My dear readers, what might be apparent from the title of this blog post is that I’ve been quite devious over that last five or six months. I’ve been feeding people the lie that I’ll be back at the end of August but that was never the plan, I hope you forgive me! As I write this I left my frozen paradise eight days ago, and I’m traveling north at 586mph, 41,000 feet above the South Atlantic Ocean on a military flight making my way, somewhat stealthily, back to the UK.
My hope is that on Friday (17th) I will surprise my family at a restaurant in Edinburgh late in the afternoon, only my sister in-law (to be!) is aware of my guest appearance at this lunch – someone had to help with the deception!
This means that this will be my last blog post from South Georgia, well…for the time being. I don’t like the thought of never going back.
I arrived back in the UK on the morning of the 15th and was picked up by Dickie and Rachel (who were both at KEP in the last year). They then very kindly spent the day taxing me about. [Editor comment: This is Rachel. As Matthew’s blog editor, I would like to add in that this was an absolute pleasure.] I dropped into BAS and saw my boss briefly and a few other people before having afternoon tea (I’ve never felt so British) with James and Deirdre who were about Cambridge and BAS. I then picked up a hire car on the 16th at Stansted Airport (just north of London) and then drove the 450 miles to Edinburgh, via Dunfermline to drop Deirdre off before staying the night at a friend’s house. Driving was something I was a little concerned about as I hadn’t driven on a proper road with traffic in my time south. I did stall after 20ft or so but it came back quickly enough after that. Only a couple of hours later I was criticising other drivers for being rubbish haha.
As well as surprising the family with my ‘early’ return I also had a few more surprises up my sleeve. The first one is that, if you are reading this on the day of publication (Monday the 20th), I will be in Iceland while making my way to Greenland for a month to work for Tangent Expeditions again, two years after my first trip up there. That will take my time in the polar regions to 22 months in the last 24. I’ll return to the UK late August and enjoy a few months off – I feel like I’ve earned them! During that time I’ll head to the west coast of Scotland and do some sea kayaking, which is the best way to spend time on the water, in my opinion. I may do a blog post or two in that time but I have to keep some things just for me.
I hinted at a return to South Georgia earlier in the post and I’m happy to say that I’ll be heading back to my frozen ivory tower in November for another eight to nine months. So this is only the end of the beginning.
I’ll have a Greenland blog post out towards the end of next month.