Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture 2022 – Thursday 26 May

Friends, we’re Belgium well doing it again!

Join me on Thursday 26th May at the Royal Geographic Society for the 2022 Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture!

Douglas Adams was a founding patron of Save the Rhino International. He once climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in a rhino suit to raise money for the fledgling charity. 

When Douglas Adams died in 2001, Save the Rhino International worked with Douglas’s family to establish the Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture, inviting conservationists, wise and funny people to speak about the universe.

The lecture has been delivered by Neil Gaiman, Professor Alice Roberts, Baroness Susan Greenfield and this year, I am delighted to announce that our lecturer is Professor EJ Milner-Gulland, Professor of Biodiversity and Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science at Oxford University.

Why am I personally so excited that Professor Milner-Gulland is delivering DAML this year? Because she co-founded a movement that resonates very strongly with me, the Conversation Optimism movement. 

Their website explains a bit about their mission:

As nature erodes and the response of human systems is inadequate or destructive, it can seem like the only rational response is despair. 

Yet if you zoom in from the big picture, a mosaic appears; in amongst the stories of loss there are inspiring stories of regeneration and positive change, with nature making a difference in people’s lives, and people valuing and nurturing their natural environment. 

These stories are the key to securing our planet’s future; we need to learn from them, replicate them and thereby build a world in which nature and people can coexist. 

Our mission is telling these stories of conservation optimism — large and small — so as to inspire change.

Please join me on Thursday 26th May to celebrate Douglas’s life, writing, and conservation with me, Professor EJ Milner-Gulland, and a host of funny people. 

And if that wasn’t enough, Douglas’s archivist Kevin Jon Davies curator of 42, The wildly improbable ideas of Douglas Adams will be presenting an exhibition of archival material and photos at DAML in the Royal Geographic Society’s Map Room (where the bar is). 

Thank you, and I hope to see you there.

Walk the Pod S24 E5 | Figuring out what we want – transcript

Introduction

Hello and welcome to Walk the Pod, your daily walking show where I take my podcast for a walk because I don’t have a dog, and you take 10 minutes out of the day to walk in nature and to pay attention to what’s directly in front of you. There are two squirrels chasing each other around a tree as I walked past. This is the first Friyay episode of Series 24, Walk the Pod. You are very welcome along, the sun is shining on the cycle path in SW19. It’s the most beautiful day in the world.

Boredom

I feel an in depth exploration of something coming on as we start this fifth episode of the series. Gaynor and Tati have raised the question of boredom with me. What are we supposed to do? How are we supposed to cope with tasks that are dull and tedious and that we don’t want to do? Any advice from stoic philosophy they asked me and I have been trawling, the interwebs for Stoics on the Cycle Path insight into boredom and how to cope with it.

And I have to say I am struggling to know how to explain what I found. I want to thank Leaping Lord Stephen, who lent me a book called On kissing, tickling and being bored by Adam Phillips, which I read bits of and never really never really connected with it. But now, I feel I need to borrow it back from him again, in order to re-read it. I’m going to try to tell you in advance of reading some quotes from that book, what I think Phillips is getting at.

I think he is trying to tell us that being bored is actually very important for discovering who we are. And that one of the big problems of modern life is that we don’t allow ourselves to be bored for a second, we jump onto Instagram or we jump onto eBay or Amazon or Etsy or wherever we like to buy things. We buy things, we consume stuff, we put a podcast on, we stick on the TV, we do anything to stop ourselves from being bored for longer than about three seconds.

And in actual fact, boredom is a fantastic opportunity to work out what we actually want. One of the things that I read on my, on my trawl through trying to find things about this was that being bored can crystallise for us our heart’s desire. And so we should cultivate it. Maybe not boredom, but idleness in order to work out what we actually want to do with our time.

How we spend our time is how we spend our life. I think Annie Dillard wrote something slightly more articulate than that, ‘how we spend our days is how we spend our life’ I think. So, it’s our Stoics on the Cycle Path today. Not really a stoic, I think the longer I do Stoics on the Cycle Path, the more I realise that half the time they’re not Stoic philosophers at all, but you don’t mind I don’t think Poddies, if Stoics on the Cycle Path features Joni Mitchell or… Captain Tim actually sent me a quote from the film Gladiator for Stoics on the Cycle Path.

So if you’re, if you’ll forgive the fact that most of what I’m reading from the Stoics on the Cycle Path isn’t stoic philosophy, then we’ll all get along fine. Tim’s suggestion was ‘what we do in life echoes in eternity’, which comes from Maximus Decimus Meridius from the well known documentary film, Gladiator. He says, ‘say it in an Australian accent, and it sounds really deep.’

Stoics on the Cycle Path

Stoics on the Cycle Path today comes from Adam Phillips On kissing, tickling and being bored.

“Every adult remembers, among many other things, the great ennui of childhood, and every child’s life is punctuated by spells of boredom. Boredom is actually a precarious process in which the child is as it were, both waiting for something and looking for something in which hope is being secretly negotiated. And in since boredom is akin to free floating attention, in the muffled, sometimes irritable confusion of boredom, the child is reaching to a recurrent sense of emptiness out of which his real desire can crystallise. The capacity to be bored, can be a developmental achievement for the child.”

Now, whenever I’m talking about parenting, I’m also talking about self parenting so the child can equally refer to the modern adult. And I think what Phillips is saying here is, if we allow ourselves to become bored, and we don’t immediately leap to anything that can stop that from being the experience that we find ourselves having, we can really discover a lot about what we actually want in our lives.

And he goes on to say something along the lines of being busy, is the best way possible, of preventing anyone, including ourselves, from knowing anything about us. Because the busy person can be doing all kinds of things in order to be productive and efficient. But actually, none of the things they’re doing are providing them with their heart’s true desire, because they haven’t allowed themselves to be bored enough to find out what that is.

What I can see directly in front of me

What can I see directly in front of me? Well, I’m recording this a little later than usual. And oh, very much later, it’s two o’clock at the moment. And due to the beauty of anchor and modern podcasting software, you will be able to listen to this probably at about half past two, if you want to.

What I can see is the sun striking the grass just ahead of me beyond the railway bridge, and many houses that are just off the cycle path interrupting that light with shadows as I walked past a wrapper for a Ben & Jerry’s Peace pop on the floor and walking under the railway bridge now to find that the bottle of Lipton iced tea that somebody put there, and I mentioned in a previous episode, has now fallen over. That’s the big news on the cycle path today.

