Admiring Russian log books, enormous eyes and swimming pools filled with snow

January 2, 2008 at 5:27 pm | Posted in Assistant Post Mistress, Rachel Hazell, The Practicalities of Everyday Life Out Here | Leave a comment

16th December

Misread watch denies Sunday lie. I’m quite in the mood for early Philatelic franking and map folding anyway. Brightness indicates good roof painting opportunity. Rick goes up – his scraping mimics the sheathbills, but louder. He and Helen stop for coffee and croissants, I sip Rooibos, temporarily virtuous. Doesn’t look as though the weather will hold, so painting called off. In the course of helping to scrape, Helen inhales dust of sheathbill excrement eurgh. In a bit I head through thickly falling snow to boatshed to collect some fleeces and cross-stitch kits. Oh the snow! It keeps on coming. Salad and cheese on rye sandwiches. Orlova radios during lunch; anchoring in twenty mins. The visit has just begun when Father Christmas (in the form of Alex the barman) delivers an enormous sack from the catering staff. Ahh! I’m really touched. A Dutch philatelist is SO disappointed that I won’t instantly frank his mail ( I search it out later and deliver freshly inked envelopes to a surprised man in lounge on ship before dinner.) Having folded the National Geographic satellite maps and looked at distant place names, particularly on the far side, past the Weddell Sea where the far flung bases lie, I wonder how to get there, what a whole circumnavigation could be like? How? How? How?! Vlad is delighted that we’ve sold so many of his cds (1000 images of Antarctica for $20!) and brings over some more. Happy that dinner invite allows franking and cashing up in between. Disentangle selves from immersion suits. Rick and Helen shower, I feel clean enough so head straight to bar – washing does cut into red wine time. Phil (ex BAS) gives me a wee tour, including the bridge, where I admire the Russian log books and talk with a navigator-in-training (enormous eyes!) then to the snow-ful swimming pool. There’s no room for us all to sit together for dinner; I share a table with guests, Victoria and Phil. Antennae prick up when Victoria talks of the Certificate in Anta rctic Studies she and her husband undertook. My friend Jean de Pomereau did that too. Hmmm, tempting; will investigate further, when possible… Full of red wine and charming conversation. Vlad whisks us back to Goudier. Chilly in our civvy clothes; quicker to bed the better.

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