Hole in the bucket

I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go
I’m filling the cracks that ran through the door
And kept my mind from wandering
I’m painting the room in a colourful way
I’m taking the time for a number of things
That weren’t important yesterday
And I still go, Where it will go.
‘Fixing a hole’ by the Beatles

 

Every day you wake up and it takes some time to screw your head into place.
I am quite used to waking up in a tent at 4000 metres or above, from previous expeditions, but now I can isolate the general feeling of hypoxia from the other factors at play- the sensory deprivation, isolation and loss of the day light cycle.

But its difficult to ‘sort’ through and divide up and attribute these other remaining factors listed above, challenging our lives day by day.

Leaking enthusiasm

This morning for 2-3 hours I felt like I had a ‘leak’. Alike to a haemorrhage I checked around my body for signs of a frank, rouge puddle of blood – like any doctor, I conducted a full body examination – that’s how I have been trained and thats what it felt like… a hypovolaemic trauma patient – overcome with lethargy and an impeding sense of doom, exsanguinating life, in a state of shock and bewilderment.

I soon realised I was looking in the wrong place.

This feeling came from a leak in my mind. Slowly but surely all my enthusiasm was seeping out through a hidden leak. This is what overwintering in Antarctica feels like.

‘There is a hole in the bucket, dear Liza’

As the olde english children’s folk song goes… ‘There is a hole in the bucket, dear Liza’. The full lyrics are included below.

About the song: The song is based on a dialogue about a leaky bucket between two characters, called Henry and Liza. The song incorporates an infinite-loop motif: Henry has got a leaky bucket, and Liza tells him to repair it. But to fix the leaky bucket, he needs straw. To cut the straw, he needs an axe. To sharpen the axe, he needs to wet the sharpening stone. To wet the stone, he needs water. However, when Henry asks how to get the water, Liza’s answer is “in a bucket”. It is implied that one bucket is available — the leaky one, which, if it could carry water, would not need repairing in the first place.

Finding the leak

On the one hand – whilst you feel like you have a leak, you cannot find it. But you feel like you are sinking. Either way, you are loosing enthusiasm and your grip.

You get a sinking feeling every morning and late at night, alone in bed.

The engine oil is seeping out… you just don’t know how much oil there is available in your store to keep pouring it in, to keep the engine running, pumping out the water running in, making you sink.

The tap is left on and the sink plug, lost.

I only hope I can bail water out as quickly as it enters, should the engine break. I hope the engine is an old diesel engine made in the time of Woody Guthrie with as many friends and miles of experience. You can pour anything in and it’ll keep running. Made of stuff of the past, that lasts… not made in China.

Sinking boat

Winterover is like living in a sinking boat, a continual struggle to keep the mind afloat from drowning.

The search goes on for the leak – I need to plug the hole to keep afloat. There are only 6 or 7 months left until we are ‘rescued’.

In the meantime you remain adrift in this sea of ice, not knowing if or when you will ever ‘hit land’. Although you dream of washing up on that tropical beach, surrounded by warm gentle surf, you know South Georgia is still a long way away, in the middle of the ocean, without a compass, you just hope you will chance upon it.

 

Song of the day: Fixing a hole by the Beatles


Lyrics from the children’s song – ‘There is a hole in the bucket, dear Liza’

There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,
There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, a hole.
Then fix it, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
Then fix it, dear Henry, dear Henry, fix it.
With what shall I fix it, dear Liza, dear Liza?
With what shall I fix it, dear Liza, with what?
With straw, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
With straw, dear Henry, dear Henry, with straw.
The straw is too long, dear Liza, dear Liza,
The straw is too long, dear Liza, too long,
Then cut it, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
Then cut it, dear Henry, dear Henry, cut it.
With what shall I cut it, dear Liza, dear Liza?
With what shall I cut it, dear Liza, with what?
With an axe, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
With an axe, dear Henry, dear Henry, with an axe.
The axe is too dull, dear Liza, dear Liza,
The axe is too dull, dear Liza, too dull.
Then sharpen it, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
Then sharpen it, dear Henry, dear Henry, hone it.
On what shall I sharpen it, dear Liza, dear Liza?
On what shall I sharpen it, dear Liza, on what?
On a stone, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
With a stone, dear Henry, dear Henry, a stone.
The stone is too dry, dear Liza, dear Liza,
The stone is too dry, dear Liza, too dry.
Well wet it, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
Well wet it, dear Henry, dear Henry, wet it.
With what shall I wet it, dear Liza, dear Liza?
With what shall I wet it, dear Liza, with what?
try water, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
try water, dear Henry, dear Henry, water.
In what shall I fetch it, dear Liza, dear Liza?
In what shall I fetch it, dear Liza, in what?
In a bucket, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
In a bucket, dear Henry, dear Henry, bucket.
There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,
There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, a hole.

 

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