I can see a cyclist in the distance. Also a person pushing a pram, it’s actually very quiet on the bike track today. Few people walking around some tiny, beautiful flowers on a little tree here. Not quite sure what this tree is but five lobed flowers, beautiful white flowers with a little bit of I don’t know what you call answers could be anthers Poddies, I don’t know, botanists, please get in touch. Little little blobs of pollen on the ends of on the ends of the strands coming out to the middle of the flower. Good grief my botany is very bad, isn’t it? Don’t do any of the proper botany words. But you know, I’ve never been good at identifying trees or pups. It’s not something I excel at, unfortunately.

What a beautiful day though. It’s absolutely gorgeous out here. If you’re thinking of going for a walk today, get out and enjoy the sunshine. The birds are singing everywhere. It’s just lovely. And on Friyays, I offer you a formal invitation to join the Walk the Pod walking club. Please go to rachelwheeleyisfunny.com and join up for behind the scenes content. There are lots and lots of things you can enjoy. If you sign up to the Walk the Pod walking club you can see daily photographs from behind the scenes on the podcast of my actual life on Mondays through Fridays. You can join the Walk the Pod community message board which features a number of channels, including our film club, which will be meeting tonight to watch What We Do In The Shadows, our book club, our cloud spotting, cloud appreciation club, we have Poddies posting pictures of their favourite clouds from all over the world. It’s just, it’s a really lovely space, it’s a very good vibe. And if you are on social media and think that it can get in a bin, you’ll enjoy this particular social media platform because it is just, it’s just a lovely, friendly, happy space for walkers celebrating their daily walks.

Supreme Cross Border Selector, Nige of Galicia, shared a Twitter thread yesterday under the banner, ‘social media can not always get a bin’. And I think we’ve agreed collectively that if social media can get in a bin, you may be following the wrong people. So that’s me told. And I think there’s an enormous amount to be said, actually, for not following people who are trying to do the same thing that you’re trying to do. Because that causes inevitable comparison, and sadness.

Best thing to do is probably to follow people who inspire you. And maybe I just need to recalibrate who I’m following on these platforms. I don’t know. Oh, lovely. It’s really, really nice out here. Very excited to go back to my flat and have a cup of tea and a bit. And then I need to do some tidying because Captain Tim is coming around for the Walk the Pod Film Club. So gotta clean the place. And that’ll be the end of our first week of series 24. A whole week nearly over already. And this has of course, been my healing week. So I’ve been resting really hard. And I feel much better for it. The kids are on half term next week. And then towards the end of the week, I will be tentatively back to work. So thank you for walking with me. It’s been an absolute delight to walk with you on the bike track this week. I really appreciate you coming with me every day.

Outro

I hope you’re enjoying the pod if there’s anything you’d like to request on the pod, if you’d like to say for example, Rach, why don’t you put Stoics on the Cycle Path in the show notes for every episode so that I can also read what they what they have to say as well as listening to you – something I’ve been considering doing, or any other feedback, email, rach@rachelwheeley.com. Or you can go to walkthepod.com. And you can leave me 59 seconds of your beautiful voice as a voice note. I listen to every single one, I read every single email I get. I deeply appreciate every single email I get. Because I am a very needy content creator. So I absolutely love any kind of message or contact from anybody at any time. But I will be trying to cultivate idleness and boredom a little bit over the weekend and actually spend some time reconnecting with myself and what I actually most desire in that space. And I’d love it if you would do the same and maybe let me know how you get on. Take care of your beautiful mind, and I’ll be back with episode six on Monday.

Walk the Pod S24 E4 | Walk the Pod manifesto – transcript

Introduction

Hello, and welcome to Walk the Pod, your daily walking show where I take my podcast for a walk because I don’t have a dog. You take 10 minutes out of the day to walk in nature and pay attention to what’s directly in front of you.

My name is Rachel Wheeley, a human in the world trying to figure out how to be. I’m walking a cycle path in SW19, Wimbledon, in the UK as usual and it’s really grey and mis today.

Blankets of cloud in the sky blotting out the sun, as some kids in the Wimbledon Chase Primary School playing field emerge out of a hedge bearing large plastic bags and litter pickers, with which they are cleaning up their environment.

This is the fourth episode of Series 24, Walk the Pod, I’m very excited to be out on the bike track with you as usual. I’ve got Stoics on the Cycle Path for you today. Another reading from Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations. I’ve got, what I can see directly in front of me… all of your favourite features are here! Welcome to Walk the Pod.

The Walk the Pod manifesto

First, I thought I’d read you the Walk the Pod manifesto. This is something that I’ve been noodling with for several series now, but never actually committed to paper. I had a go at committing it to paper a while ago and then lost my nerve and thought ‘Who am I to tell people how to exist in the world?’ But in the end, James Benchseats on the Walk the Pod community message board said, ‘Oh no, I like that. Where’s it gone?’ So I put it back.

And I thought, at the beginning of a new series, close to the beginning of a new series, I should really read it, in order to say, if you’re a new listener to the pod, this is what we are about.

So here goes. A ceremonial reading of the Walk the Pod manifesto. This is essentially how I have chosen to exist. Having done lots of reading of various stoical and other philosophical texts and lots of psychotherapy and thinking about how to be in the world. This is where I’ve got to, so far.

The Manifesto

What I can control is limited to how I act and respond, how I respond to things that happen to me, how I take action to meet my needs, or achieve my goals. To act with self control, and to respond healthily I need high self worth. Or if you like, self respect, or if you like, self esteem.

My self worth is based on how much I love and value myself, not how much value I provide for others, what I produce, or how much others love or value me.

I combine courage with a fierce willingness to refuse to accept shame.

I choose not to build a religion around my flaws, or failures.

I choose goals that work for me that I can find a path towards. Other people’s goals are their own.

I fully explore the potential joys of the person I am and the situation in which I am placed, rather than dreaming about the imagined joys of being somebody else, or being somebody in a situation in which I am not placed.

I choose to prioritise people and relationships that make me feel fulfilled rather than giving my energy towards resentment of outgrown relationships, or trying to impress people who have placed themselves out of my reach.

Now that I love and value myself, I can love and value others.

I abandon my glorious future in order to fully explore the joy of this imperfect day.

I will make time for fun today.

I pay attention to what my mind and body need.

Now, I should really have given those numbers. At the beginning of next series of Walk the Pod, I will read them with numbers, because it’s kind of all mashed together, isn’t it? Just read in a big long stream like that.

So… slightly messed that up. But if there’s one thing that I’ve decided over the course of 24 Series of Walk the Pod, it’s that if something isn’t quite right, I just do it differently next time. I’m not going to re record this bit with numbers. I’m simply going to leave it as it is, and next series when I read the manifesto, well, I’m going to put the numbers in then.

You have to wait a few weeks before you get your improvement on this podcast. That’s just how it works, as the Thameslink steams over the railway bridge. I can see a little black pup on a red lead, frolicking just beyond the railway bridge in the distance over there.

