An accidental Jackson Pollock

January 2, 2008 at 5:29 pm | Posted in Assistant Post Mistress, Life in the snow | 1 Comment

17th December

Ships n’ snores from five am onwards but we’re allowed to doze until nine. White and overcast outside, warm enough to pad around in pyjamas, which I do, to see if there are any chicks. Gentoos seem quite clucky, but firmly snuggled down over their nests. A couple tucked under the genny shed are getting soaked as melt drips off the roof – bedraggled! Eat porridge and write as Helen, back in bed reads and Rick peels and chops apples for stewing. Elvis sings Christmas, then Frank and Bing do too. We wish we had Merry Woolworths tunes too. Rick climbs onto the roof and starts slapping on the bitumen. Helen and I drape Christmas decorations everywhere in a desperate attempt to feel festive. I’m not quite lethargic, just severely lacking in energy. We’re pleased with our efforts. Rick says ‘What have you done?!’ when he sees. (What does he mean?) Bread, cheese, salad and cured venison sausage for lunch, sitting outside in remains of the sun. Apples and cream for pud, good. Tea and  chocs later too. Wash up. Wonder when Shokalskiy may arrive – they’re running late. Restock as quickly as possible. Poor Ricky has a hole in his bucket, and spatters black paint all through the corridor, an accidental Jackson Pollock. Penguins odiferous. Rivulets of meltwater glisten between rocks. Lie and sleep for half an hour, which is at least forty winks. Reviving tea, we do drink a lot, well this is a very British outpost. Then see Shokalskiy in a shot of light sailing from the Neumayer. A passenger walks up the ramp with our first sack of mail. Jubilations. She is a teacher from St. Georges in Edinburgh and is in the advance party in order to purchase stamps for 300 envelopes, (a fundraising project which I’d heard about through Judith and Fiach.) By extraordinary coincidence, Helen is an alumni of this educational establishment; she sorts out stamps in a complicated variety of denominational combinations under the beady (and twinkling) eye of Mrs. Mackie. I go and in vestigate sack of post – oh goodness… ALL the parcels are for me. There’s some philatelic items and a couple of cards for Helen. I feel awful and so sad again for the other parcels lost on the sea bed. Rush (as far as is possible) into immersion suits and over to ship. We’re shown into the engine room to leave our stuff. Noisy. Flustering. Barbeque in full swing. Fine gruel and sausages. It’s hard to eat, drink gluwein and answer questions all at the same time. Helen goes to supervise stamp-sticking-on so barely eats anything. Then into bar for swift briefing before whizzing back and trying to remove suits and slide behind counter before first pax ascend the ramp. Tilley lamp and our Christmas lights are lit. Merry and short visit as about half the group are off to camp at Dorian Bay tonight. Precious parcel from P, extra-special banana socks from Susan, apposite Santa hats from Louise, jiffy full of surprises from D + A, gorgeous treats and long, long letter from Aileen. I ‘m so lucky and loved. And thought all these parcels lost. Rick in bed not feeling great. We sing him carols and celebrate inaugural lighting of lamps on his bedside tree, which surge to life in a very appealing manner. Read letters and treasure the thoughts. Save some to open later and sleep with many warm feelings.


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  1. hi Rach – really enjoying reading your blog – hope you received my emails and goodies

    have fun!

    Pat xxx

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