This week at Casey we're besotted with the light of a continual sunrise (or is a continual sunset), give you more examples of how we pass the time through the long winter, the RedShed refurb update for May is provided, and we meet our legendary plumber Signor Benny.

Station Update

This week at Casey there’s been no work that particularly marks the week from any other, although you will see from Nick’s report below that that the Red Shed project is cracking along with plans for us to be celebrating Midwinter’s Day on the new first floor and in the new bar. Oh, and the Brew Team marked their 10,000th bottle… don’t panic, we’re not drinking that much but recovering from a very busy summer and stocking up for another.

But I wouldn’t say that it’s ‘groundhog day'; how could it be when we have a sunrise that merges into a sunset for three hours each day? Unlike Davis or Mawson we do have the sun still (even at midwinter we will have two hours of sunlight), but it just really pops up over the horizon to the south-east and then travels along shining glorious light on the distant icebergs and creating beautiful rainbows in the diamond dust, and then pops down in the north-east. So much for the sun setting in the west! Not down here in winter!

Many of us have taken to having our cameras constantly at work, ready on a tripod to drag out onto the front porch, when another unmissable shot shines through our window. The incredible beauty of this long sunset (or sunrise) makes the long hours of dark all worthwhile. And maybe we all worship the sun that little bit more because of the darkness.

It’s funny how little points in the weekly schedule quickly become habit and something to look forward to. Many on station are reliving the trials and tribulations of the TV series Game of Thrones, re-watching from series one three episodes each Wednesday night. It’s something to look forward to on hump day as we enjoy seeing the reactions to another key character’s death on the faces of those who haven’t watched before. We're up to series four already, and we’re not sure what we’ll do with our Wednesday nights when it’s all finished (suggestions welcome).

And then there’s the quiz: our daily efforts on The Australian newspaper’s mind games quiz. Read out with much delight at smoko each day, often with much laughter at the pronunciation of some of the names, it’s frequently pushed onto someone else as the person closest to the iPad doesn’t want to have to deal with said pronunciation. We battle with the trivia author to try and ensure our score is at least five out of 10. What joy on the one day so far when we’ve managed 10 out of 10 (photo ensued as proof)! We’re quite happy when we get a very worthy eight.

We all look to Catz our doctor whenever there’s a medical question. She panics slightly until proven correct! Troy is our resident know-it-all (but in a nice way), but especially for geography and history we look to him. Dom gets called from the kitchen whenever there’s a foodie question and we look to those who might be a little older on station (names not supplied) when there’s a mid-century political or musical answer required. Two dogs is our modern music go to, George is our quiet cultured dude, and Shane the Mann is the champion of the eeny-meeny-miny-mo when we have absolutely no idea of the answer (he has a surprisingly high success rate). We’ve all fit into our little place on station and never is it more evident than at the smoko daily quiz.

Now, if only there was a question about Game of Thrones!

Rebecca, Casey Station Leader

The Red Shed report – May

May has seen the project team subjecting the Red Shed occupants to the sounds and smells of the ‘steel fabrication industry’ — all very well in a workshop, but a challenge in the middle of your own home. Shielding and hoardings have surrounded metal cutting, grinding and welding, an air exhaust system has drawn smoke and fumes away, and each day has been concluded with a concentrated effort to return work areas to a habitable state.

The resulting staircase and steel balustrade are now receiving coats of paint. The new entertainment area has finished coats of paint in some areas, finished flooring in others, and a bathroom well advanced. Plumbing to this area is supplied from the kitchen and mess ceiling below, and consequently it has not been unusual this month to see only the legs of the plumber protruding when we arrive to eat!

I’m happy to say the wintering crew is still proving resilient, and are increasingly able to see something of the shape and in some cases colour of the final product.

It’s been another good month which augurs well for celebrating Midwinter in these new spaces. We'll update at the end of the next.

Nick, Building Services Supervisor, Winter Project

5 min with the 71st ANARE Crew: Ben Harrison

Name: Ben Harrison

Nicknames: Signor, Smokey, Reese, Benny

From: Tassie

Previous seasons? This is the first of many (I hope)

Job title: Legendary Plumber/Gasfitter/Postmaster/Hydroponicist

Describe your role in two sentences:

My role, mainly, is to neatly put pipes together and if I’m lucky, put ducting together :D

What did you do before your joined the AAD?

Before joining the AAD I was a “plumber of fortune”. Plumbing and gas-fitting in Vic, Qld and Tas

What is your favourite part of your job here at Casey?

Living and working with good mates every day in one of the most extreme and amazing locations on the planet.

If you were not a plumber what would be your dream job?

A farmer. It has a very appealing lifestyle.

How does this season at Casey compare to your previous seasons down south?

It’s my first time.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

When I can I enjoy exploring off station, making a project (involving hammering in the Dieso’s workshop), putting some time in at the hydroponics, beating Allan Rose at chess or hitting the sauna.

What song sums up your Casey experience so far?

The Presets — My People

What actor would play you in a film version of our 71st ANARE season here at Casey?

I’ve been told Vince Vaughn would be interested.

What is your favourite hut for field trips and why?

A group of us did a trip during summer where we camped on the Bailey Peninsula. In the evening found a scenic spot overlooking the water and waited till the 1 am sunset, eating, chatting and going through a few bottles. Great memories.

Favourite piece of Australian Antarctic Division kit?

My Baffin boots. They’re so comfortable and warm.

What is your favourite book / movie (or both) and why?

Favourite book: AS/NZS3500 Plumbing Standards, because plumbing is the most important trade.

What is your typical ‘Slushy FM’ genre? Do you have a particular favourite?

Typically my Slush mix is heavy on electronic, rock and indie. Artists I’m listening to a fair bit recently include Odesza, Bonobo, The Knife, Fever Ray, Broods, Daughter and London Grammar.