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The Bar
Base H - Signy Island Antarctica

  ©Copyright D. Allsop - picture taken 1980 / 1981

A typical night at the bar, probably a pre-dinner drink after a day at work. Immediately after dinner people would usually go off and do their own thing for a few hours before returning after about 9 p.m. if they were going to do so.

The most surprising thing at first on arrival on base is that there was no formal front or behind to the bar. All drinks were "free" with a honesty system operating whereby base members would "lob" cases of beer, soft drinks, when they arrived on base with someone tasked with the job of making sure they were brought from store to bar as required and at a regular time period so stocks lasted the winter. If you were "behind" the bar you would find yourself stocking the fridge and handing drinks out to those in front.

Goodies such as bottles of spirits etc. would be brought up by base members on a ad-hoc basis when people felt they hadn't lobbed anything for a while or if it was a special occasion. It was in Antarctica that I became particularly adept at opening bottles of champagne lobbed by myself or others.

The difficulty comes in arriving back home in the UK when there definitely is a font and behind to the bar and drinks are definitely not free - oh for the return of this egalitarian system!

The fact that drinks were purchased entirely duty-free at ridiculously low prices helped in being magnanimous with generosity too of course.

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This picture is one of a collection assembled in 2007 on the 60th anniversary of Signy Island Base: 60°43'S 045°36'W. Thank you to those who sent their treasured memories of their time in Antarctica and allowed them to be made into a commemorative cd and then placed here on the web.

The reunion weekend was 14-16 September 2007.

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