Sunday, 23 October 2016

Albatrosses...albattri? And the dangers of pub quizzes.

A glorious own goal was perpetrated by myself this evening. As I’ve written in previous posts, I’ve started up a pub quiz and a film night with the idea of keeping people in good spirits. Helping to maintain morale is an important part of my job. People who are busy and contented experience far fewer health problems. The psychological aspects of being so far away from home and working nearly every day also need to be countered. Hence the pub quizzes.

Now, it should not be imagined that my audience are a passive one, inclined to take the loss of a point or two on the chin. There is cheating, (I actually saw one team sneak to the bar to look at a bottle of Tabasco to check where it’s made! I was shocked.) there is bad sportsmanship and there is heckling. I have to rule this turbulent crowd with an iron first. My co-presenter Paul had set an unwise precedent by giving this motley crew half points for spurious answers. So I found that I had to be very specific with regards to what answers I would tolerate and not tolerate. And so, when asking the question,

"What did Alfred Kinsey become famous or infamous for studying?"

I uttered the immortal line, “Human sexual behaviour. I will accept sex.”

Immediate howls of laughter. I have to admit, many of them were my own.  What a massive own goal! It immediately went into the quote book that lives in the bar. This book is disguised as an atlas, but is actually a repository for all the splendidly foolish or witty things that people have said over the years. I’ve already contributed one or two entries. Amongst the best are:

  1. “Apart from sinking, we’re doing really well!”
  2. “How deep is the 6000m station?”
  3. After a scientist had drunk too much “He had structural failure of the body.”

There are smuttier ones, but I won’t sully the internet with such filth. No really.

The weather has certainly changed in the last two or three days. It’s astonishing to think that three days ago, I was sitting outside slathered in factor 50 and prodding my skin anxiously every five minutes to check that I wasn’t burning. Yesterday we had another drill and it was a trifle brisk waiting for commands to come in over the radio! The water is a little wilder too. It’s not the friendly bright blue calm water of the tropics. This stuff is stern, grey waves that lash against the sides of the ship and make her creak.
Apparently we’re headed for some bad weather on Monday which should help me to refresh my bumper crop of bruises! Although I have since learned that if my mattress is sliding about in the night, I should shove a pillow down between the mattress and the wall, and it will stop that. I’m not sure that anything on earth will stop me from walking into walls though. Some things are just impossible.

 More excitingly I saw my first albatross yesterday! I took vast numbers of photographs. I tend to go for quantity over quality with my photography technique. I feel that if I take a hundred photos, one might be decent!

I also saw a really rather exciting bird; it looked like a black gull that was wearing white goggles. I’ve no idea what it’s called, but if anyone is wiser and more knowledgeable than me on the subject of sea birds, please let me know!


  1. It looks amazing and what's more, it sounds like it's pretty rare!
    PS I am glad you are accepting sex, but not sure Andy will be thrilled ;-)

    1. Andy was strangely stuffy about me accepting sex now that you come to mention it! Hx