This week at Davis 2 July 2010

Midwinter special continued...

Better late than never, the last of our Midwinter swim photos did not make it into last week's edition so have included them at the start of this one.

Midwinter swim at Davis
Midwinter swim at Davis

Following our dip in the somewhat chilly briny, and then a soak in the +40°C spa, we all dressed in our finery and assembled in the wallow for photographs – a choice selection is featured below.

Davis expeditioners dressed in finery
Davis expeditioners dressed in finery

After that we went through to the dining room to begin our Midwinter feast.

Midwinter menu
Menu with wine list
Photo: Nick R

The food was so incredibly delicious to taste buds and eyes that pictures just don't do it justice.

Midwinter menu
La cuisine – Magnifique!

I kept the speech relatively short meeting everyone's approval (the Lord of the Rings reference was completely lost on them). I talked about the significance of midwinter celebrations in general, and the experiences of those to spend the first winters south of the Antarctic circle, particularly Australians. We then toasted the 63rd ANARE at Davis with Mark's contribution to the evening, several bottles of Bollinger champagne, a perfect start to our banquet.

Ali waxing lyrical
Ali waxing lyrical
Photo: Pete H

And so we ate the first, through to the seventh course, but couldn't quite do justice to an eighth, so we saved that for another day.

Between courses I read two poems, one entitled 'The Sleeping Bag' by Herbert Ponting, a difficult verse to recite after a couple of wines, but I managed to get through without a stumble – somehow.

It examines the pros and cons of the inside and outside of a reindeer skin sleeping bag, and was delivered along with snippets on past and present use of said item along with some relevant Antarctic history.

During the meal we also read out messages from friends and family making this quite a poignant occasion.

Kim receives a hug from home by proxy
Kim receives a hug from home by proxy
Photo: Pete H

Nearing the end of the feast Andy Ballinger presented each of us with a hand-made brass hammer with wooden handle, either in Oregon, Cedar or Huon pine. Exquisite examples of his talent, along with that of Adam, Andy Burgess, and Geoff who helped in their manufacture.

The hammer array
The hammer array
Photo: Andy Burgess
The presentations
The presentations
Photo: Andy Burgess
I dub thee...
I dub thee...
Photo: Andy Burgess

Following our meal, which by the way went from 15:30 to 19:00, we had a short break while the debris was cleared and the stage set for the evenings entertainment.

The first up was a play entitled 'Rinse the Blood off my Toga'. A Sin City, burlesque-styled Who-Done-It set in 44 BC at the Senate in Rome.

The protagonist, a Dick Tracey-style investigator, Flavius Maximus, was played by Matt Azzopardi with great panache and a consistently-realistic New York accent. he was hired by Brutus, the supposed friend of Julius Caesar, to investigate the death of the latter. Brutus asplayed convincingly by Jeff Cumpston, in fetching patterned purple toga and black rasta wig.

Flavius Maximus, Roman Private I
Flavius Maximus, Roman Private I
Photo: Nichol H
Flavius Maximus and Brutus set the scene at the senate
Flavius Maximus and Brutus set the scene at the senate
Photo: Nichol H

Supporting actress to steal the show with a surprisingly emotive performance as the widow Calpurnia, Andy 'What do you mean Brazilian?' Burgess. Her evocative 'It's the Ides, I said it's the Ides, Julius, DON'T GO...' still resounding.

Another performance of note, Mark Antony, senator, orator (aurator?), friend of the deceased, and plumber, played by Tom Salmon, definitely talent hidden around a u-bend. Sadly also snuffed in the senate.

Mark Antony lending an ear or two
Mark Antony lending an ear or two
Photo: Kim dL

Also Claudius, a barkeeper and friend of Flavius Maximus with a strangely familiar Godzone accent, played by Ben O'Leary, and Regulus Bibendus, the inebriated bar constant, played by Ash Pym.

Davis expeditioners in theatre play
Claudius and Flavius discuss the case amidst confusion over the use of tricky Latin singular and plurals
Photo: Kim dL
Davis expeditioners in theatre play
Claudius brutusly moidered
Photo: Pete H

Worthy of mention, the stalwart centurian that deals with the villain in the end, played by Kim de Laive.

Davis expeditioners in theatre play
Centurian with a six pack from CCC, or is that VB?
Photo: Kim dL
Davis expeditioners in theatre play
Finale to rapturous applause
Photo: Nichol H

Another short interlude and the second performance of the evening entitled 'Life, Love and Losers' set in a bar called Nina's.

At one table a flaxen haired bearded beauty at the other three burly? blokes. We heard the first two deliver the pick-up lines, and receive the expected brush off.

Davis expeditioners in theatre play
The losers and object of desire
Photo: Nichol H
Davis expeditioners in theatre play
Loser No.1 tries his luck
Photo: Pete H
Davis expeditioners in theatre play
Loser No.2 does no better
Photo: Pete H

Then that unpredictable click, the hit (or more correctly smash and grab) with the third. The finale not a complete surprise, but an audience pleaser.

Davis expeditioners in theatre play
Fatal attraction
Photo: Nichol H
Davis expeditioners in theatre play
Fait accompli
Photo: Nichol H

Stirling performances by Rob Lemme, Furmal© tycoon and used car salesman, Nick 'The shorts are not much better than the mankini' Roden, Nigel 'silent but deadly' Curren, and Linc 'FBI' Mainsbridge.

The last planned event of the evening was a recitation of 'Rindercella', the PG-rated version, which I will leave up to your imagination.

Davis expeditioners in theatre play
Hail Linc! All Davis salutes you
Photo: Nick R

What was left but to party on if we had the energy, or crawl off to bed to prepare for the next midwinter Olympic event, scheduled for the following afternoon... More about that in a week's time.

This page was last modified on 29 June 2010.