Grey. Glassy calm. Snowing small wet drops.

May 19, 2008 at 10:15 pm | Posted in Assistant Post Mistress | Leave a comment

4th February

HAPPY Birthday Megan!

Adults with clumps of grey fluff in their beaks from pecking their chicks. Admonishing, chiding, exercising their wings. Rick is still in pyjamas when Shane radios from Shokalskiy – he says we’re all up and ready. Helen keeps him focused on breakfast, shaving and into boat suit, cachet in the pocket with the right date (my contribution.) Finish nut/fruit/yogurt melange from yesterday. A real Postie from Dorset delivers our sack of letters form Stanley – more Archers for me, choc from London and Amsterdam ! Thank-you, thank-you! This ship is leaving some packages for another, and taking some of our waste away. Rick and Helen have cleared space for incoming deliveries from Endurance – Helen is supervising to avert utter chaos. Endurance radios, enquiring about local weather conditions and tide levels – visibility is very poor. I take one of the calls and am miffed to accidentally sign off with “Over and Out” Doh! Ah the dear familiar plum is out in the bay, hovering behind a large berg, waiting for Shokalskiy to depart. Two boats bring orange-suited matelots for their first walk ashore in a long while. Some familiar faces, but even those don’t recognise the new haircut. I’m all skittery wondering if it will be possible to leave Helen coping with a shop full and Rick with unloading 65 boxes at the Boatshed – but there are several pairs of Able Seaman’s hands to help, so after humping a few loads, I jump in a RIB and zoom over to the mother ship. Wave at the Bridge. Pleased to see Boson chief at the top of the ladder. Greeted by Dr Matthew who will escort me to the Medical Unit Bath – hurrah! Grabbed first for a quick interview by a crew who are recording for Radio 4 (a snippet on Leading Edge, 3rd April listen again at bbc.co.uk) – they are amused that I have come aboard to ablute. Then to meet Captain Bob, who seems impressed with the Iceberg Library postcards I present him with, and delighted to accommodate my request. So, to bathe – bubbles – a proper soak – moments of luxury. Quickly lather on lotion, dress, and head down to SRM, meeting Dave on the way – he had kept some paper I couldn’t carry, and looked out some obsolete charts – very good. Happy to be in the Mess. Down a cider for old time’s sake. Treated to anything I like from the NAAFI, but all I take are three Eat Natural bars and a packet of Dolly Mixture. Also keen to see Chart Room (journal pages diminishing) but Stationary Drawer gleans no crisp notebook – shame. Good to see Kelly Phots again, up on the Bridge. Boat operations have halted because ship is moving to a better anchorage. Relish the time here, but the last boat is going. Back via a rocky beach near the mouth of Peltier, to drop off BAS scientists collecting lichen. It’s a novelty to see this wall of scree close up, having been part of the distant landscape all these months. Run up the path – Mikheev have just commenced their landing – straight behind counter of busy shop. Already the recently unloaded fluffy penguin cuddly toys are lined on every ledge and tucked into every cranny – they’re lovely! Grateful to Helen for allowing such time out. Relaxed visitors wandering all over low tide rocks and out to Bill’s where a leopard seal idles for the cameras. We take the chance to eat tea and cake with Monica, hiding in the Bunkroom, popping out occasionally – her staff have full control! Soon they leave. Helen is tired and hungry – I know because she repeatedly says so, instead of doing something about it. Down to Boatshed to sort newly arrived stock. Rick unpacks while I heft boxes into new workable scheme. Exciting to discover sets of mini magnets, plenty more membership leaflets and ‘useful implements’ – including a clock, a pink hammer and a retro whistling kettle. Rick rants about junk in an exhausted kind of way. I stay in shop, finding storage solutions and finish franking. Shoulder twingeing from shifting stuff this morning. Shut the door and practise yoga. My turn to cook, with the benefit of crucial ingredient, which Bernd so kindly secreted across – Arboreo Rice. Octopus and Tuna Risotto is well received. E-mail-wise, Phil has replied to query about the appropriate collective noun for penguins – officially a ‘colony’ but he thinks a ‘paddle’ could do… Open parcels, feel lucky. Write. Helen rubs Deep Heat onto sore shoulder. Rick very tired, snoring by ten. Now our propane supplies are topped up we are toasty as the wind whips up.

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