Friday, July 28, 2006

Met Training

Well, it's sure been a busy week.

Straight in at the deepend, I met my new colleagues (comrades...?) in the bar on Sunday night, and aided by a few beverages we soon clicked. They're a good bunch: Matt and Rob, going to Rothera station; Tamsin, to be working with me on Halley, and Cathy, former Halley winterer, now running the training for BAS.

We've spent the week at a nearby Met Office base, learning how to observe and report the weather. 80% of this is easy - reading instruments and doing a few sums. The remaining 20% requires a good eye and an artistics sense of judgement. There maybe only ten different cloud types, but a lot of them really like sitting on the boundaries!

After work we've been pretty busy with swimming in the sea, pub meals and a healthy ammount of 'bonding refreshment'. Tomorrow we're off to the RAF base near Newquay, taking in a spot of surfing en-route. This approach to business and pleasure suits me just fine. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Hit the road, Jack...

For the first time in my life, I'm a nomad.

Awoke on Saturday feeling surprisingly good, so tidied the flat, packed the van and popped round to say good-bye to a few good mates.

Leaving deliberately late, I hit the near empty roads headed for Cornwall. Before long I was cruising along, the van feeling nicely settled with the extra weight on-board, until the terrifying smell of electrical fire hit my nose! Openned the window. Shit, it's definately inside! Screached to a hault and powered down to find an over-heated inverter causing the strench. Chucked it in a skip and drove on nervously, occasionally sniffing the dash to make sure I'd got it right. My eggs are all in one big blue basket right now.

Anyway, near-misses with infernoes aside, had a great day surfing in Bude before heading to the Hotel in Redruth, where I'll be based this week. Have spoken to the others from BAS, currently stuck somewhere in Dartmoor, so will hit the bar and wait there. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 21, 2006

Works leaving do

Many beers courtesey of the contractors. A burger from The King. And many comments of 'so you're the one who'se going to Antarctica...!'. A good night. Said good-bye to people from whom I've learnt a lot. Tidy.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Fair-well to Wales

The one thing I'm really going to miss is mountain biking. It's more of an obsession than a sport, in which case I have the full compulsive disorder.

Wanting to leave Cardiff on a high, I spent the whole weekend riding. With a good gang of mates, we sessioned the local downhill courses and finished with a superb blast across the Brecon Beacons (pictured).

The heat was searing and the company excellent. We rode, chatted with local lads, took photos, fixed some kid's chain, ate ice-cream, and rode some more. Fantastic!

There's some part of this life I don't want to leave behind, but at the same time I can't resist this massive leap fowards... Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 14, 2006

Mobile technology

Keeping in touch down south should be pretty easy. They've got satellite broadband which accepts Skype and MSN, so all I needed was to buy a laptop. Over the last few days I've fiddled with every PC on the high street and after two hours of searching online, DABS has provided a tidy IBM with integrated webcam and WIFI.

I bet this is boring to read right now, but it'll make all the difference once I'm on my way.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Spent the last few days packing my life into 3 piles: Stuff I need now; stuff I might need soon; stuff for storage. This is proving trickier than expected and despite taking a truck load home, the mess in my room seems to have got worse. I also need to build a loft in the garage to hold all my boxes, as at the moment there's no room to move and Dad's going spare!

Thursday, July 06, 2006


So, I'm off to Antarctica. How did this happen?

I'm an environmental engineer, currently working for a Government department in South Wales. Mountains and travel have always been an important part of my life, and back in January I thought I'd like to combine this with my career, so applied to the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

This landed me an interview in February, which was unsuccessful. However, at the end of June another position became available which BAS offered to me. Naturally, I jumped at it!

What's happening now?

Due to the short notice, I'm changing jobs in 2 weeks' time! I've handed in my notice at work and am preparing to live out of my van until I get a flat sorted in Cambridge. There's a busy but fantastic training schedule, taking me up to October when I leave for the south. More on that later. Right now the packing tape is calling...