Outside to sit on rock and consider the high horizons.

April 7, 2008 at 5:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

30th January

Poor Helen thrashing and feverish. Rick kindly makes tea, except it’s not peppermint… how long have we been here?! Polar Star are the first visitors. Warned by Rick, who has met pax during talk, that there are some serious philatelists onboard, as well as Bernard de Gerlache, whose ancestor explored so much local territory. Very upbeat morning. A couple in tears – their parents loved this place and died last year – they have brought memorial cards to leave here. Emotional. Damon buys Iceberg Library postcards and tries to explain Belgian hierarchy. Not sure how long we have ’til next ship – slightly cowed by amount of post stacking up to be cancelled. And Helen is achey, not well. Frank a counterful while Rick and Helen restock and H retreats to bed, prescribed a Lemsip (not by me!) Rick even gets extra t-shirts as he has seen gaps, very good. Can’t be bothered to eat. Plonk on bunk to attach stamp to all the Nordnorge mail. Rick offers to fry bacon and tomatoes, which, with avocado is really splendid. Orlova arrives. Rick goes over to do talk. The ship has mail from Stanley for us; parcels for me from Belinda and Nessie (big smiles) and finally some for Rick. Helen vaguely present but fades towards the end. I push her off to bed so that she doesn’t breathe flu fumes on everybody. Funny to hear snippets of Victoria’s progress. Roger, Hannelis et al pop in for a minute. Um it’s all a muddle now, only a few hours later…somehow we set ourselves up for the third ship – Multanovskiy. H stays in bed; there are only forty passengers. Meet the very nice Johnathan Shackleton, descendant of the honourable explorer, who has recently completed a handsome book about his famous relly, which he presents to Rick (who reciprocates with a bottle of Jamiesons whiskey which we had in the display cabinet, adorned with Antarctic tartan scarf.) Manage the queues fine, even with humour, but utterly unable to contemplate dinner on board. Rick wants (and deserves) to spend time with his mates, so goes out alone. Unmoved, I assess stock, fill shelves, make lists, write e-mails, go to the bed shed for fleeces and the rest. Wish it were possible to kayak; it’s calm and cold. Also carry up half of my postcard sets which will be sent home early, can’t sell them fast enough, more appealing in another context maybe. Helen sleeps on all hot. Outside to sit on rock and consider the high horizons. An iceberg rolls and settles, stratified with rubble and mud. A yacht is moored in Alice Creek – I can see the mast and two people walking amongst the birds at Jougla Point. Rick is returned. Other zodiacs from Multanovskiy take campers to Dorian Bay – the buzz of engines and penguin calls echo. Fingers become too cold. Encourage Helen to gargle. Rick opens mail – a late Christmas Macaroni penguin puppet from Birgit.


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  1. Hi Rachel,

    Love your blog and always keep an eye on it.

    I’ve just been memed (no, I didn’t know what it was either, I suspect), and am now meming you, if that’s ok. It works like this:

    1. Pick up the nearest book.

    2. Open to page 123

    3. Find the fifth sentence.

    4. Post the next three sentences.

    5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

    And what I wrote in my blog (www.yellow-lightedbookshop.co.uk), was:

    The next three sentences of the nearest book with that many pages (the nearest are actually a large pile of very well loved and tatty picture and board books) are:

    ‘I hope the silly asses won’t be hopping out here to save me’, she thought. ‘That’d spoil everything.’ She went full speed ahead, nearly doubled up on her kitchen knives. The shore didn’t seem to come any nearer.’

    Little My is out skating on the breaking ice (in Moominland Midwinter). One of my favourite bits of writing ever comes on the next page, as Moomintroll, trying to rescue Little My (un-necessarily), is about to end up in the freezing water:

    ‘Too-ticky stood looking on for a while, and then she went inside the bathing-house and put a kettle of water on the stove… “It’s always like this in adventures. To save and be saved. I wish somebody would write a story sometime about the people who warm up the heroes afterwards”.

    A great, great book, Moominland Midwinter, I totally love it.

    Rachel, I do hope that you don’t mind my meming.

    Take care, and thanks for a great blog.

  2. Sorry, forgot to say that my name’s Hereward and I’m just about to open my own bookshop in deepest and darkest Gloucestershire.

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