It’s the little things…
Pursuant to a conversation I had recently, I was left realising how many little things down here we take for granted. You might have read my posts on cold porches or rosters, which are also about some unique parts of life down here. We take them for granted after so many months of dealing with them on a daily or hourly basis, but we don’t even notice the small stuff.
One of those things we’ve stopped thinking about is that, rather than the packed mess of Summer, we now have a single ’round’ table. Sitting around this we can all converse and see one-another, and it gives one a sense of the small community we form. But it’s now just par for the course.
These are more examples of things in the mess that are just a little different to the ordinary. We have a never-ending* font of chocolate, ostensibly used for energy out field but also routinely snacked on (*note: not really never-ending). We have also a locally-made meal bell and the menu board. The menu board is subject to the artistic flair of the ‘slushy’ on most days, but on Sunday it’s subject to the whims of any who pass. Today we got a little nerdy.
Speaking nerdy, here’s the information screen that lives in the mess. Having the time, date and weather information isn’t necessarily very unique, but the Aurora forecast is something else. The colour shows a probability of visible Aurora events in 30 minutes’ time. While they’re not visible during the day or when it’s cloudy, we all take for granted that if the colour changes to yellow or darker above Davis (towards the bottom of the screen in this picture) then we get our cameras ready just in case.
Lots of locally-made props and works of art can be found in all parts of the station. Some of them were made for theme nights (and subsequently reused, because how can you not have a pirate night when you have a working cannon?), others were made just for the joy of creating. As you can see, some very skilled artisans have been to Davis Station over the decades.
Of the things made locally, sometimes they’re also an excuse to keep an old piece of equipment in public view. The ‘Nina’s’ sign above the bar is turned on by turning the key and depressing the handle in this decades-old blasting box. Aside from being an attractive part of the decor, it’s also great for entertaining people new to the station.
Other historical bits and pieces can be found all around the station too. The most numerous in the LQ are the plaques from expeditions past. They’re spread along the walls in many places and get moved from building to building as the station’s buildings are replaced or upgraded. I look at a different plaque every week or two and marvel at the history this place holds.
I stop even more often in the ‘link’ (the passage between the Living Quarters and the Sleeping and Medical Quarters) to look at the expedition photos. There’s a group photo of every wintering team to stay here, right from the very first. It’s quite exciting to think I’ll live on that wall for years to come.
Last but not least, I do my best not to take for granted the view I walk past each morning. Of the few windows I walk past on the way to breakfast (and any other time transiting between the LQ and SMQ of course), this one has the best view. It’s a quadruple-glazed 1.8m x 2.1m window that overlooks the veranda and the wharf.
Each morning I’ve looked out to see what I can see, and what the day may hold. Now that the sun is rising hours after breakfast, I’ve even seen the aurora australis lighting the sky as I’m on my way past. Until two days ago, when our last one left, I also used to have a peek at the seals and see how many were left and what they were up to.
That’s all I have for you this week. It’s the result of a very short, but rather thought-provoking conversation, and I hope that by showing you some of the ‘little things’ down here that you get a better idea of what it’s like to live in this small but amazing community.