Percy Shelley - David Attenborough TV - Dewey Bennell - T E Lawrence - Wild Arabia TV - Ben and James versus the Arabian Desert TV - Arthur Hugh Clough - Wonders of the Solar System TV - Isaiah 35:1 - Anne Lamott - Terry Pratchett - India: Nature's Wonderland TV - Earth’s Greatest Spectacles TV - El Alamein: The Soldier's Story TV - Natural World TV - Gus Casely-Hayford TV - Mankind: The Story of All of Us TV - Jeremy Paxman TV -
126,090. I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert … near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings;
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away. (Desert & King) Percy Shelley, Ozymandias
52,615. A third of the land on our planet is desert. These great scars on the face of the Earth appear to be lifeless but surprisingly none are. In all of them life manages somehow to keep a precarious hold. (Animals & Earth & Desert) David Attenborough, Planet Earth: Deserts s1e5
52,616. Darkness brings huge changes. In the Sahara the temperature can drop as much as thirty degrees during the night. (Animals & Earth & Desert & Temperature) ibid.
52,617. The Atacama in Chile: this is the driest desert in the world. Some parts may not see rain for fifty years. (Animals & Earth & Desert & Chile) ibid.
52,618. Lizards are desert specialists. (Animals & Earth & Desert & Reptiles) ibid.
52,619. Gigantic plagues several billion strong, and as much as forty miles wide. They will consume every edible thing that lies in their path. This is one of planet Earth’s greatest spectacles. It’s rarely seen on this scale and it won’t last long. (Animals & Earth & Desert & Plagues) ibid.
99,846. Imagine a world where temperatures rise to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Where’s there’s no escape from the sun, wind and dust. Imagine a world with almost no food or water. These are the conditions in one third of the lands of our planet. To live here demands the most extraordinary survival strategies. (Earth & Nature & Desert & Rain) David Attenborough, Planet Earth s2e4
99,847. It does sometimes rain the desert. Here in the American West, storms can strike with devastating force. After ten months of drought, millions of tonnes of water are dumped on the land with in under an hour. (Earth & Nature & Desert & Rain) ibid.
99,848. Locusts: an unstoppable force that devours everything in its path. But this devastation is about to get a lot worse. The locusts now transform into winged adults … They can take to the skies … A super-swarm of this scale may only appear once in a decade: this one one extends over 200 miles and contains several billion individuals. (Earth & Nature & Desert & Rain) ibid
62,581. North Africa: high in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, Barbary Macaques shiver in the icy cedars. (Africa & Desert) David Attenborough, Africa: Sahara
62,582. The Sahara transformed north Africa; today it covers an area the size of the United States. (Africa & Desert) ibid.
62,583. A sandstorm can be a thousand miles across. (Africa & Desert) ibid.
62,584. Meet the naked mole rats – these sabre-toothed savages wouldn’t last a day in the desert. (Africa & Desert) ibid.
62,585. This is a resurrection plant ... dead limbs absorb water and unfurl in a matter of minutes. (Africa & Desert) ibid.
62,586. The temperature of the sands can exceed 70 degrees Celsius. (Africa & Desert) ibid.
62,587. The silver ant is the hardiest of all desert inhabitants. (Africa & Ants & Desert) ibid.
62,588. If the silver ants were our size, they’d be doing 280 mph. (Africa & Ants & Desert) ibid.
53,550. I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain. (Horse & Desert & Rain) Dewey Bunnell, lyrics ‘Horse with No Name’
63,552. The silent threat of a vast unknown desert. (Arabia & Desert) T E Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom
69,824. Mud flats are purgatory. Sun reflects from them like mirror flame-yellow cut into our eyes. T E Lawrence, six-hundred mile trek to capture Aqaba in 1917
69,829. Men have looked upon the desert as barren land, the free holding of whoever chose; but in fact each hill and valley in it had a man who was its acknowledged owner and would quickly assert the right of his family or clan to it, against aggression. T E Lawrence
63,563. The largest sand desert in the world smothers the land. (Arab & Desert) Wild Arabia I: Sand, Wind and Stars BBC 2013
63,565. The camel is almost as well adapted to the desert as the oryx. (Arab & Desert & Camel) ibid.
63,566. Under the clear desert sky the temperature plummets. (Arab & Desert) ibid.
63,567. Ten thousand years ago Arabia was green but she’s been gradually drying out ever since. (Arab & Desert) ibid.
