“Billions and billions”

It’s Christmas Day, which means Christmas is officially over. YAAYYY, let the shopping begin!

Self is practically devouring Brian Sykes’ Saxons, Vikings, and Celts.  P. 138, we’re in the Ice Age, during which Great Britain was abandoned by all of its human inhabitants because it was just too darn cold. During this period, giant ice floes floated majestically down the Thames river and not a single living organism could be found anywhere.

Apparently, the British Isles were still a part of the European continent (Pardon, then, for using the word “Isles” dear blog readers!). “This does not mean the inhabitants … did arrive overland, only that it was possible to do so at the time … The ice had begun to retreat 4000 years before … ”

Just as Great Britain was slowly becoming more habitable, and a few hardy bands of humans had begun returning, there occurred a new Ice Age, caused when “the earth wobbled once again in its orbit …” which precipitated “a sudden and severe cold snap.” This was, naturally, quite a disaster for the human residents. As Sykes puts it:

The cold “forced the human occupants back down south and cleared the Isles once more. The boundary of the ice … began to spread south again. The sea was frozen right down to northern Spain and the plains of northern Europe reduced once again to barren and inhospitable tundra … But very fortunately, this cold phase … lasted only for about 1,000 years … ”

At times, Sykes writes as if 11,000 and 10,000-year periods of time were really over in a jiffy, which puts self in mind of the late Carl Sagan, who once upon a time had his own TV show and was very fond of using the phrase “billions and billions.” (Self doesn’t know about you, but anything measured by 10,000 years gives her the heebie-jeebies. Because it makes self uncomfortably aware that her teensy little life span is — despite its huge significance to herself — nothing more than a moment. Speaking in terms of the universe, that is)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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