I have just started a really interesting book by Brian Fagan, ‘The Long Summer’. I read ‘The Little Ice Age’ back in 2005, when I attended a geology course on climate change, and for the first time really got the hang of the North Atlantic Oscillation (she speaks a strange foreign tongue! ) which is what controls what kind of summer Britain gets, which vastly affects my mood, long wet summers like last year are very grumpy making…remember that super hot week? That’s when I moved house! I nearly keeled over!

What was the point of this? Oh, yes, the importance of  needles and sewing to the survival of humans who left Africa for the North and East, and eventually the Americas. This is what Brian Fagan says:


– he actually places the eyed needle ahead of the flint arrow and spear heads in terms of saving Cro-Magnon humans from perishing on the tundra and steppe that covered what is now mild, fertile and temperate land.

I’m just reading the debate on how the first foragers made their way across Beringia, the land now under the Bering Strait. I find it a real exercise in imagination to picture how huge the glaciers were then, and the polar ice sheets, that what is now ocean was very dry land, super arid, cold desert…

It is already as thought provoking as The Little Ice Age, which made me look at landscape a new way – soil determines so much, water availability, the removal of trees for fuel or to create prairie or grazing changes everything, and sometimes it is a drop of only 10 degrees that changes what trees will survive…

Look out for it in second hand shops and at your library (it was published in 2004) ISBN 1-86207-751-7