To the loved ones friends and family of
returning Antarctic adventurers, notes to
help you rehabilitate the lost soul. This is
of a vintage circa mid 80's when I first
read something like it on base, it's not all
relevant any more as times have moved on.
the gruff and unsophisticated exterior
however lies the person you once knew,
but a much bigger and better version
of that person, gentle coaxing and understanding
can bring forth the swan from the ugly
duckling that came back.
The sudden shock of return to "reality"
can be profoundly disturbing to the returnee, he
is best seen as a newly born baby albeit hairier and
with some peculiar habits.
Some of these habits can be tolerated
as harmless, some are distinctly useful and some rather
Try to discourage
him from collecting all of the flammable
rubbish from neighbouring houses. On still windless
days, he will attempt to use it to start a large
fire in the garden. Warning will be given by the
announcement "I'm going to have a burny!"
this may occur on "gash" days (see below).
During winter months
if there is a lake, river or similar water course
nearby that freezes over, he may again go around
neighbouring houses, this time to collect metal
rubbish. This will be carefully placed in a large
pile out on the ice to "blow out when the ice
goes". Again gentle discouragement is in order.
On some mornings
he might declare brightly "No work today I'm
on gash!". If possible this should be encouraged
as he will enthusiastically wash-up, help with dishing
up food and be of great value around the house and
In extreme cases
he might be encouraged to make cakes, pastries or
sticky buns which he will come to regard as his
specialty and take great offence if anyone else
On less enthusiastic
days he can be brought back into line with a withering
admonishment of "Slack gash!"
Also to be encouraged
is the notion of "Scrub out "which will
happen once a week usually after dinner on a Friday.
The returnee will set about the cleaning of a particular
part of the house with gusto.
does have the disadvantage that it could generate
deep resentment if he perceives that other members
of the household are not pulling their weight.
He can be kept at bay for a little while by
the claim "I'm on night watch"
Public houses are
places where great care is required. It is recommended
that the returnee is not allowed near the bar area
unaccompanied for some considerable time.
As well as the fact that he will not have any
money on him at all (having neglected to bring any
out) he will probably go behind the bar and help
himself and any others present to (unpaid for) drinks.
His claims of "I filled the fridge" or "I
lobbed two bottles last week" will unfortunately
fall on deaf ears.
Do not allow him
to purchase shorts from the bar. An inevitable argument
will follow with the bartender when he complains
that not only is he still waiting for his drink,
but he has been "handed a dirty glass"
in the meantime.
If the returnee
appears unusually tired during the day, enquire
as to whether he is "on night watch".
He will rejoice at the idea that it is unnecessary
but probably be concerned for some months that no-one
else appears to be doing it.
Tell him that "it's
the BC's job" and he doesn't need to
Moods may depend
on the weather to an unprecedented extent. Forget
SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), this is more
like DAD - Daily Affective Disorder.
sunny days (especially if very cold) your man may
be bizarrely happy, almost skipping around saying
things like "I'm going out to get the grips
in, it's dingle!".
On other days
when he may complain that "it's manky"
and begin acting like the world is going to end
or indeed has ended.
On very windy days,
panic may set in and he may been seen outside the
house lashing down the family car, garden shed and
any other potentially moveable objects.
Babies at a certain
age seem not to acknowledge that anything exists
unless it has been given a bit of a chew or sucked
for a while.
Likewise the Antarctic returnee
will feel the need to photograph every event of
even the slightest significance to acknowledge that
it is worthy of attention.
The object / event
will be recoded as it is or with some-one else in
the shot (he may helpfully offer to take a photograph
of any others present with their camera) and of
course with your man himself in the midst of the
action (someone else will have to take this shot).
If no-one else present has a camera, he will
undoubtedly announce that "you can all have
copies of my grips" but will secretly be very
pleased that he alone will have the event recorded.
The response to
attractive young women may be rather alarming as
the returnee will have a tendency to stare. The
young lady in question, if it is not possible to
warn her in advance, is best removed.
the head and looking down is all that should be
offered as an explanation to the condition lest
she become interested and he decides to go for some
It may also be
worthwhile telling him that not all of those films
he saw on base were doccies.