63,583. Oil and the wealth it has brought has transformed this land bringing the twenty-first century to the desert. (Arab & Desert & Oil) Wild Arabia III: Shifting Sands
63,593. The Empty Quarter – spanning over two hundred and fifty thousand square miles across the Arabia Peninsula, it’s the largest expanse of sand in the world. (Arab & Desert) Ben and James versus the Arabian Desert I, BBC 2013
69,825. What shall we do without you? Think where we are. Carlyle has led us all into the desert, and he has left us there. Arthur Hugh Clough
69,826. The Sahara is fifty times wetter than the Atacama. There are weather stations here that have measured one millimeter of rain fall in ten years. Wonders of the Solar System: Aliens
69,827. The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. Isaiah 35:1
69,828. If you don’t die of thirst, there are blessings in the desert. You can be pulled into limitlessness, which we all yearn for, or you can do the beauty of minutiae, the scrimshaw of tiny and precise. The sky is your ocean, and the crystal silence will uplift you like great gospel music, or Neil Young. Anne Lamott
69,830. Night poured over the desert. It came suddenly, in purple. In the clear air, the stars drilled down out of the sky, reminding any thoughtful watcher that it is in the deserts and high places that religions are generated. When men see nothing but bottomless infinity over their heads they have always had a driving and desperate urge to find someone to put in the way. Terry Pratchett, Jingo
87,580. The Thar desert in the north-west of India is the largest desert in the country. It is as large as Britain. (India & Desert) India: Nature's Wonderland II
97,370. The Kalahari basin: two and half million square kilometres of flat sand and scrub – this desert stretches across southern Africa. But at its heart lies a river – a river that never reaches the sea. And once a year it floods. For over five months water is spread across a vast area of the Kalahari. (Desert & Earth) Earth’s Greatest Spectacles: Okavango
26,999. El Alamein was Britain’s first major land victory of the Second World War. The desert battles which took place in 1942 were some of the bloodiest of the North African campaign. (World War II & Battle & Desert) El Alamein: The Soldier’s Story, Yesterday 2013
106,624. The Sahara – the deadliest of deserts. It spans 11 countries, a vast area of more than 3 million square miles. It can reach staggering temperatures of 50 degrees plus. (Morocco & Desert & Mali) Alice Morrison, Morocco to Timbuktu: An Arabian Adventure II
106,625. For the traders of old it was a 50-day journey across the seemingly endless sands of the Sahara all the way to Timbuktu. (Morocco & Desert & Mali) ibid.
106,626. To this day slavery has never been officially abolished in Morocco. (Morocco & Desert & Mali & Slavery) ibid.
112,268. Africa: where the human race began. Nearly a billion people live here. It’s a continent with an incredible diversity of communities and cultures. Yet we know less of its history than almost anywhere else on Earth. (Africa & Sudan & Desert) Gus Casely-Hayford, Lost Kingdoms of Africa s1e1: Nubia, BBC 2010
112,269. The far north of the continent in what is now known as Sudan. I’m looking for the legendary kingdom of Nubia. Nubia is the traditional name for the northern part of Sudan near the Egyptian border For thousands of years a civilisation dominated the area there in what’s now eastern Sahara … A source of slaves and treasure, dancing girls and wrestlers … These people were conquerers in their own right. (Africa & Sudan & Desert) ibid.
112,270. There are more pyramids here than there are in Egypt. (Africa & Sudan & Desert & Pyramid) ibid.
112,271. Water was the key to this Nubian kingdom. (Africa & Sudan & Desert) ibid.
112,272. They [Egyptians] clearly regarded them as inferior. (Africa & Sudan & Desert) ibid.
112,273. They’d even developed writing. (Africa & Sudan & Desert) ibid.
112,274. The desert continued its relentless incursion. (Africa & Sudan & Desert) ibid.
111,352. 1352: the Sahara: the largest desert on the planet … Ibn Battuta: He left Morocco at age 21 vowing never to travel the same road twice. He has explored over 40 countries but this is his first time in the Sahara … The plague raging through Asia, Europe and the Middle East; it’s killed up to a fifth of the world’s population … but the Sahara is a barrier against the Pandemic. (Humanity & Pandemic & Desert & Exploration & Plague) Mankind: The Story of All of Us VI: Survivors
31,240. On Kitchener’s desert train had come machine guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition. At Omdurman near Khartoum the stage was set for one of the bloodiest battles in the history of empire. (England & Great Britain & Empire) Jeremy Paxman, Empire III: Playing the Game, BBC 2012