ON FRIDAY, it will be 100 years since the Antarctic explorer Captain Lawrence Oates deliberately walked from his tent into a howling blizzard to die.
He was desperately ill and felt his three companions struggling on their return journey from the South Pole stood a better chance of survival without him.
An extreme situation obviously, but his death has become synonymous with self-sacrifice and it got me thinking: do we still think about others?
Not in an extreme life-or-death situation, but in everyday life.
It is easy to imagine that everyones bogged down in their own lives but I think there is plenty of compassion about.
For instance, when I visit my doctors at Uxbridge Health Centre, I am amazed by the kindness of the receptionists, even when we are grumpy and cough all over them.
An old lady I was chatting to over a cuppa in The Chimes said she hated going home to an empty house, but she was grateful to the Sikh couple next door who keep an eye on her and told her she need never be alone.
My in-laws, who are 84 and 93, moved house to Southampton two years ago and have been overwhelmed by helpful neighbours giving them their phone numbers, all saying ring anytime.
They have had brilliant support from medical and council authorities with gadgets, visiting carers and trips to memory clinics. They have even been given respite care. Without asking for it.
In the end, I think most of us do care. What probably helps is that, according to recent research at UCL, were a nation of optimists and four in five Britons tend to look on the bright side.
Even Oatess famous last words were tinged with hope. I am just going outside and may be some time, he said, as if he was just going to pop to the supermarket for some paracetamol and a Pot Noodle. What a man.
ON A much lighter note, I read an interesting snippet the other day apparently women say on average 25,000 words a day, while men only manage a paltry 12,000.
Mr F reckons its an optimistic guess and theyve missed a few noughts off the first figure. Hmm