This morning I find myself sitting in the Kia Dealership in Thetford while I await our Sorento to have it’s first MOT. It’s hard to believe we’ve had it three years already. And in those three years all sorts of things have happened. I’ve gone from a crappy contract position to a year at home as a stay at home dad to being in regularly full time employment for the first time in years, and almost having, but managing to avoid, another self inflicted, stress induced breakdown last year. The kids have grown older, T has gone from pre-school to reception to year one at school and seems to be doing OK, despite his focus issues and general lack of attention to anything! E has gone from crawling to walking to talking and generally being a very bossy nearly four year old. Both of them are absolutely amazing and so very different to each other but on the whole get along excellently. L has had to have several teeth removed, but seems a much happier Labrador. She must have been in so much pain for so long, poor pooch. So with time on my hands while I await the fate of the MOT I’ve managed to add this quick blog post, and I’ve got a cupful of liquid that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea. I do miss Douglas Adams.
I stopped, thrusting my ski poles into the crisp snow as I did so and pulled down my scarf, lifting my goggles to take a good look around me, I unclipped my supply sledge from its harness and turned in a slow circle, taking in everything around me, my sharp breaths turning to vapour that froze in my beard as I did so.
All around me was whiteness, as far as the eye could see. Above me the sky was a brilliant blue, the single slab of azure a stark contrast to the white at the horizon. The sun beat down on the shimmering landscape, creating millions upon millions of glistering ice diamonds, I could just feel its heat, almost imperceptible against the cold and offering no respite from the biting coldness in the crisp air.
As my eyes adjusted to the brightness I began to make out in the distance, a dark blue line slicing through the icy whiteness that lay ahead of me. Re-coupling my sledge, I pulled up my scarf, adjusted my goggles, and gripping my ski poles set off, trudging purposefully forward. As I drew closer to it the ominous line grew darker and wider, snaking into a massive crack from left to right, from horizon to horizon, taking up the whole of the periphery of my vision. I carried on towards the growing and darkening crack that lay ahead of me and it wasn’t too long until I reached it, a wide gaping crevasse across my path.
I left my sledge and walked along the edge in each direction, looking for somewhere to cross. There was no natural snow bridge, and the best I could find was a spot that seemed no more than ten to twelve feet across. Having retrieved my sledge, I tied the harness fastening to my ice axe and hurled the trusty tool across to the other side, followed by my back pack and walking poles. Then, tentatively, I crept to the edge and peered over, it felt as if I was standing at the edge of forever, I’m not very good at heights, and this was particularly high, at a guess, and having thoroughly researched the ice sheet I was traversing, it must have been over 2500 feet deep, dropping into blackness and descending into the very bowels of the earth.
I took several meaningful strides back, as if pacing out my run to bowl at a demon batsman, and before I could give myself time to think about what I was about to do, I turned and ran at the gap as fast as I could and launched myself into the air, landing heavily but with no injury on the other side. I retrieved my axe from the ground and began the long and slow job of hauling my sledge across from the other side, using all my effort to prevent it falling into the void and taking me with it.
Exhausted, but with all my belongings and myself now safely on the other side, I sat on my sledge to rest, waiting for the thumping in my chest to abate before resuming my journey across the beautiful white wilderness.
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