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Scott's Last Expedition

Friday, January 20th 1911

Our house has assumed great proportions. Bowers’ annexe is finished, roof and all thoroughly snow tight; an excellent place for spare clothing, furs, and ready use stores, and its extension affording complete protection to the entrance porch of the hut. The stables are nearly finished – a thoroughly stout well-roofed lean-to on the north side. Nelson has a small extension on the east side and Simpson a prearranged projection on the S.E. corner, so that on all sides the main building has thrown out limbs. Simpson has almost completed his ice cavern, light-tight lining, niches, floor and all. Wright and Forde have almost completed the absolute hut, a patchwork building for which the framework only was brought – but it will be very well adapted for our needs.

Gran has been putting ‘record’ on the ski runners. Record is a mixture of vegetable tar, paraffin, soft soap, and linseed oil, with some patent addition which prevents freezing – this according to Gran.

P.O. Evans and Crean have been preparing sledges; Evans shows himself wonderfully capable, and I haven’t a doubt as to the working of the sledges he has fitted up.

We have been serving out some sledging gear and wintering boots. We are delighted with everything. First the felt boots and felt slippers made by Jaeger and then summer wind clothes and fur mits – nothing could be better than these articles. Finally to-night we have overhauled and served out two pairs of finnesko (fur boots) to each traveller. They are excellent in quality. At first I thought they seemed small, but a stiffness due to cold and dryness misled me – a little stretching and all was well. They are very good indeed. I have an idea to use putties to secure our wind trousers to the finnesko. But indeed the whole time we are thinking of devices to make our travelling work easier.
‘We have now tried most of our stores, and so far we have not found a single article that is not perfectly excellent in quality and preservation. We are well repaid for all the trouble which was taken in selecting the food list and the firms from which the various articles could best be obtained, and we are showering blessings on Mr. Wyatt’s head for so strictly safeguarding our interests in these particulars.

‘Our clothing is as good as good. In fact first and last, running through the whole extent of our outfit, I can say with some pride that there is not a single arrangement which I would have had altered.’

An Emperor penguin was found on the Cape well advanced in moult, a good specimen skin. Atkinson found cysts formed by a tapeworm in the intestines. It seems clear that this parasite is not transferred from another host, and that its history is unlike that of any other known tapeworm – in fact, Atkinson scores a discovery in parasitology of no little importance.

The wind has turned to the north to-night and is blowing quite fresh. I don’t much like the position of the ship as the ice is breaking away all the time. The sky is quite clear and I don’t think the wind often lasts long under such conditions.

The pianola has been erected by Rennick. He is a good fellow and one feels for him much at such a time – it must be rather dreadful for him to be returning when he remembers that he was once practically one of the shore party.

The pianola has been his special care, and it shows well that he should give so much pains in putting it right for us.
Day has been explaining the manner in which he hopes to be able to cope with the motor sledge difficulty. He is hopeful of getting things right, but I fear it won’t do to place more reliance on the machines.

Everything looks hopeful for the depot journey if only we can get our stores and ponies past the Glacier Tongue.
We had some seal rissoles to-day so extraordinarily well cooked that it was impossible to distinguish them from the best beef rissoles. I told two of the party they were beef, and they made no comment till I enlightened them after they had eaten two each. It is the first time I have tasted seal without being aware of its particular flavour. But even its own flavour is acceptable in our cook’s hands – he really is excellent.

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