I hope you enjoyed the Walk the Pod manifesto. If you have any thoughts about that, if that made you angry, if that made you sad, if it has made you remember something? Please get in touch and let me know what it was. I’d be fascinated to know. You can contact me at rach@rachelwheeley.com – that’s my email address. You can go to @walkthepod on Instagram. And you can send me a message. Or, if you want to, you can go to walkthepod.com and press the button marked ‘Message’ and leave me 59 seconds of your beautiful voice.

Time for Stoics on the Cycle Path

Stoics on the Cycle Path

Today’s Stoics on the Cycle Path comes from Marcus Aurelius. His Meditations were the original Stoic philosophy on Walk the Pod. We used to read from Meditations a lot back in the day. And now that Stoics on the Cycle Path is a broader feature, featuring the works of Seneca and Epictetus and even more far flung Stoic philosophers, such as Joni Mitchell.

Marcus Aurelius remains a major pillar of Stoics on the Cycle Path. And this reading is very interesting, because Marcus Aurelius was not just a Roman philosopher, he was also Emperor just casually, as a side hustle. Emperor of the Roman Empire, as you do. It really annoys me when people are overachievers, like, you’re already the greatest philosopher who’s ever lived Marcus Aurelius, how we also casually emperor, mind you, there’s, um, there’s a certain sense to that if you are emperor of a vast, sprawling and enormously kind of, lively empire, such as the Roman Empire, I mean, presumably you have to be, you have to be of sound mind, you have to be a very good mental health. You have to have a good mindset and a good outlook on the world. Because otherwise, you will simply be swamped by all of the problems that there are in your universe, some of which you are directly responsible for.

So I think Marcus Aurelius was was writing these Meditations to himself in large part in order to help him survive the job of being emperor of the Roman Empire. So that’s why these little mottos and things that he writes down, are so powerful because they are what helped him through one of the toughest jobs in recorded history.

This comes from book six, just like the one I read to you a couple of episodes ago. And this This is Marcus reminding himself not to get too tied up in the ego of being emperor.

This is book six, chapter 30.

Stoics on the Cycle Path: Meditations Book 6, chapter 30

“Take care not to be Caesarified or died in purple. It happens. So keep yourself simple, good, pure, serious, unpretentious, a friend of justice, God fearing, kind, full of affection, strong for your proper work. Strive hard to remain the same man that philosophy wished to make you. Revere the Gods. Look after men. Life is short. The one harvest of existence on Earth is a godly habit of mind and social action.

Always as a pupil of Antoninus: his energy, for all that was done according to reason, his constant, equitability, his piety, his serene expression, his gentleness, his lack of conceit, his drive to take a firm grasp of affairs. How he would never put anything at all aside without first looking closely into it, and understanding it clearly; how he would tolerate those who unfairly blamed him without returning the blame; how he was never rushed in anything. He would not listen to malicious gossip; he was an accurate judge of men’s character and actions; slow to criticise, immune to rumour and suspicion, devoid of pretence how he was content with a little by way of house, bed, dress, food, servants; his love of work, and his stamina.

He was a man to stay at the same task until evening, not even needing to relieve himself except at his usual hour, such was his frugal diet. Constant and fair in his friendships; tolerant of frank opposition to his own views, and delighted to be shown a better way; god-fearing, but not superstitious.

So may your own last hour find you with a conscience as clear as his.”

So Marcus Aurelius there, reminding himself not to get too full of himself as emperor and to and to follow the lead of Antoninus, who was presumably one of his teachers or mentors, I had to look at the beginning of the book to find out exactly who Antoninus was.

Marcus’s last name, he’s Marcus Aurelius, Antoninus, and Antoninus, I think, was his adoptive father. Now, I don’t know huge amount about this. So apologies, Poddies, for not being a font of all knowledge. But I think he’s talking about his adoptive father when he lists all of the good qualities of that man.

And he’s trying to remind themselves to be more like that person. And particularly, he writes in other places, in Meditations about how happy he is to be proved wrong by somebody and how open he is to have other points of view expressed to him.

Outro

I hope you enjoyed that edition of Stoics on the Cycle Path. Thank you very much indeed for walking with me today. I feel hugely lucky to have you with me on my walks on the cycle path. These are enormously restorative strolls up and down that I have every day talking to you, Poddies.

So thank you for being with me. Welcome to Hannah, my sister who has just joined the Walk the Pod walking club, and will be making an appearance on the Walk the Pod community message board soon, I expect. If you would like to join you can do so by going to rachelwheeleyisfunny.com.

Someone was asking me, what is a Discord server? And it occurred to me that I should really explain. The Walk the Pod walking club is hosted on something called a Discord server. What is a Discord server? Well, it’s like, it’s like a sort of a forum. It’s like a sort of social media platform, which is just for Walk the Pod members. It’s for walkers all over the world.

So it has channels on it where you can post various messages. It’s like a message board. But just for Walk the Pod. So if you want to find a little space on the internet to post pictures of your favourite clouds, or walking reports or photographs from your daily walks, and chat to people for whom walking is a daily activity that they enjoy. It’s the absolute perfect place to be.

rachelwheeleyisfunny.com if you want to explore that option for your life. One of the books I enjoyed last year was James Clear’s Atomic Habits. And one of the things he says in that book is, if you want to make something a habit, the best way to do that is to immerse yourself with a bunch of people for whom that habit is a daily practice that they that they incorporate into their lives, and for whom that that particular thing is completely normal part of everyday life. So, if daily walking is something you would like to be doing, come and get involved, it will help you to establish it.

And I can also recommend having something like a dog to make it a non negotiable thing that you have to do. I don’t have a dog so I I record this podcast every day and if I don’t record the podcast, then I have a bunch of people on the Walk the Pod community message boards say ‘Oh, where’s the episode today, Rach?’ So it’s not. It’s not like I have an option anymore.

You don’t have to go to quite such extreme measures as that, but the Walk the Pod walking club is a fun place to hang out.

Take care of your beautiful mind.

And I will be back with episode five, our first Friday episode of Series 24 tomorrow.

Listen to this episode

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Walk the Pod S24 E3 | Nothing lasts for long – transcript

WtP S24E3 | Nothing lasts for long

Introduction

Hello, and welcome to Walk the Pod, your daily walking show where I take my podcast for a walk because I don’t have a dog. You take 10 minutes out of the day, to walk in nature, and to pay attention to what’s directly in front of you.

My name is Rachel Wheeley, podcaster and human in the world, trying to figure out how to be. There’s a squirrel just ahead of me on the footpath, the sun is shining on its white bib and it’s the most beautiful day in the world.

