Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition, July 26, 1916: We have quite come to like, and look forward to, methylated spirts.” —from the diary of Thomas Orde Lees—

“26 July. Astounding temperature with a maximum of 36deg. We were so pleased with our capture [of a large, pregnant seal] yesterday that we celebrated it with a tot of methylated spirits [denatured alcohol] each for luncheon. We have quite come to like, and look forward to, methylated spirts. It cannot be good for one, but it seems to put a new heart into us and as several rabid teetotalers amongst us have taken to it, the most rabid teetotalers at home will not grudge us this very moderate indulgence. Sometimes it even makes some of the sailors quite talkative and arguer.

“The little unborn seal was a beautiful little fluffy yellow thing. It seemed such a shame to destroy it. We ate it, also its tongue, heart, liver, kidneys and brain, all deliciously tender.”

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