Nothing happens at Davis without a lot of hard work by a lot of people. This is especially true at midwinter. This celebration at the winter solstice designed to brighten up our darkest time is truly what WE make it.
This week at Davis: 29 June 2012
To keep us going until our midwinter dinner, Brigid and plenty of helpers prepared a sumptuous brunch for us all: juices, pastries, ham, chipolatas, bacon, eggs and even mangoes, blueberries, kiwifruit, fresh yoghurt and banana smoothies.
We had this upstairs in the lounge so decorating the dining room and table for dinner could continue without interruption.
Davis sea baths
At 1200 we gradually made our way down to the sea ice in front of the station to take the traditional dip in the Davis Sea Baths.
The 2 metre square baths had been cut into the 1.3 metre thick sea ice and waited invitingly with plenty of attendants regularly skimming the freezing surface ice from the top to keep it clear. The water temperature was measured at a stable minus 2°C, relatively warm compared to the minus 20°C of the air temperature.
One by one we stripped down to our swimming gear and donned the harness to take the plunge despite the hundreds of small hungry copepods that were clustering around the ladder.
Following the dip it was a quick dash to the changing room, a warming schnapps from Mel on the way, dressing as rapidly as cold and wet fingers would allow to cheer the next person on.
Most went in and out without loosing anything except Chris whose GoPro camera ended up at the base of the ladder in a 4 metre deep pool. Luckily we have echinoderm scooping experience on station, which paid off, and soon the camera was rescued from a watery grave. Sadly it had landed face down. We could have had the top photos of the winter!
Late afternoon saw us gather for photographs and champagne then sit to begin the formal part of the day.
We started with a toast to Her Majesty and ended with a toast to ourselves! In between some poetry and prose, plus pages and pages of excuses!
We were disappointed that you couldn’t make it,but on second thought, all the more for us!
Among our many replies were several gems. Thanks for all your kind thoughts. They made us laugh and cry and cringe!
Tim Bowden kindly sent his excuse as a song which the band are now adapting, although whether he will recognize it when they're finished is questionable.
APOLOGIES TO DAVIS MIDWINTER DINNER 2012 [mp3]
From Tim ‘B’ard’ Bowden (With apologies to Eskimo Nell…)
When a man grows old and his essentials go cold - And turns (some say) quite blue
There'll be time to think (perhaps maddened by drink) - Of some things one DIDN’T do.
Singing hey hey Davis hey diddle doo
Hurray for homers tum de doo
And a splodge of penguin poo.
High on the list of great moments missed - Is Davis — where I’d love to be;
But unable to share, your Midwinter fare - Due to lack of transport by sea.
Apart from a fear of home-brewed beer, I’d love to be with y’all.
And will Cinderella (played by a feller) - Again see the Prince’s Ball?
If you won’t send a ship, then how can I sip - A libation at the Davis Station?
I’ll toast you from Sydney (while assaulting a kidney) - In lieu of your kind invitation.
Mel Evil’s sunnies
Evilness’s Black Sunglasses here.
I was once in the service of young Melanie but she failed to take proper care of me, so I escaped to a life of freedom and shenanigans. This gave me the chance to tour around Davis Station and the Vestfold Hills.
After the grand touring I took some time for myself. This R & R was rudely interrupted by the midwinter celebrations. But as midwinter is the party among parties, I felt it would only be right that I participant in the frivolity and fun.
Normally the first stop would be the brunch, but I slept through that so moving right along.
Next was the midwinter swim. To me, this seems like a stupid and pointless exercise that just proves it was a fluke that humans made it to the top of the food chain. I mean no one in their right mind would voluntarily choose to immerse themselves in freezing water in the middle of winter in Antarctica. Yet there was a long line of willing fools. I am far too smart for that little endeavour so I stayed inside and watched from the bar.
After the swim it was time to suit up for pre-dinner drinks. I found a couple of well dressed Sparkies and took advantage of them.
Eventually the dinner got underway and what a feast it was. We had 5 hours of food, drinks, speeches, more food, drinks, poems, drinks, pitiful excuse (with the occasional brilliant one), more food & drinks, laughter, more poems, food, photos, drinks, singing, food and drinks. This gave me plenty of time of mingle and work the room.
After the third dessert The Davis Thespian Troupe relocated upstairs to prepare for the evening’s entertainment. I tagged along to get a look backstage and see the process the actors go through before their debut.
Buttons was full of enthusiasm, the Fairy Godmother rocked, the Fugly Sisters were indeed fugly (even with shaved legs), and Cinderella was just hairy enough.
The play was roaring success and the sets didn’t even fall over (apparently you can do anything with met string and 100mph tape!).
Following the play we had the rock band JKD and the Nimrods play a set for us. They totally rocked but I particularly liked their version of Mr Jones. I was too busy dancing to get any photos but I did catch my breath after and relaxed with the doctor. (Is that Miss Evilness I see in the background?)
By now it was well after midnight and time to sit back and watch the Antarctic cinema classic The Thing. I learned that there are now 2 of them. The old The Thing and the new The Thing, but the new The Thing is set before the old The Thing. Understand? Good. So I relocated to the cinema to watch the new The Thing and caught up with the SL and BSS. Is that lipstick on the BSS’s head??? What happens at midwinter's stays at midwinter's (unless it gets photographed and published on the website or Facebook or YouTube, etc...).
The new The Thing finished just where the old The Thing starts and maybe I will get a chance to see the old The Thing at a later date because now I am exhausted. What huge day it was. Who knows when I will venture out again, but right now it is time for more R & R.
Evilness’s Black Sunglasses
The Sisters Fugly
The Sisters Fugly
(And their glory-hogging, scene-stealing, evil stepsister Cinderella)
The Davis Thespian Troupe Presents
8:00pm Thursday June 21st
JKD and the Nimrods
Much later than anticipated, although that didn’t put them off, the Davis resident band took to the stage in fine form.
Darryl (aka JKD) plus Nick, Chris, Joe and Steph (the Nimrods) delighted us with all the favourites, and also welcomed a few guest singers to the stage.
When we had danced until we dropped JKD sang a few acoustic numbers then we retired to the cinema for The Thing. Hate to think what time that finished!