Welcome to episode three series 24 of Walk the Pod

What I can see directly in front of me

Somebody’s walking along just ahead of me with a bobble hat on and a backpack. A backpack which I think of as a sort of French style backpack, in that it’s a small bag with two long straps, which they are wearing over both shoulders.

When I was at school was very uncool to wear a backpack over both shoulders. So we used to walk around with half a tonne of books in our backpacks slung over one shoulder. And then we wonder why we’re lopsided for the rest of our lives.

I’ve decided, having come out of hospital the other day that I’m going to live to 100 or die in the attempt and very excited about that. Now I’m going to have to do some more regular exercise I think because walking is obviously wonderful. But it’s not cardio is it? You know, got to do a bit of I don’t know jogging or something. Maybe as we go on.

As a little brown pup on the cycle path and it’s got a massive stick in it’s mouth. It looks very happy about that, as it should be. It’s the greatest day in the world as a dog when you’ve found a massive stick, isn’t it? That’s the greatest thing ever.

I can just hear the bell in the Wimbledon Chase Primary School ringing there to bring all the kids in from the playground. And off they go. scampering in.

How the devil are you

How the devil are you, I hope you’re having a nice day. What day is it… Wednesday, beautiful day today on the bike track, sunshine, streaming down, warming my face a little bit. And I’ve got Stoics on the Cycle Path for you again, of course.

Very, very excited to be bringing you some Stoic philosophy again, having had many series where we didn’t because we sort of we exhausted Meditations. And what I needed to do was to start reading the book of letters that Seneca wrote 2000 years ago.

And I have started to read that now. So I feel like Stoics on the Cycle Path is a bit of a broader offering, then, What Would Marcus do? Which was the thing with the feature before. Now, I’ve had had some correspondence in from my ex BBC colleague Peter Sansun.

Sansun wrote that his favourite piece of stoic philosophy is by Jodi Mitchell. Sorry, if that sounded like I said Jodi, it’s because I sort of smudged the letter D from an N. I meant to say, Joni Mitchell.

Who, who sung in a song called Chinese cafe, ‘Nothing stays the same for long.’ Is that right? Is that the lyric? Hang on, can we just check that. Is it ‘Nothing stays the same for long’ or is it… No, ‘Nothing lasts for long.’ Nothing lasts for long. And she sings that multiple times in the song. Peter says, ‘It’s profound because it has at least two meanings at the same time. The surface says, ‘All things must pass.’

It also says that there is an infinitude of nothingness. Take that Jean-Paul Sartre. Now, I’ve learned very definitively about the infinitude of nothingness walking along this cycle path on the first section of the Deep Time Walk, which revealed that there was an infinitude of nothingness before anything that we’ve ever heard of happened on the Earth. There was a whole load of time when the Earth was just there was no real, no real life to start.

I’m just walking under the railway bridge. That’s why the sound is slightly different. Somebody has left a bottle of Lipton iced tea under the railway bridge today for reasons best known to themselves.

So thank you Peter for that. That’s Peter’s favourite piece of Stoic philosophy. The actual Stoics on the Cycle Path today is from not quite as unlikely a source as Joni Mitchell. But the combined brilliance of 1970s American psychoanalyst Carl Rogers, and Gabor Maté, who wrote a brilliant book called Scattered Minds, ostensibly about attention deficit disorder, but really about parenting. And I would also argue self parenting.

Stoics on the Cycle Path

This Episode 3 edition is from Scattered Minds, and I’m just going to read the whole section because I think it’s so brilliant. So Gabor Maté writes:

“In his book on Becoming a Person, Carl Rogers describes a warm, caring attitude, for which he adopted the phrase, unconditional positive regard, because he said, it has no conditions of worth attached to it. This is a caring, wrote Rogers, which is not possessive, which demands no personal gratification, it is an atmosphere which simply demonstrates ‘I care’, not ‘I care if you if you behave thus and so.’

So the first thing is to create some space in the child’s heart of hearts for the certainty that she is precisely the person the parent wants and loves. She does not have to do anything or be any different to earn that love. In fact, she cannot do anything. Because the love cannot be won and cannot be lost. It is not conditional, it is completely independent of a child’s behaviour. It is just there. Regardless of which side the child is acting from, good or bad.

The child can be ornery, unpleasant, whiny, uncooperative and plain rude and the parents still lets her feel loved. Ways have to be found to let the child know that certain behaviours are unacceptable, without making the child herself feel not accepted. She has to be able to bring her unrest, her least likeable side to the parent without fear that it would threaten the relationship. When that is made possible, absolute security is established, we can reliably expect emotional growth to follow.”

Now, I fell off my sofa when I read that for the first time because I thought to myself, yes, that is clearly, clearly the the answer to how to parent, something which nobody really knows. So they will just sort of muddle through and work it out as you go along. But when I read that, I thought, yes, that is, that’s how I’m going to parent. And indeed how I’m going to self parent, because we’re all self parenting as well as parenting – trying to help ourselves through the world, even while we’re raising small children if we are not raising small children is a perfectly valid choice of lifestyle.

So I hope you enjoyed that. If you have any thoughts raised by that particular episode of Stoics on the Cycle Path, or if you have a favourite piece of Stoic philosophy of your own, please get in touch. Email rach@rachelwheeley.com Go to walkthepod.com. Press the button marked ‘Message’ and leave me 59 seconds of your beautiful voice, or go to @walkthepod on Instagram and you can WhatsApp me maybe? I really don’t know where that works, probably.

But let’s, let’s see. If someone could try that out for me. I’d really appreciate it or tweet @rachelwheeley.

So there are myriad ways that you can get in touch with your Stoics on the Cycle Path suggestions.

And I’m really enjoying having Stoic philosophy back on the pod because I missed it. I missed reading from Meditations and I will I will be including many extracts from Meditations in this feature. As we go on.

What can I see directly in front of me? Well, I can hear some crows, I expect you probably can too, at the top of this tree which just looking at the tree in terms of trying to work out what kind of tree it is, don’t think this is an oak tree has very small buds on the ends of all the twigs. So that’s not an oak tree and I’m looking at the ground see if I can identify from the brown leaves.

What kind of tree it is,

But I don’t know. I feel such a failure.

I’m not good at identifying trees, particularly in winter time. It’s quite difficult. Well, that feels positively Spring like today. It’s absolutely gorgeous, gorgeous weather. Nice warm, just a slight breeze, it’s beautiful.

I can see a little dog walking along slightly ahead of me – a little brown dog with its tail curled over his back. And it’s on one of those leashes that is like extendable, coming out of her a red handle, I can hear the ThamesLink, just about to go over the railway bridge.

There it goes. And looking up into the sky. It’s quite a lot of blue. Not so cloudy today.

