First Person - with Fiona Purnell

Fiona Purnell
Fiona Purnell

CHRISTMAS has been and gone, the new edition of the Press is out, you’re reading this and in the words of REM, ‘I feel fine’.

It may have been the end of the world as the Mayans know it on Friday but I’m still here so unless it’s happened in some way that we’ve completely missed, I expect it’s not the end.

Hoorah, we’ve evaded another apocalypse, survived another doomsday.

It seems in the last 10 years or so we’ve been lucky.

I’m not sure what it is, but we must be doing something right.

‘The end is nigh’ is something that’s being said more and more.

There always seems to be some sort of prediction from someone somewhere - be they alive or dead - that the world is going to end.

But it’s not happened yet.

And will it ever happen... in our lifetime? Who knows. Even if it does, we’ll unlikely ever know.

Friday, December 21, 2012 - the date the 5125 year ‘long count’ Mayan calendar ends.

One interpretation of this was that it was the time the apocalypse would strike.


It was just the latest in a series of world’s end predicitions.

The other interpretation is that a new era will begin.

The whole scenario was talked about for days in the run up to the so-called ‘D-Day’.

It was all over the television, in newspapers and on social media sites.

For those believers, the big question was what form would the apocalypse take.

Disaster movies, such as ‘2012’ (Hollywood’s film about the very date in question) and ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ automatically sprung to mind.

Would it be the gigantic tidal wave (sorry folks, being on the coast ain’t a great thing in this scenario); earthquakes, volcanoes, never ending snow fall that would freeze us all to death.

The earth exploding from within or being hit by a huge asteroid.

Or perhaps, fireballs falling through the sky as suggested by one humourous email that did the rounds in FFP Towers last week.

Although I knew all would be fine, these things are always built up to be something they are not, the main concerns were that given the time of year we’d all have gone through the madness and stress of getting organised for the annual festivities and then we wouldn’t get to enjoy the occasion.

There were two bizarre elements surrounding this date of doom - people were placing bets that the end would come that day.

If you were right and your bet came through, what would be the point of it as you wouldn’t be able to collect your winnings?

But the second thing is even more bizarre.


Believers were heading to the mountain Pic de Bugarach in the French Pyrenese, because rumours spread that UFOs would rescue human gatherers from the site when the apocalypse came.

Where this rumour began, we’ll never know, but I have a feeling someone somewhere is having a laugh at the expense of those who believed in the safe site.

Over the years, just from what I can remember, we’ve had countless predicitons that the world is going to come to a horrific end, but we are still waiting.

Nostradamus predicted the arrival of the ‘King of Terror’ in ‘1999 and seven months’.

Pat Robertson, a television evangelist from the States, said ‘something like’ a nuclear attack would occur in late 2007.

And most recently we had Californian radio preacher Harold Camping who has set a date for the end of the world no fewer than six times.

Among his dates were May 21, 2011 and also October 22 that same year. With all these dates passing by without incident, keep calm and carry on - until next time.