Sunday, May 28, 2006

Into the dark

Has it really been a month since I last wrote anything? What on earth have I been up to? Well for starters it's got really rather dark down here. We had our Sundown ceremony, where the oldest person on base (despite her youthful looks this turned out be Liz the chippie), lowers the Union Jack flag that flies over the main building. After the formalities had been dealt with, the only sensible option at -40 seemed to be a barbecue. Brian and Nicola braved the elements to cook burgers, steaks and sausages, which were very tasty for about 5 minutes until they froze to the plate. The silly thing is I'm sure -2 in England feels much colder than -40 down here. We also had a cocktail party on Sundown weekend and had great fun making some interesting concoctions, most of which were drinkable. The term sundown is a bit misleading, and there seem to be any number of differing definitions, but we've still had 3 or 4 hours of usable light per day for most of the month, although there's noticeably less now.

Liz lowers the rather tattered flag

Cooking al fresco

Most people have been hidden away working on winter presents lately. For midwinter there is a tradition that everyone draws a name from a hat, then makes a present for that person. I'd like to say my idea is fully formed and nearing completion but that would be a lie, however I'm confident I'll have something ready for mid June. On a related note I've had some welding tuition from Anto our mechanic. Fran and I had an entertaining evening fusing various bits of metal together, some of it intentional, and we didn't blow the garage up so all in all a great success. Things are continuing on the educational theme, with Vicki running Doc school where we've learned all about breathing, circulation, how to do an emergency tracheotomy, how to insert venflons and take blood, and how to make Jules faint. I don't think the last bit was in the original syllabus but it gave us a handy chance to practice the recovery position. I've also started doing Spanish lessons this month so there are lots of people thpeaking in thtrange acthenths and repeatedly asking each other how many brothers and sisters they have. Guitar, yoga, samba and bridge clubs are still ongoing as well. All we need to do now is find a way to combine them all.

Fran gets busy with the MIG

Jules shortly before closer examination of the floor

Obviously with less light during the day we've had curb our skiing and kiting activities and turn to alternative indoor methods of keeping fit, a good example being our darts match with Bird Island base. In the past this has been done over HF radio, but we thought we'd modernise it a bit, so thanks to the wonders of laptops, webcams and MSN Messenger we had a tense match, narrowly won by Bird Island, who celebrated the win with a barbecue (outside in daylight and positive temperatures, the big girly poofs). Next challengers are Rothera so we're on a strict regime of beer drinking and speaking in Geordie accents to try and get a winning result. Rather more active than the darts was Club Nido, where the garage is turned into an impromptu nightclub, made all the better by a lack of surly bouncers and not having to pay £5 for a bottle of water. The frenetic dancing (mainly by other people) was interspersed with games of Twister, keeping up the Olympic theme. The walk home was exciting as the wind had picked up dramatically over the course of the evening and by the time we left it was about 50 knots. Luckily we have ropes between buildings to guide the way but even so it was a bit daunting trying to navigate while being constantly buffeted and barely able to see your hand in front of your face.

The Halley version of the Hokey Cokey

Lately things have been returning to the old days. We had no internet or phones for four days due to work being done at Cambridge so there were a few people looking rather lost, and this weekend we've had a FIDS theme evening. The dining room was decked out with a pair of snow shoes and a dog sledge, everyone dressed up as gnarly old Antarctic heroes, or cats according to preference, and we had reel to reel cine films and slide shows, although sadly we couldn't get the record player working (for any youngsters reading, CDs used to be black and much, much bigger and you could play them at different speeds).

Ah, there you are Carruthers


Anonymous Dave said...

Wotcher Dave...well that welding stuff will come in handy for the plastic pig, cos if it is anything like mine, large chunks of what used to be steel keep falling off!!

Can I order up a nice aviation grade aluminium space frame chassis please?

Nice to see that summer- sorry winter, has arrrived with a vengeance....what an upside down place, down south is!!


6:27 pm  
Blogger steven edward streight said...

I list Bentley Subglacial Trench, Antarctica as my "location" in my Blogger profile.

Wishful thinking. I love winter and hate to see it pass into spring, even though I also love gardening and suntanning.

I wish I could live in Antarctica for a year or two, but I don't think my wife would go for it.

Thanks for all the good camera images, I can pretend I'm there with you folks.

Small favor: Visit my blog sometime so Antarctica will show up on my Sitemeter Country Share. Thanks.

4:40 am  
Anonymous john baugh said...

of all the bizarre things a -40 BBQ
must take the (frozen solid biscuit) Lookslike it lights better than mine though.

John (on behalf of the Baugh collective)

1:57 pm  

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