Numbers game

Not cloudy at all. Now, speaking of paying attention to what’s directly in front of me, I was playing a game this morning, which was based on a game that I play with the kids sometimes when the kids are particularly not enjoying being outside, which they sometimes don’t.

We play a sort of numbers game where they have to spot numbers in the environment and the one who gets the highest number wins, which usually results in child three racing off to find a lamppost with one of those ‘don’t let your dog foul the pavement’ signs on it, which has a fine of £1000 in the UK.

And that usually wins the game because you can’t you can’t beat 1000. That’s very difficult. And the rules for that game are, you’re not allowed to use telephone numbers and the environment because obviously, those are absolutely gigantic numbers and would spoil the game. But the game I was playing with myself this morning, when I was coming back from the school run the first school run I’ve done since I came out of the hospital.

Consequently, a school run absolutely tuckered me out was, can I find the numbers 1 to 10 in the environment. And can I take a photograph of those numbers in such a way that the numbers themselves are beautiful to look at in sequence. So I was trying to do that this morning. And that’s quite fun, I recommend that to you. And it’s funny how playing that game does help you to pay attention to what’s directly in front of you because you start to notice what’s around you in the environment.

So that’s my that’s my top tip for paying attention to what’s directly in front of you for the day and if you want to send me your number sequences you can do so. The best way to do that is to join the Walk the Pod walking club and stick them in, probably the #walking-and-wellness channel, I would say would probably be best.

But there are various other ways you can get them to me if you don’t want to do that you can send them to me in all the ways I just said really you can email them to rach@rachelwheeley.com if you want to, and I will be delighted to see your your numbers in the environment – maths fans.

I mean that’s not even maths that’s just numbers but you know anyway, so that’s something to do if you’re having a walk today and you’re not quite sure how to entertain yourself while you’re on your walk.

I forgot to say that you can’t use car number plates for the 1 to 10 game. The 1 to 10 numbers game requires you to use your imagination a bit more than that, so that’s the rule for that one.

Sorry about that if you’ve started already and I’ve ruined your fun, but number plates are no good.

Outro

Thank you for walking with me today. This has been Episode 3 Series 24, Walk the Pod. Thank you to everybody who’s got in touch with me to say Rach, you sound like you can breathe again on the pod.

It’s really sweet of you to get in touch with me to say that, I really appreciate it. It’s very kind of people to to notice. I thought the most the most impressive thing was that people were getting in touch with me before to say Rach you need to sort your breathing out, because that did actually make me pay attention to it in a way that I had not been.

But I really appreciate everyone who’s got in touch to say, Rach, you sound like you can breathe again. And that’s good. So thank you. I’m delighted to be able to breathe again. I’m delighted to be able to podcast because there was a point in the hospital where the things they were saying they were going to have to do to help me, we’re going to make podcasting nigh on impossible. So really very grateful to still have the power of my voice and the power of breath.

Huge fan of breathing, highly recommend it if you have a gratitude practice. I encourage everybody to include their ability to breathe in that because whilst it is rather a given and rather obvious when you start to lose it, it’s rather worrying. Kind of, kind of important.

Lots of love. Take care of your beautiful mind this afternoon and I’ll be back with Episode 4, Series 24. Walk the Pod tomorrow lunchtime.

Listen to this episode

https://anchor.fm/rachelwheeleyisfunny/episodes/WtP-S24E3–Nothing-lasts-for-long-e1e5ghd

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Walk the Pod Series 24 Episode 2 – Transcript

WtP S24E2 | Do not fuss

Introduction

Hello and welcome to Walk the Pod, your daily walking show where I take my podcast for a walk because I don’t have a dog. You take 10 minutes out of the day, to walk in nature and pay attention to what’s directly in front of you. My name is Rachel Wheeley, a podcaster and human in the world trying to figure out how to be. I’m on the cycle path in SW19, Wimbledon, as a cyclist zooms past on the bike track to my left.

Kids are whooping and hollering in the Wimbledon Chase Primary School to my right. And the trees are resplendent above me with their little buds. No leaves, but those little buds promises what’s to come. absolutely delighted to be here walking with you again this lunchtime as a very tall person comes towards me with a tiny baby attached to their chest by means of a sling and somebody behind them pushing a pram.

I’ve got Stoics on the Cycle Path for you today, Poddies. Not Seneca today, but Marcus Aurelius, another wise person who knew how to survive 2022 2000 years ago and will be paying attention to what’s directly in front of us of course, as we always do.

Welcome to Walk the Pod.

Paying attention to what’s directly in front of me

My lovely friend Ariana sent me a message just now saying it’s mild out and it is mild out. So actually, it’s really quite pleasant out here today and can’t see the sun. It’s kind of grey and mis. Or at least it looks grey from inside but it’s actually actually warm. And I can see a tiny speck of blue sky. A little pinhole in the clouds shows me that the blue sky is still up there. And there’s some kids kicking a football around on the field. The Thameslink train is going over the railway bridge in the distance very much business as usual on the cycle path this afternoon.

There are 1000 million scooters parked up just inside the chain link fence in the primary school and walking past a prescription on the floor sure we’ll see what it’s for. I don’t know whether Can you read other people’s prescriptions? I think if they’ve dropped them on the floor you can cite slight dizziness other thing I don’t know.

Stoics on the Cycle Path

We were talking yesterday about friendship. Seneca was advising his friend to be very slow, to make a friend to spend a good while passing judgement on somebody before accepting them as a friend. But then to embrace them wholeheartedly.

And today’s Stoics on the Cycle Path is from Marcus Aurelius. Now another very, very wise person who I’ve often gone to for advice. Marcus Aurelius wrote a book called Meditations, which essentially was him just jotting down things to himself. sayings that he’d heard from other places. Wise mottos he had picked up from around the place and at the beginning of Meditations, he lists all his mentors and people who’ve given him wise advice over the years.

And he just kept writing these things down until you had books and books and books of them. This one is from book six. And it is the 27th entry in book six. He says,

“How cruel it is not to allow people to strive for what seems to them, their interest and advantage. And yet in a way, you are forbidding them to do this. When you fast that they are wrong. They are surely drawn to their own interest in advantage. But it is not actually so well then teach them show them do not fuss.”

And this is a big theme of Marcus’s Meditations, the idea that he should just be a good person. Don’t wang on to other people about how good you are. Or try to try to sort of humble brag your way through life, explaining to people how wise you are just just demonstrate it by being a good person.

And here, I think he’s saying, let other people pursue whatever seems right to them, even if it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to you. And that is pretty good advice, I think because we can expend an enormous amount of energy wondering why other people do and say all the things other people do and say. It’s, ultimately, wasted energy that we’re never gonna get back. best just to think well, different people like different things. Get on with our own lives.

