June 22, 1912: A feast on Inexpressible Island

–from Raymond Priestley’s account “Antarctic Adventure”–

“Our abode was a cave in which it was impossible to stand upright, our sleeping-bags were greasy and in many cases were wearing bare of hair, two of us spent the day toiling over blubber fire and meat-board, while the other four lay supine in their bags.  Our morning and evening meal alike were hooshes at which any English tramp would have turned up his nose, and as treats we had four hard biscuits, three pennyworth of chocolate, and a few lumps of sugar.

“Yet had any of us been asked on the night of June 22, 1912, which day we had enjoyed the most there would have been no hesitation in our answers–1912 every time.  The value of these treats lies wholly in the contrast they afford to our daily life.  Petronius never had so much pleasure from a Roman feast as we had from our hooshes, flavoured as they were with the carefully saved livers and hearts of Adelie penguins and from our few luxuries.

“As for Wincarnis, none of the famous wines of the world could possiblt taste to us as did this, our first decent drink since February.  It was sipped, it is true, out of horn mugs which were so impregnated with blubber that they had to be scraped with the blade of a knife before they were sufficiently clean for its reception; but even this could not ruin the taste of the winde, and the soupcon of blubber may have added body to its flavour.”


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