I was sitting in the window of the laboratory mid-morning waiting for my analyser to settle down after setting it up on the bench, watching the snow fall when I noticed that although there are quite a number of people living here the streets were deserted. Looking along the dirt roads at the wooden houses reminded me of the old wild west frontier towns of the American gold rush. I guess that this is a kind of frontier too except that the houses are brightly painted and really comfortable to sleep in. The parallels then began falling into place, the deserted coal mines and their spoil tips, discarded equipment like the train that used to service the town and mines, harsh conditions for the unwary but above all else the vastness and beauty of our surroundings.
I then recalled watching a local exercising a sled dog by tying the dog to a leash around her waist and letting him pull her on a bicycle around the streets. The dog was really enjoying his exercise and it looked like a real job keeping the dog from going too fast. I realised that the howling that I could hear at night was the dogs getting excited about being fed and since they were kennelled only about 50m from my bedroom, they sounded really eerie. When I got the chance to go and see them they were really friendly and liked lots of attention. Susan and Frances were really taken by the puppy – a ball of fur with really sharp little teeth.
Still small sharp teeth are better than the ones in the reception hall of our hosts. We have to be aware that there is always the possibility of one being around somewhere .
This is an enchanting place and I’m really looking forward to the research preparation being completed and getting on with the work that we are here to do.
The Arctic Terns arrived today but theirs is another story …
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