Brendan H: Building services supervisor (Projects), SAR technically trained team member, Davis station news sub–editor, ping pong enthusiast and English breakfast tea devotee
Brendan, how many trips have you done to Antarctica now and what brings you back here?
This is my third trip south, but that doesn’t include double crossing of the Southern ocean for the 08/09 season. So far the ship has brought me back each time, but the aeroplane has taken me home once.
What is it like being a plumber/BSS here?
Work–wise, being the project BSS isn’t too far removed from what I do at home, which is working as a foreman for a mechanical services company specialising in commercial/industrial construction. With this role here at Davis I get to work more closely with the chippies and the sparkies than I would running a crew of only plumbers back home.
If not a plumber, what job would you do?
I’m still yet to decide what I want to be when I grow up.
[Doc: Forget the in-between bit Brendan; just go straight to grumpy old man.]
What has been your best gig as a plumber and what is the worst bit of plumbing you have ever seen?
Best gig is easily this one. Nothing really springs to mind. Back home, apprentices are pretty good at providing some entertaining works but they’re there to learn, so as long as they don’t repeat the mistakes it’s all good.
Best experience in Antarctica?
Flying to the Russian base Progress was a highlight this summer. After my winter here at Davis in 2007 I was lucky enough to get to fly to Casey for a summer. That entailed a helicopter flight up to the ski landing area and then a fixed wing flight to Casey with a stop for fuel at the cache at Bunger Hills. Breathtaking scenery.
What do you love about Antarctica?
The people you meet really make this place. Of course you’ll take home photos of scenery and animals but you’ll also take home fantastic memories and make some lifelong friends; and I don’t have to pay for tea to feed my addiction; and free bacon.
[Doc: I’m guessing that Chef Damian’s Saturday morning smoko is your top meal of the week.]
Who inspires you?
[Doc: Ah yes. If my memory serves me correctly (see Doc’s Dozen, 27th April 2012 ), Joe had a penchant for the odd piece of bacon.]
What have you learned living in a small community?
You all ate my Sultana Bran!
[Doc: Now Brendan, it’s not a total disaster. There are items on the medical self-help bar to combat a little spot of irregularity.]
If you were a car, what car would you be?
I’ve never really understood this type of question, so I did what any normal person would do — I took an online quiz. Well I actually took two. Not because I didn’t like the initial outcome, I just wanted some objectivity. So apparently I’d either be a Jaguar convertible or a Volvo station wagon.
[Doc: Oh, come on Brendan! They can’t both be right. We all know which one is the correct answer. Was it a beige Volvo station wagon and were you wearing a hat?]
Brendan, what is the ‘must have’ item that you packed for Antarctica?
My own thermos. Good luck trying to find a station thermos with a matching lid and cap; and a tin mug for the field trips; and wireless headphones; and a Leatherman knife in a good solid leather belt case.
[Doc: Perhaps a cubic metre of Sultana Bran next time Brendan.]
If you could be someone else, who would it be?
Online quiz time again, wait a sec… Well that ended badly. Apparently I’m most like either Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift. I’m not convinced that these quizzes are particularly accurate. It must be a very complicated algorithm.
[Doc: Yes Brendan, like a lot of things in life, it’s complicated.]
What is in store when you return home?
Mostly staying inside under the air conditioning to avoid the heat.
Well Brendan, I must say I am delighted that you agreed to this little interview and I am sure that the thousands of This week at Davis readers would agree that it has been an absolute treat to learn about the ins and outs of Antarctic plumbing. I hope that the special home delivery of Sultana Bran from Mawson will keep you going until Voyage 1.