David Attenborough floats my boat. Let’s face it, if you were floating in a leaking boat down the Kalungwishi River in the far-flung reaches of Zambia he’d be the man to be at your side. The thinking woman’s MacGyver; he might not be able to patch the hull with a piece of string and some chewing gum. However, he’d at least he’d be the man to calmly expound the virtues of the many plants and animal species found there as you drifted dangerously close to the edge of a waterfall and certain death . . .
It’s all in his delivery; his calm, knowledgeable voice, breathless with wonder that makes people interested enough to take notice of the world around them. His posh upper crust English voice is husky and downright sexy. Yet, it is tempered with an accessibility not seen before in nature documentary making.
I remember watching his ‘Life on Earth’ series as a child and being just as enthusiastic as him about rocks, fossils, evolution and the diversity of the many weird and wonderful creatures on our planet. It was partly due to Sir David that I began collecting rocks and fossils and later in life romanced myself about getting a job on his programme.
Every Sunday evening the series would air on ABC TV in my hometown, and I would race inside to watch it – getting my education about strange animals and places, the likes I had only ever read about in books.
It was with great interest that I heard on the news that Sir David now has a minute spider named after him. The prethopalpus attenboroughi spider or Goblin spider is just 1mm in length and found only on Horne Island in the Torres Strait. To me, although a great honour, the spider seemed disproportionate to the magnificent man it was named after. However, true to form Sir David was excited. “It is incredible that in the 21st century our scientists are still documenting and describing so many new species,” he said.
Spiders float Master 3’s boat. Just this morning he dressed up as Spiderman and we investigated a newly woven web in the garden.
Like Sir David, he has a fascination for nature’s creatures and loves spider stickers, spider logos, spider books and Spiderman (despite having never seen the movies). It has set the tone for the day, with constant questions about the spider, where it lives and how ‘scary’ it is.
So, which silver-haired gentleman floats your boat?