If you have a favourite piece of Stoic philosophy, do share it with me because I’m very happy to share other people’s favourite bits of Stoic philosophy. And let’s see whether we can glean any wisdom together out of it.

You can email: rach@rachelwheeley.com. You can go to walkthepod.com and press the button marked ‘message.’ And you can leave me 59 seconds of your beautiful voice. You can go to my Instagram @walkthepod you can press the button marked contact. And I was really hoping that will take you to my whatsapp, but apparently it isn’t quite that straightforward.

But see if you can see if you can navigate that. Nigel of Galicia very kindly had a go at that for me yesterday, it doesn’t entirely work. I’m gonna keep working on it, but he’s gonna keep working on it

Daily walking is good for you

it’s nice having a walk. I don’t know whether you’re in the habit of having a daily walk away from your desk at lunchtime. But I highly recommend it. If you’re listening to this podcast while you’re indoors, that is allowed. I’m not going to ban you from listening. But I would much prefer you to use the podcast as an excuse to get out the door at lunchtime have a walk.

Only listen to the podcast while you’re walking and just see what happens. I think you might be surprised by the mental health and physical health benefits of daily walking around your local area particularly if you have some nature around you. And particularly if you have a dog.

I don’t have a dog but I might just take my podcast for walks as if it’s a dog. That’s a normal thing to do. I can see loads of pups in the distance over there. My favourite type of dog little brown dogs are not good at identifying dogs, little brown dogs saying hello to each other.

New kittens on the block

Also, very excitingly, have some kittens, new kittens on my block where I live. So I was watching them this morning. One of them which is white with grey splodges likes to sit under the hedge and watch people walking around. And so it goes and sits in its usual spot every morning and has a good has a good look at everybody whilst keeping nice and safe under the hedge so that was entertaining.

And then of course we also have many squirrels that live where I live so I always have fun watching them as well. I managed to get a picture of one this morning, but it will my lens clips going if you know lens, it’s like Instagram stories, but it’s for Patreon. So, the pod walking club got pictures of the squirrel.

Every squirrel is called Peanut by the way, I don’t know whether you know that. But I’m got the pictures of peanuts this morning. So it’s quite proud to have captured it. One of them is have a picture of a squirrel the other one is a half a squirrel as it leapt out of the out of the shot as I was trying to take a second picture of it just walking under the railway bridge now as you can probably hear sound changes ever so slightly.

It’s kind of windy today. So if you’re getting a lot of wind noise I apologise why I’m trying to trying to baffle it with my very high tech solution of the cuff of a gardening glove which I’ve cut off the bottom of the said garden glove and have looped over the bottom of my phone in order to create a bit of a baffle from wind noise. This is what this is what 10 years of BBC sound engineering teaches you how to baffle with noise from your podcast. That was not time wasted, was it?

Outro

Anyway, listen, I think it’s time I went now I’ve got to go and do a few errands. But um, because I’m not working this week, I’m resting this week. Getting better from the surgery I had a couple of weeks ago. And so I’ve got a few errands to do not actually working afternoon. But thank you for walking with me as ever.

And I am going to be back tomorrow with another daily episode of Walk the Pod. So remember, if you want to take me up on my challenge, to listen to the next episode, on a lunchtime walk, and then you can always report back to me how it went. And one of the ways that I mentioned earlier you can also tweet me @rachelwheeley if you like that sort of thing. So take care of your beautiful mind this afternoon. And I look forward to speaking to you again tomorrow.

https://anchor.fm/rachelwheeleyisfunny/episodes/WtP-S24E2–Do-not-fuss-e1e3rh0

Walk the Pod Series 24 Episode 1 – Transcript

Introduction

Hello and welcome to Walk the Pod, your daily walking show where I take my podcast for a walk because I don’t have a dog, you take 10 minutes out of the day, to walk in nature and to pay attention to what’s directly in front of you.

My name is Rachel Wheeley, a comedian and human in the world trying to figure out how to be. Welcome to Series 24. Very, very excited to bring you this brand new series, a series which I’m recording while I’m off work. I am not working at the moment because I am sick.

Now I’m not 100% sick, not bed bound sick, but I was in hospital last week following some breathing difficulties I was having in the previous few series. Some of you pointed out to me at various points, Rach, you need to sort your breathing out because it’s getting a bit worrying.

And I’ve now had it sorted out but I’m resting because it takes a while to recover from surgery it turns out, despite my hopes that I would just bounce back and be back, completely better by this point. It’s not quite that simple. So I think I sound okay, I sound well but I’m I’m tired, I’m tiring easily. And so I’ve got to take it a little bit easy.

Leaving the flat

So I’m starting recording this episode in my flat and I’m going to open the front door now step out into my little patch of grass outside my flat and lock up, obviously, very important.

Got to lock up properly.

And here we are right now I am on the road, just outside my flat and proceeding towards the bike track. Very exciting to be going back towards my beloved bike track for the beginning of a brand new series. Welcome to walk the pod.

Welcome to Series 24

If you’re new to the podcast, welcome along. I’ve been Instagramming my butt off. So I hope that a few people have come to listen to the show having found my Instagram account. Social media can get in a bin obviously, but Instagram seems to be okay. It does seem to be doing my head in a bit less than some of the other ones. So I’m sticking with that.

Apologies for any coughing on the podcast

Now I’ve got to apologise in advance for any coughing and spluttering if that happens on the episode today. I’m not 100% better and still a little bit prone to the occasional coughing fit. But I’ll try and keep that to an absolute minimum, Poddies, obviously. How the devil are you. I hope you are having a good day – Monday the beginning of a new week. And as you can hear, the kids are out in the Wimbledon Chase primary school playground, whooping and hollering and running around, which is always lovely to hear.

It’s the most beautiful day in the world

It’s the most beautiful day in the world, the sun is shining.

And there’s lots of fluffy clouds in the sky.

Couple of vapour trails and there’s a little bit of a breeze as well. A little bit breezy today as I walk past a Type II mask on the floor. This is going to be the next problem we have to deal with is how we cope with all of the masks and all of the little tiny bits of lateral flow device tests that are all over the place now. Got to clean all of that up at some stage. Not the pandemic is over yet. But you know, it’s gonna be it’s gonna be an ongoing issue.

An oak tree, in bud

Walking under an oak tree, which has got some beautiful sticky buds on the end of all the branches. Which is exciting because it’s like, this is the new the new spring life that’s going to be exploding onto the scene in a few weeks time. So really, really exciting to see that. I was reading an amazing article by somebody called now can I remember her name? Beronda Montgomery who wrote this article, which was saying that in the winter, we get to see the naked trunks of the trees.

