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Scott's Last Expedition

Saturday, May 27th 1911

A very unpleasant, cold, windy day. Annoyed with the conditions, so did not go out.

In the evening Bowers gave his lecture on sledging diets. He has shown great courage in undertaking the task, great perseverance in unearthing facts from books, and a considerable practical skill in stringing these together. It is a thankless task to search polar literature for dietary facts and still more difficult to attach due weight to varying statements. Some authors omit discussion of this important item altogether, others fail to note alterations made in practice or additions afforded by circumstances, others again forget to describe the nature of various food stuffs.

Our lecturer was both entertaining and instructive when he dealt with old time rations; but he naturally grew weak in approaching the physiological aspect of the question. He went through with it manfully and with a touch of humour much appreciated; whereas, for instance, he deduced facts from ‘the equivalent of Mr. Joule, a gentleman whose statements he had no reason to doubt.’

Wilson was the mainstay of the subsequent discussion and put all doubtful matters in a clearer light. ‘Increase your fats (carbohydrate)’ is what science seems to say, and practice with conservativism is inclined to step cautiously in response to this urgence. I shall, of course, go into the whole question as thoroughly as available information and experience permits. Meanwhile it is useful to have had a discussion which aired the popular opinions.

Feeling went deepest on the subject of tea versus cocoa; admitting all that can be said concerning stimulation and reaction, I am inclined to see much in favour of tea. Why should not one be mildly stimulated during the marching hours if one can cope with reaction by profounder rest during the hours of inaction?

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