42; that humans are only the third most intelligent life forms on planet Earth; and, of course, that anyone who’s anyone knows where his towel is.
As well as the famous Hitchhiker series, Douglas Adams also wrote a book on endangered species called ‘Last Chance to See’, and it’s this that led me to New Zealand and also to running for rhinos. A recent catch-up TV series saw Stephen Fry and Mark Carwardine (who was in the original book) retrace Douglas’ and Mark’s footsteps to see how well the species mentioned in the original book, which was published in 1990, are getting on. It created one of the most memorable and well-known video examples of inter-species confusion of recent times, which will hopefully raise awareness of all of the species featured in the series too. I’m hoping eventually to get to see or help all of the species mentioned in the book (with the exceptions of those which have sadly become extinct since the book was originally published). Two down, many more to go!
In 2001, Douglas Adams passed away, suddenly and unexpectedly, aged just 49. In commemoration of his life and work, Towel Day was created, which involves afficionados of Douglas Adams and HHGTTG carrying a towel with them, inspired by a quote from the first Hitchhiker’s book. It’s the tenth Towel Day today, so I’m carrying a lovely stripy number with pride all day today, and I’ve even made Towel Day biscuits.
What are you doing for Towel Day? Has Douglas Adams influenced your life in any way, big or small?
Happy Towel Day everyone!