And what we can see from the naked trunks of the trees, is basically the history of that tree. The architecture of the trunk tells us so much about the trauma that that tree has suffered in the course of its life. And the point she was making is that trees don’t rush to heal from trauma, they take their time. Quite often, they’re trying to balance sort of protection of a wound from the environment with the sort of ongoing restructuring that it might want to do in order to avoid rushing to heal a wound to quickly and cause problems in the long term.

And I read that article on a day when I was considering whether I go straight back to work or not after my time in hospital, whether could I actually do a day’s work? I mean, I probably just about good. I read this article, and I was like, No, absolutely not. I need to take more time to heal because the the impact, the long term impact of rushing back to work could be significant in ways that I can’t really predict.

For those of you who who haven’t been following this entire story, I was suffering from some breathlessness. Like, for months and months I’ve been suffering from breathlessness and people listening to the podcast have noticed me taking this huge deep breath in the middle of sentences.

And it all came to a head a couple of weeks ago, and I went to hospital and was diagnosed with subglottic stenosis, which basically means my windpipe was narrow, which all stems back to an operation I had when I was 15 months old, apparently, which is absolutely insane.

But that apart from anything else that just goes to show that something can have a kind of a long term impact on your health.You know, I mean, it’s kind of, not really when you think about it. But apparently, that’s what’s happened.

Chatsworth Avenue

Just walking past the end of Chatsworth Avenue in the Wimbledon Chase Conservation Area. Anyway, I wanted to welcome you all very warmly to a new series of the podcast. I’m so excited to be bringing you a new series, I’ve got some new things I want to include. In every episode of this series.

There’ll be 15 episodes, five episodes a week, Monday to Friday, daily walking episode for you. My challenge to you is to take a break from your desk at lunchtime. Use the podcast as a reason to get out the front door. Don’t listen to this podcast in your house. Tell yourself you’re only going to listen to this podcast whilst on your lunchtime walks. And I’m going to bring you Stoics on the Cycle Path which is the new What Would Marcus Do? For those who remember the series where we read from Marcus Aurelius Meditations everyday? Well, this series I am going to be adding in other Stoic philosophers. So I’m going to call it Stoics on the Cycle Path instead, that’s okay. And today’s Stoics on the Cycle Path comes from not Marcus Aurelius, but Lucia Seneca.

Stoics on the Cycle Path

This is from Lucius Seneca and is from a letter that Seneca wrote on friendship.

“I would encourage you to discuss everything with a friend, but first of all, discuss the person themselves. When friendship has just begun, you must trust before friendship is formed, you must pass judgement. Most people pass the judgement after the friendship is formed, violating the rules instead of making him their friend after they have judged him. Contemplate for a long time, whether you shall grant a person your friendship, but when you have decided to allow it, welcome him or her with all your heart and soul.”

So Seneca goes on to talk about in his letter, the idea that you should talk to your friends as you talk to yourself. Now in order to talk to your friends, as you talk to yourself, you need to choose very wisely the friends you wish to keep because friends not just everybody we meet, you know, Facebook would tell you that friends are anyone you’ve ever met, or random people that you have worked with 20 years ago, you know, all of this thing, but actually actual friends like real friends, we need to be quite discerning about who we decide to have as our friends. And arguably, I think Seneca saying we need to spend quite a bit of time deciding whether someone is going to be our friend or not, before we decide that they are going to be joining, joining us in that in that way, and then sort of throw yourself wholeheartedly into it. I think it’s the point he’s trying to make. Which is interesting.

You know, the modern world kind of suggests that we just sort of casually make acquaintances and all of those people are our friends. But Seneca is arguing that we need to be a bit more careful.

What We Do in the Shadows

And I’ve been watching a brilliant TV series recently called What We Do In The Shadows, the Walk the Pod walking club is actually going to be watching what we do in the Shadows, the film, which is a 2014 film on Friday evening, this week, but I’ve been watching the TV series as well, because I’m saving the film for Friday Night Film Club having not seen it before. And in that series is an energy vampire. And I’m fascinated by this idea.

Colin

Now the energy vampire in What We Do In The Shadows is called Colin, and is the kind of classic Energy Vampire, a white balding, middle aged man who bores people that he’s talking to, to death, literally, with his tedious conversation now, I would argue that there are many other kinds of energy vampires. Or you could say Emotional Vampires out there people who, people who are extremely charismatic.

Charismatic energy vampires

So it’s, it’s not always boring people to death, you can be an extremely charismatic energy vampire. I think the thing that classifies energy vampires to me is somebody who has lots of problems and takes responsibility for none of it, putting all of those problems onto other people who have let them down in various ways.

And those people will continue to find that people let them down. And something which I’ve been very interested in over the last couple of years is the extent to which there are people you meet, who for whom nothing is a problem, they make heavy weather of precisely nothing at all. Nothing that you do, can possibly bother them, nothing that happens to them can possibly bother them.

And they find ways of exploring. They find ways of exploring the joys available in the situation available to them, as opposed to dreaming of joys in a situation that they are not placed in. And then there are other people for whom the things I do as a casual acquaintance are very problematic to them, they make very heavy weather, if at all, this is terrible thing that you’ve done, oh, you’ve really let me down, you’ve really made everything awful, you’ve ruined my life.

And then, it’s just interesting that that there are some people for whom that is never something they would say, and other people for whom that is always something they would say. Thus, we find ourselves surrounded by emotional and energy vampires.

And I think it’s, it’s just, it’s just fascinating that Seneca, writing 2000 years ago, knew about this, and has written it all down for us to read. And yet none of us really are aware of it. So that’s just something to think about. Today.

That’s your stoics from the psychopath section today.

Get in touch

If you have any thoughts about that, you can email me: rach@rachelwheeley.com, you can go to walkthepod.com you can press the button marked message and you can leave me 59 seconds of your beautiful voice on friendship, emotional Vampires or anything else is makes you think of and I’ve managed somehow in a way that has completely broken my WhatsApp account, but I’ve managed somehow to put my WhatsApp account on my Instagram so if you want to send me a voice message, which is longer than 59 seconds of your beautiful voice. You can go to @walkthepod on Instagram, press contact, choose the WhatsApp option and you can leave me a voice note there.

This may have put my mobile phone number on the internet for all to see. I’m not entirely sure. It’s certainly broken my WhatsApp account because it now won’t let me into the original WhatsApp account. I’m only allowed into the business WhatsApp it down. But look, I love you guys and it’s worth it. Okay, so leave me a voice note via WhatsApp if you’d like to.

Outro

Well, I’ve walked most of the length of the cycle path and most of the way back and I feel fine. So that’s very good. I think that’s a very good start, I apologise again, for coughing, spluttering and generally not being quite 100% on this episode, but I’m keen to bring you this new series. And I think it’s worth pushing through any sort of temporary problems in order to get the new series up and running.

