Helen and I step out into the night

January 24, 2008 at 8:09 pm | Posted in Dreams and imagination, Journey | 1 Comment

2nd January

Tiredness lingers, although all we need to do is get dressed, assemble bags of dirty laundry and be at the landing site by eight am. Nordnorge have invited us for breakfast – aah bliss – hello hello friends. Fresh fruit and the smoked salmon I’ve been craving. Our favourite waiter beams and can’t pour us enough coffee/tea/juice. Manage to send brief New Year’s text message… not many replies… All too soon we must rush to return before the pax. Zodiac driver passes me a parcel – assumed it was mail – it’s chocolate for me! Karen’s already on the deck all cheery, keeping an eye on Jougla landings round the corner. Jovial visit overall. Couple of tricky customers, arriving at counter with armfuls of goods yet no money to pay for them. Sigh. Clean clothes – ah, I was beginning to smell like a homeless person. Helen and I stick stamps on all the postcards collected from the ship this am, so that they’re ready to frank straight away. Rick takes advantage of drier conditions to mop through house where guano muck accumulates faster than you can say penguin. Helen boils eggs (semi-successfully) and deals with the lost digit cc transactions from the end of November – four cards whose last four numbers didn’t make the slip. Oh dear, they were all mine, must have been done in a hurry. Surprise e-mail from bestest dearest friends who married in Pitlochry on 31st, so delighted for them, and so sad not to have been there. While Rick is over on Polar Pioneer, Helen takes a radio call from the (Joint British Forces) yacht Discoverer; they have four Ukrainians from Vernadsky who have come to stay the night with us and when would be convenient to drop them off? ! ! ! Helen regains composure rapidly and cautiously agrees to a plan, with the proviso that Rick will need to confirm the details. I feel like singing, so I do, in the genny shed, which Rick hears as he walks up the path – it reminds him of the Storr experience; a lone singer amongst rocky crags (on Sky e, produced by the visionary NVA.) Polar Pioneer visit goes well, jolly Ozzies. All I can think of is ‘We’re having four Ukrainians to stay! How mad.’ Crack open the M+Ms and crunch on handfuls. Once the visit is over we have about an hour to frank/cash up. Just going down to the boatshed as a zodiac disgorges our (un)invited guests. Run down to welcome them and blow me, if it isn’t Connor (the geologist PhD student/partner civvy in the SRM on Endurance) holding the painter. I never imagined we’d manage to meet, even though I knew he was around here with the army. The whole lot of them will come for ‘a proper British visit’ next week. Hurrah. The four Ukrainians look very sheepish and offer to help in any way. I hide to write this up and occasionally check on progress and pressure levels in the kitchen. Bring beer. Gently encourage prospective purchases to be selected now, as we’ll be busy tomorrow. They sweetly choose t-shirts for their ladies and amass piles of orders from their colleagues. Very keen on the t-towels, which is endearing. Stew is ready, Christmas tunes on, table laid. Enjoy dinner, with questions about our life here and Wordie House (near them) and how it all fits into the historic scheme of things. Helen stirs custard for cake. While she and I wash up – there’s no place to put anything – Rick shows a slideshow of sledging times in Antarctica and Alaska. Rick goes to bed. Helen and I step out into the night and walk around with the Verdansky guys, pointing out chicks and picking up bits of egg shell. They’re impressed by the whaler’s chains, and take pictures of everything. We leave them around eleven and tiptoe into bunkroom. Two yachts in the back bay: Discoverer and Australis. Not sure why we’re quiet as snoring has commenced.

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  1. Lovely to hear what you’re up to and will post some snoreze this week!


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