Tuesday, December 22, 2009

22 December, 1910

Not even the report that Atkinson discovered a new tapeworm in the intestines of an Adelie penguin cheers me up. It's only an eighth of an inch long, with a propeller-shaped head.

We are stuck fast in this pack ice and can get nowhere. I have let the fires die out as we cannot go on wasting coal - only 300 tons left in a ship that simply eats coal.

This is simply very bad luck. Fortune has determined to put every obstacle in our way. There can be no other explanation for our predicament. People say yes, but couldn't you have planned better? Let them try I say! It's not all about planning when luck goes against you. You can't plan for misfortune. You can't sit there in your office in London and ask yourself if you'll have enough coal in case you get stuck in pack ice for a month. You can't sit there and think about the possibility of the horses your whole enterprise relies on standing in their own filth for weeks and weeks on end getting weaker and weaker. You can't go, I wonder if we have enough food to feed 60-odd hungry men?

Well, I suppose you can, but we don't do things like that in England. That's not how real men head an expedition. We leave that sort of nonsense to the Norskies.

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