A formal invitation to join the Walk the Pod walking club

So thank you so much for walking with me. As ever. I want to make a formal invitation to you to join the Walk the Pod walking club because it’s ideal to get in at the beginning of a new series so you can take advantage of the new series energy that there is on the Discord server, go to rachelwheeleyisfunny.com and join up on the walking club for daily Lens clips behind the scenes of The Walking of the podcast. For access to the Walk the Pod Discord server, where you can chat to walkers all over the world and seasonal postcards from the cycle path which I have posted this morning to everyone in this in the walking club in the moment but it is not too late. He joined up today. I will send you your very own seasonal postcard from the bike track today.

Take care of your beautiful mind.

I have a an Eleanor Roosevelt, quote to leave you with which is “Happiness is not a goal. It’s a byproduct of a life well lived.”

I’ll speak to you tomorrow

WtP S27E15 | Raindrops Walk the Pod

Bringing the season to a satisfactory conclusion this afternoon with some thoughts on speciesism, stillness and presence. Thank you for walking with me. — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/rachelwheeleyisfunny/message
  1. WtP S27E15 | Raindrops
  2. WtP S27E14 | Swedish hornbeam
  3. WtP S27E13 | Gorgeous elderflower
  4. WtP S27E12 | Dandelion clocks
  5. WtP S27E11 | Tiny white petals

Walk the Pod Christmas Special

WtP S27E15 | Raindrops Walk the Pod

Bringing the season to a satisfactory conclusion this afternoon with some thoughts on speciesism, stillness and presence. Thank you for walking with me. — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/rachelwheeleyisfunny/message
  1. WtP S27E15 | Raindrops
  2. WtP S27E14 | Swedish hornbeam
  3. WtP S27E13 | Gorgeous elderflower
  4. WtP S27E12 | Dandelion clocks
  5. WtP S27E11 | Tiny white petals

In this episode of your daily walking show, Walk the Pod, Rachel Wheeley takes her podcast for a walk because she doesn’t have a dog. Rach invites you to take 10 minutes out of your day to walk in nature and to pay attention to what’s directly in front of you.

I’m back with the third bonus episode for Christmas 2021. My good friend Nick sent me some satirical musical numbers which, in his words, he didn’t know what to do with. I said, I know what to do with them, let me put them on the podcast; the Poddies are going to absolutely love this stuff.

Enjoy these two songs from Nick, Smells Like Christmas Spirit and The Metaverse.

Walk the Pod

A square Walk the Pod logo showing trainers walking on a cycle path

Walk the Pod is your daily walking show, where I take my podcast for walks because I don’t have a dog.

Take 10 minutes out of the day to walk in nature and to pay attention to what’s directly in front of you.

Every day, I walk a 500m foot path near my flat in Wimbledon Chase, South West London, enjoying the weather, the people and pups walking around, and enjoying the mental and emotional health benefits of a daily stroll.

Listeners have said:

“A great example of a simple, intimate format, with listener messages.” – Podnews

Listen to Walk the Pod

Join the Walk the Pod walking club

Stand Up for Towel Day 2021

Tonight, Stand Up for Towel Day and Save the Rhino International invite you to a raucous evening of fun and merriment to celebrate all things ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’.

In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams wrote, ‘A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.’’ On 25 May each year, fans carry a towel in Douglas’ honour.

Since 2017, Stand Up for Towel Day has provided a place to gather after a day of celebratory towel carrying for stand-up comedy, slam poetry, sketches, improv and more in homage to Douglas and his work.

For the second year in a row, we’ve teamed up with Stand up for Towel Day’s curator, Rachel Wheeley, and producer, Nell Thomas, to bring you the 2021 edition of the event.

Whether you’re a fan of Douglas Adams or just fancy a laugh and an opportunity to raise some money for rhinos, we hope to see you tonight!

Tickets

The Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture 2021

On March 11, 2021, Douglas Adams fans from around the world gathered online to commemorate the 42nd anniversary of his remarkable book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Douglas was a founding patron of Save the Rhino International. He once climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in a rhino costume and even wrote about it in The Salmon of Doubt.

After Douglas’ death in 2001, his family began working with Save the Rhino to set up the Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture; an event with a number of speakers, each focusing on a topic that Douglas was interested in, such as science, exploration, conservation and comedy. The event is traditionally held in March around Douglas’ Birthday, 11th March.

The lecture brings Douglas’ fans together, shares an insight into many fascinating topics with brilliant speakers, and raises vital funds for rhino conservation. In recent years, speakers have included Alice Roberts, Brian Cox and Neil Gaiman.

This year, the event included: a fascinating lecture by Baroness Susan Greenfield (The Creative Mind: Insights from Neuroscience), and a presentation by Arvind Ethan David (On the Advisability of Writing Fan Mail), featuring the world premiere of “Socially Distanced Dirk” a new holistic short starring Samuel Barnett and Hannah Marks.

I was lucky enough to host the show from my living room!

About the speakers:

Baroness Susan Greenfield

Founder and CEO of Neuro-Bio Ltd, Baroness Greenfield is a neuroscientist, writer and broadcaster. She has published more than 200 papers in peer-reviewed journals, and is based mainly at Oxford University but has held research fellowships at the College de France Paris, NYU Medical Center New York and Melbourne University. Baroness Greenfield holds 32 honorary degrees from UK and foreign universities, has received numerous honours including the Legion d’Honneur from the French Government, an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal College of Physicians, The American Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award, and The Australian Medical Research Society Medal. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Arvind Ethan David

Arvind Ethan David is a writer, producer and cultural entrepreneur whose career started with Douglas Adams. David is a lead producer on Broadway’s 15-time Tony-Nominated Jagged Little Pill the musical, based on the seminal Alanis Morissette album. David has produced 9 feature films, including the Asian Academy Award-winning The Garden of Evening Mists, and works extensively in television, including producing Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency based on the Douglas Adams books for Netflix and BBC America.

David’s career began as a student when he adapted Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency as his school play – and Douglas Adams came to see the production and endorsed it as the official adaptation. That started a friendship with Adams and an association with his work that continues to this day.

Samuel Barnett

Samuel Barnett is an English actor best known for his roles in Dirk Gently, Penny Dreadful and The History Boys, and is an Olivier Award and two-time Tony Award nominee for his stage work.

Hannah Marks

Hannah Marks’ is an actress and filmmaker. Rolling Stone named her one of their 25 Under 25 artists changing the world, and she was recently one of FORBES magazine’s 30 trailblazers under 30. Hannah plays Amanda in Dirk Gently.