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Mairi Nicolsons Antarctica Index    
June 21 2001

Happy Midwinter

Today is our shortest and darkest day and we have been celebrating the occasion as if it were Christmas. It all started on Saturday with the traditional Rothera Pub crawl. There was lots of coming and going during the day with materials and props, and by night, seven bars and one disco had appeared around base. The highlight for me had to be the Bungee bar in the sledge store. This has become a midwinter tradition where the polar guides set up a length of bungee chord along the corridor and into the sledge store. We got kitted up in harnesses and safety helmets before hurling ourselves down the corridor in an attempt to grab some beers. After much laughing, shouting, practical jokes and falling over, everyone managed to obtain at least one can.



Monday saw us running around base trying to find clues for the treasure hunt. Competitions have been organised for table tennis, badminton, darts, pool and chess. Only essential work is carried out this week so who knows what other events may take place, there has been talk of a Winter Olympics but we have to wait for the weather to improve. As part of the celebrations we have just finished a mouth-watering nine-course meal. Keith, our chef, did a fantastic job considering our last delivery of fresh produce was in March. We decorated the dining room and everyone made a real effort to dress up smart. It is traditional to give and receive a gift today, and we have all spend many hours hiding in dark corners making our presents.  Felicity is the youngest person on base, and chose the first number from the hat, it was my gift.  I had printed a black and a white photograph that I took of two scruffy Adelie penguins, and I made an ash picture frame to mount it in.  I chose next and was delighted when I received a beautiful chessboard that Will our boatman had made.  We listened to our own special radio broadcast on the World Service and everyone was quite emotional after hearing all the recordings from family and friends.  It has been a wonderful day and I loved the box of goodies you sent earlier in the year.  The two miniatures of Old Pulteney whisky went down very well after dinner.

We still have our Folk night to plan for Saturday night and the band have been practicing non-stop in preparation for their debut. I donít know what other acts will be on but Iím sure they will be hilarious.

Happy Midwinter

Love Mairi