Cold Feet

A Teacher's Tale

Jan 2008

Three Counties Radio Interview

A trip to Luton this afternoon for an interview with Lorna Milton at Three Counties Radio. Daytime radio is a funny world, but I must say that Lorna was very friendly and professional and gave me the opportunity to talk properly about the expedition and asked some very relevant questions. I'm not sure who would have the chance to hear it at this time of day but now is your chance. (The interview is a little over eight minutes long). Podcast attached!


This afternoon I made a swift journey from College to the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge. I paused only to lift out the bundle of samples sitting in my freezer. I have very deliberately avoided disturbing these since my return but now was the moment to pass them on.
Crammed into Pete Convey's small office we had Steve Bull, Peter Fuchs, Sandra McInnes and Richard Wyllie with his camera; filming every moment for posterity!

Almost certainly a Xanthoria species, but which one?

It was a wonderful experience to see Pete and Sandra genuinely excited at what we had to show them. Equally Steve and Peter were keen to see the results of the first Antarctic expedition. Here were samples from an area never before investigated and the very real possibility of generating new knowledge about the Biology of Antarctica.
I found all the excitement of exploration revived in me and it brought back vivid memories of all the hours that Amy, Carolyn and I had spent hunting down these samples and collecting them. The laborious care taken to bring them back safely now seemed completely worthwhile.

I think this one might be Candelariella flava?

After I had passed on my photographs and Sandra had stored the samples in a suitable freezer, I gave one last interview to Richard in the foyer of the main Survey buildings. Images of Antarctica displayed all around me.

Now I am left with lots to do over the next few weeks to make sure that we can get as much as possible from the whole expedition. I need to be ready for the talks scheduled for the SPRI on March 1st.

Exhibition Opening at the SPRI

This evening I went to the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge for the opening of an exhibition to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition. It was a really enjoyable event and a great opportunity for Peter to plug what the Foundation is doing now and for me to try to make the right impression as the only expedition member present. I hope I convinced the sceptical and unconvinced of the huge value of what we have done. I certainly found people receptive and interested. I just love meeting people at these events. I have met so many fascinating characters with their own amazing Antarctic stories to tell; as well as people who are simply a privilege to meet in any context.
We will be back here on March 1st to tell our own stories.


Most of the day spent travelling to and from Leicestershire to discuss and review the expedition. We all feel that the expedition was a great success and very well-organised but, of course, there were still lots of small details that could be made better. A lot of time was spent considering how we could improve things for the next team of Fuchs teachers who are going to the Arctic in 2009. Lots of chat and a fine lunch again from Ann.
It was a shame that Ruth could not be there but she has sent me a hilarious photograph taken in a tent in deepest Antarctica. We look positively manic but that's what comes of being trapped in a tent by bad weather in the middle of thousands of square miles of glacier!

Channel 5 News

Today was the first day of the school term and an INSET day.
Three people from Channel 5 arrived this morning to conduct both a recorded and a live interview for the Channel 5 News bulletins. They were very nice and friendly people but I have to admit that I found the end results frustratingly brief and uninformative - even misleading.
We set up in the library and an interview was recorded. This all seemed to go well. Then a live interview was broadcast at about 11.45 a.m. It's quite difficult to respond to a questioner who is only a voice in your earpiece, but who you know can see you! There were a couple of "leading" questions that seemed to give the impression that the only reason for going to Antarctica was to explore global warming but there was barely an opportunity to correct the impression and I kicked myself afterwards for not being more forceful in my replies.
There was a similar problem in the absurdly brief item that I saw broadcast at 7.30 p.m. The discovery of lichens was treated as both unique and sinister! An interview with Pete Convey from BAS was also recorded during the day and part of it was included in this later broadcast. I am convinced that only a tiny fragment of this interview was used too.
I will have to ask Pete Convey what he thought of the strange use to which our remarks were put in the final cut?
In the end, in spite of the pleasure of seeing the expedition get a greater measure of the publicity that it deserves, I have to admit to finding the end result too brief and innaccurate to give me much satisfaction.