The Antarctic Juke Box

November 27, 2007 at 6:32 pm | Posted in Assistant Post Mistress, Dreams and imagination, Life in the snow, Rachel Hazell, The Practicalities of Everyday Life Out Here | Leave a comment

10th November

Make porridge after gentle ball gyrations and the best outside pee – the water absolutely dead calm and snowflakes falling. Supposedly warmer. Into chilly overalls after teeth and dishwashing, to finish scraping the genny shed entrance, then sanding, then undercoating. Listen to lounge music, then Lemon Jelly on loud – we’re all out painting hall/porch walls and ceilings. Corned dog and sardines for lunch, with chocolate. Rick’s sweetie of choice is liquorice and there’s only a limited supply, so the others have to sneak pieces. Three giant petrels noisy around the apple turnover wedge of berg out front. Nine cape petrels were there the other day. Lumps of snow slide off the hut roof with a whumf, intermittently. Finish first undercoat. Take slop bucket to sling into the sea and take an hour walking back – the penguins are so distracting. Click zillions of photographs. Sheathbills are doing the love thing on the porch roof – tricky when the lady underneath is standing on one leg and her tail feathers are in the way. Snow is slushier…must be warmer then?! Two mins to reply to e-mails, then down to chains landing for a snow wash surrounded by glassy cold sea, bergy bits sparkling and icicles hanging round this outdoor bathroom. Not adept at washing bits without ice ending up down long johns. Glistening sights. Cold nose. Trumpeting gentoos. It’s Saturday Night and we’re going ‘out’ after Rick’s feast… I mean, we’re going out of the bunkroom and into the museum lounge, where the gramophone needle is sharp and ready. Tudor dresses up, Saturday night BAS style in shirt and proper shoes. I ruffle up hair, put on stripey jumper and pink lipstick. Helen has new thermals on, and Rick a smart Port Lockroy top. Top tunes include:

‘Run Rabbit Run.’
‘Takes Two to Tango.’
‘I Whistle a Happy Tune.’
‘The Lady is a Tramp.’
‘Blow the Wind Southerly.’
‘When i’m Cleaning Windows.’

and my favourite for marching…

‘Oh Ain’t it Grand to be in the Navy.’

Extraordinary tone – an acoustic glimpse of the past. Our dancing impersonates the penguins on purpose and maybe not. Layers of thermals are removed due to enervating music. Since needle requires changing  for every record, the evening progresses elegantly… until i-Pod and speakers replace the hand-winding, and bopping continues, steaming up the windows.

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