Now I am in Cape Town waiting to travel back home. Like Mr. Ben I got to keep a memento from the experience: my pink neck wrap. I'll wear it as often as possible, so if you ever see a fat bloke wearing a pink neck wrap this summer it's probably me.
It strikes me, now that I am no longer in the direct service of BAS, just how just how much you are shielded from the stresses of normal life (as well as being shielded from the hostilities of Antarctica). Slowly the realisation of this is returning to me: Back in the real world I am surrounded by people, traffic, congestion, smoke, noise and adverts. Other worries start to become more apparent too such as the state of my overdraft, bills, the mortgage, and where my next chocolate bar is coming from.
The Antarctic is a most fantastic place and Halley is just incredible. It is not flat: The site undulates, rises and falls, the terrain is like a solid fluid, changing all the time. The landscape is always reshaping itself, and claims back its territory from man at frightening speed. It is not white: It changes colour every hour of the day every day of the year. There is a never-to-be-repeated photographic moment happening all the time. The sun plays tricks with the snow scape and the buildings that hover above it to produce a myriad of colours and moods.
Everyone, even the most well seasoned Antarctic visitors are alert to the changes around them, never tired of what they see and never tired of trying to capture it on film. I feel very privileged to be here and very privileged to be here with BAS. The Antarctic is a fierce and unforgiving place. It really is a hostile environment. Stray outside too long, in the wrong conditions and you can be in very serious trouble. Travelling with BAS and you feel as safe as you could ever be. This is a far cry from the days of early exploration where humans had to brave the Antarctic elements without any additional human support.
Unfortunately, what they can’t replace, and what I have been missing for the past three months is a Greggs cheese pasty. Please send your spare Greggs cheese pasties, in any condition, to:
The Greggs Cheese Pasty Appeal
Hugh Broughton Architects
41A Beavor Lane
London W6 9BL
(or a sticky bun will do)