Cooking is Science

When the official cook was incapacitated by a fall from an iceberg in an unfortunate photography accident, other members of the crew had to step in and do his job. One of them was 'Atch' Atkinson, the official doctor and parasitologist, who was more accustomed to working in the lab than the kitchen.
This page in my sketchbook had a disappointing run-in with some coffee at CTN – this is why you scan things full-res the first time, ladies and gentlemen!


I've been doing a day-by-day recounting of notable events of the Scott Expedition over on my LiveJournal (much to the consternation of its readers I'm sure), and have been pretty faithful about it, despite life's occasional difficulties.

Even though the travails of the Expedition are ever present in my mind, it's useful to get a reminder every so often.

Our Cheerful Pessimist

Titus Oates was rather the Eeyore of the Scott Expedition. During the first winter, the officers and scientists gave a series of lectures, and one of Titus' was on the management of the ponies which they would use the following summer in their attempt on the Pole. According to Frank Debenham, "He gave us all a surprise as his slow way of talking hardly lends itself to the lecturing, but he lectured really well and his dry smileless humour was splendid."

Smile, Darn Ya, Smile

Birdie Bowers always had the sunniest outlook, even when it was decidedly not sunny.

Okay, to be fair, the letter he wrote home about the storm that nearly sank the Terra Nova was more frank in its appraisal of their circumstances (proving how dire they really were) but he still ended it with "Under its worst conditions this earth is a good place to live in."

Gorgeous Lautrecian Creatures

In my continuing mission to consume all possible information on the Scott expedition, I have recently read Sara Wheeler's biography of Cherry. It was sad in unexpected ways, but interesting ... One point of interest was that during the second winter, when it was 'morally certain' that the polar party was not going to return, Cherry's sketchbook hosted some special guests.

If I had approached this correctly and referred to my research before I started drawing, the bunks would be the right distance apart ... ah well. That's not really the point.

Race to the End of the Earth

The American Museum of Natural History has an exhibition on, relating to Scott and Amundsen's race* to the South Pole in 1911. As you may have noticed in previous entries, the Scott expedition is an ... interest ... of mine, and Disney insists on letting me walk away with a comfortable disposable income, so I went.

They didn't allow cameras, but they didn't take my sketchbook away. Who wants a load of sketches? You want a load of sketches? You got it!


*Captain Scott says: 'It's not a race! Stop calling it a race! Geez!'

The 6th Inniskilling Dragoon's Lament

On this, my 'professional' blog, I usually try to avoid posting the frivolous self-gratifying fan art which fills up most of my sketchbook. But the thing of which I have been most proud, recently, is the most frivolous and self-gratifying of them all, and deeply dorky besides.

The song is to the tune of The Legionnaire's Lament by The Decemberists.

If the ghost of Titus Oates comes and burns a spectral blubber stove in my living room, it's no more than I deserve.

A Correspondence Between Gentlemen of Adventure

The second thing everyone knows* about the Scott Expedition is that Amundsen Got There First. What I didn't know until I read The Worst Journey in the World is that Amundsen left, for Scott, a letter to send to the king of Norway to corroborate his antecedence. This was so bemusing to me, a child of the late twentieth century, that a man could realistically expect his defeated rival to voluntarily go through the hassle of proclaiming his loss, and that said rival would actually do so rather than mutter a bitter 'screw you' and take no action at all.
*assuming one knows anything at all; the first thing is They All Died.

So of course I had to make a comic about it. Click for make biggar!

Words to Live By

If you are a brave man you will do nothing: if you are fearful you may do much, for none but cowards have need to prove their bravery. Some will tell you that you are mad, and nearly all will say, 'what is the use?' For we are a nation of shopkeepers... And so you will sledge nearly alone, but those with whom you sledge will not be shopkeepers: that is worth a good deal. If you march your Winter Journeys you will have your reward, so long as all you want is a penguin's egg.

– Apsley Cherry-Garrard

The Worst Journey in the World

There are better ways to beat the heat on a sweltering summer Sunday, but I attempted it by listening to Edwardian men pushed to the brink in Antarctica.

This week's Classic Serial on BBC Radio 4 was a dramatization of The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard, who was a member of Robert Scott's Terra Nova Expedition to Anarctica. Yes, that Scott expedition. Needless to say he wasn't part of the South Pole party because he wrote this book, but it's a gripping listen nonetheless.

All pre-1950 expeditions that necessitate coats and/or goggles default to Mignola style, by the way.