Since our storm everyone here's been very busy - except when we've been having time off. The cleanup took a day or two, work itself intrudes from time to time, and we have the leisurely task of constructing our mid-winter presents.
Besides ripping open a portal on the Simpson the storm's main thrust was directed at blowing objects off sledges on our dump line then burying them in thick, hard snow. We keep anything that can stand the cold outside, stacked on sledges or piled on top of barrels, and strongly lashed down. This saves space inside but leads to a bit of work now and then when objects fall off, or when the sledges and containers come close to being burried and must be dragged back out above the snow. My duty on dig-after-the-blow day was to locate and replace a couple of skidoo sledges. One was easy to find, the other was nearby but completely submerged. Thankfully Andy and I found it after a couple of trial holes and soon finished our little bit of Antarctic Archeology.
My major bit of work at the moment is to delete as much data as possible - strange perhaps for a Data Manager - but essential if we're to have anywhere to put this year's data before we can ship it out next Christmas. Every file - around 100,000 of them - from around forty different data sets needs to be checked against the version sent to Cambridge over the summer and, as long as a match results, can then be deleted. Of course I don't do each file one at a time, I have a computer or two to help me, but it still takes a while as there are occasional gaps to investigate and the odd orphaned file that needs to be booted back to Cambridge.
After all that toil we had a long weekend to relax, and some birthdays to celebrate. Kirsty made Brian a present from outer space which hovered in the bar for the next few days and was at least partially responsible for an outbreak of bar-room gymnastics when we discovered who could and couldn't fit themselves through the gaps in our bar-stools. For a more relaxing evening Andy and I headed off the base, past the perimeter (well, to the perimeter) and into Wonky Caboose for the night. With unseasonably warm outside temperatures of only -6 the usually frigid caboose was only merely freezing. Although not really out in the wilderness it's good from time to time to sleep in an unusual bed and have a little jerk out of the usual routine on base.
As if all that wasn't enough we've had to worry ourselves about our presents for mid-winter. Back in March we secretly discovered who we were to make a present for, and have had all the time since then to make them. Being human and a little bit busy or lazy or both most people only started a week or two ago so the workshops are filled with the industrious sounds of sawing and sanding as each individual's creation is coaxed into being. I'm working on a tighter deadline as I'm back onto nightshift next week, but I think I'll be done by the deadline of the middle of next week.
Then, to cap it off, we get to do all of this in Antarctica. The hidden sun casts a pale but colourful glow to the North for an hour around lunchtime. Snow creaks and groans underfoot as I walk to work. Half way through writing this entry an active aurora lept into the skies outside so I shot out into the calm cold for an hour as the sky danced brightly above me. This time a new species, not just green but red and orange pulses. Andy came out too with his camera and captured some good shots, I didn't want to go back inside for mine in case I missed any of the show. What a place to be.
I've also been interviewed by Memetherapy, a science fiction website.
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