Update in December

This is a quick update as I have been very busy, firstly fixing some met instruments and being the network engineer and secondly I was supposed to fly out on my first field work visit this morning and had to prepare. We had all our tools and spares packed in flight cases, weighed (in lbs, the aircraft people are still living in the ancient times) and were ready to go. I had nervously got all my warm clothes ready as well, as we were destined for a set of high mountain peaks where the wind can blow 200MPH and rip steel scaffolding apart (we were taking hacksaws). But as is often the case, by breakfast the weather clamped down, the snow blew at us horizontally and plans had to change. We are stood down until Wednesday, but I am so busy with report writing and fixing things, that I will not have time to write this blog properly just yet. We had a nice ski day on Saturday, but I worked most of the day, just getting a few hours in slushy conditions. I had to ski-hike the 4-5km up the mountain and ski back as all the transport was taken but it was worth it. Sunday the weather was miserable and the whole base took the chance to sleep, knit or play board games. I played a game where all the players fight viruses that spread. It was really good and quite challenging. I might be forced to knit; it’s almost a competitive pastime around here, with people turning out fancier and fancier stuff. When I get the chance I will write a little bit about life on base, the routine and the challenges. One thing I did when I first arrived was keep patting my pockets for keys, wallet and phone. These 3 things are never used here, and after about a week I stopped. Now I walk out without thinking about a key, phone or my wallet. None have any use here. We have been joined by even more scientists. A whole Scottish team have turned up with a drill they plan to send to Mars. It is a sonic drill and has to be tested here, before it goes to space. It’s great seeing such diverse projects being built. That’s all I can write tonight, I need some sleep, the excitement of today’s cancelled field trip meant I hardly slept last night, and previous nights were spent working late on snowy hills inside junction boxes (photos to follow). Thanks to everyone for your comments, I enjoy knowing you are reading my posts and it motivates me to write more. I also received a very unexpected package from a former colleague at Oxford which was a really pleasant surprise.

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