Day one and two June 4th and 5th
Cartographic Lichen located up the diagonal road. In Latin they are called Geographic Pointers.
Found not a metallic oil slick, but a natural phenomenon located in the ditch half way between the pod and the main road. Fat left from the skirts of witches as they pass over wet soil.
Relatives of the Venus Fly Trap located in Wetland areas. You can find them if you look for a flat five pointed star plant with a thin stalk in the middle that has a small purple flower at the top.
Off the A9 located an alien visitation. Perfect circles of dark green grass found in the middle of light green grass at the side of the road.
During a long walk, ideas emerged out of a conversation with T. about the mythology of the Wetland as an ever present threatening and sinking abyss.
My only dissapointment is the lack of silver suits to go with the interior of the pod.
been a hard day up here at HQ today - up at six to film all 16,000 deer - they were asleep and we weren't but lucky for us because it's been a gorgeous hot day and we went up into the mountains and then down again into a deep valley with a river and sun and more sun in the landrover which is up here for use at any time (with a registered driver of course...) once we returned to the lab - all walls and doors went up and open and we had smoked salmon on the balcony for lunch -
nice weather = nice lifestyle.
The next few days
In the forest there are mushrooms which turn blue when you break them open plus -
found good cave along the river.
Had a failed trip up the A9, a dance party, rain.
There was carnage on the road. The Landrover kills frogs.
We saw an owl.
This is rare and lucky though I think I may have seen the same bird the night before during the power outage. The next night the electricity cut out again.We have satellites in our silver house and computers and a kettle, but with all the rain outside we dont have water anymore.
The road to Dalwhinnie is beautiful but we didnt see it and still cant see much. We dont live in the middle of the mountains anymore but in a white even horizen. T. said now we cant tell the difference between the clouds and the mist - mist when there is contact with the ground, clouds when they are above you. But when you are in the middle of a fog that erases all visible topogrpahical features, you are not in either one but in an absense of land. This is slightly different than the erasure of the horizon line - a thick fog between the sky and the ground merging the stratosphere with the stratasphere.
The area has multiple Arctic enthusiasts. In Pintlochry we spent part of the day at Glacier Books talking with the parents of C., the man who own all the books. He has a massive collection of Arctic, Antarctic and mountain adventure stories, including an original newspaper clipping from the day before Scotts last day - an update on his expedition before it was known that it would be his last.
We are trying to track down D. M., a failed Arctic adventure explorer nearby. He used a O2 phone on his expedition instead of Iridium.
Seems to make for good deep long sleep here - cocooned in silver and constant repetition of rain on roof.
All days start to blend into one so I have no idea what the number of the date is, but it must be in the teens of June.
Heres a run down of the last few days:
The power has been going out each night and sometimes during the day at pretty constant intervals. Last night it cut out before Spiderman found out WHO was hurt in the crowd of people past the police line!!!!!!NOOOO!!!! It has been raining on and off for days now and my boots are so drenched they make me feel damp all the way through, even if I am not. Three days ago E. pointed out some wellies in my size. They have completely changed my life as much as the first time I got a real pair of hiking boots. I can go ANYWHERE!!!! Doesnt matter how deep the swamp and it is very deep around the pod.
I remebered my dreams for the first time last night, before I could only recall sensations. They were strange and complicated scenario dreams - overlapping and chaotic. Slept nine hours again last night. It is so nice in here once all tucked in.
We were tired yesterday. E. was really tired. We all took turns taking hot hot baths at the bothy Sorry R. - we were cold and desperate. High luxury straight into the bones.
E. and I visited Glacier Books again. So generous - C. lent me gorgeous early editions of
The Farthest North, The Worst Journey in the World and The Icy North
Amazing. Fritdjof Nansens description of how and why they decided to work with and not against the drift ice is so beautiful. Began a correspondence with a polar expert in Rhode Island in a search for frozen dreams and crystal libraries. I didnt know that in addition to writing
Arctic Explorations: The Second Grinnell Expedition in Search of Sir John Franklin
Dr. Kane also wrote:
The Love Life of Dr.Kane
It is so high drama! At night we had bedtime stories. I read The Farthest North aloud to T. and E.
E. has become a narcoleptic. (generator off, turbine immobile, for a while no water)If you even mention the electricity has cut out again he is asleep within minutes, no matter what time of day. The other night when the generator was still down, M. suggested we change its gas cannister for the one in the kitchen. T. would have been traumatised had he heard the news, as we have already discussed the necessity of maintaining the possibility of a hot cup of tea or coffee even if all other technology fails. I will not mention M.s proposal - I think he will faint. We made the call from the bothy because we are cold and it is the best place to get a signal. As soon as the call was over I turned my head and found E. already sound asleep on the sofa. Shame.
Yesterday was a funny day. The way E. was so tired two days ago is the way I felt yesterday. I woke up wrong. Bumping into stuff, really clumsy - culminating in a grand gesture of dropping the honeybottle into my glass of red wine at dinner and causing a huge mess which, as a Virgo I loathe and detest. Suddenly, I had a migraine after three hours of trying to do some really basic stuff on line with the speed so slow that it just crashed over and over again. We went to Pintlochry to develop a roll of film and go to the local library. Hundreds of romance novels - no exaggeration, some books on fishing, other stuff. No Don Quixote for E. and no James Hutton for me. No big surprise I guess. Then to the cafe!
2 apple tarts with apricot jam on top floating in a sea of light cream, a dollop (awful word) of whipped cream, 2 blueberries, 1/2 of 1 strawberry on each tart, 2 mint leaves and some powdered sugar
1 chocolate cake, 1 mint leaf, chocolate sauce, 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream, 1 strawberry
1 filter coffee, black with sugar
In the morning the lab is very cold. We have decided we should become inch worms in our sleeping bags and crawl along the floor all day.
C. from Glacier books came to the lab today. He brought a copy of Kanes book - dark green with a beautiful detailed gold embossing on the front of a Polar scene with stars. I made all the boys talk at the other end of the lab while I read sections from the Polar library. I made a hot lunch of quorn sausages with onion and courgette to be eaten with brown bread and hot mustard. For dinner, E. made whole wheat spaghetti with smoked salmon and yogurt. Great news - two for one sale on at the Co-op! Always the bargain hunter even in a remote environment...
We were very happy and then we went to sleep.
Yesterday we made a most spectacular trip to Glen Tilt on the Atholl Estate -
Site of James Hutton's geological revelation regarding contact between magma and country rock.
(scandalous contact I might add)
Shook the geology world like a 6.5 on the Richter Scale
We all took turns filming and being intrepid explorers...
All the best from the pod, where I am now the only remaining crew member.
Don't worry - everyone else has not been swept away by the unexpected gales leaving me to fend for myself among the deer. They have all just gone to Edinburgh.
I. H. H. June 2002