Monday, September 24, 2007

More Zen -Big Blows - First Post Winter Trip - Doc's Birthday - Leg Update - Neil's Birthday

In my last entry, I had been testing some zen stoves. These are tiny alcohol (meths) stoves that you can make out of coke cans. To make them smaller you can use tonic cans. One of the ones that I made earlier was a mini top vent one. The disadvantage of this, compared to the side vent also show in the last entry is that you have to have a pot stand. I have now made one using a tin that held kodak film chemicals. I cut holes to allow flames and air in and it works very very well.

The mini top vent with pot stand.

We tested it properly and it required about 20 ml of alcohol to bring 0.5 litres of water to the boil (boiled for 60 seconds) in about 8 mins. I think it is actually a bit faster than the side vent but you do have to carry the extra 30 grams of pot stand. The extra advantage of this is that the stove fits in the pot stand and is protected when travelling. I expect this one to last a lot longer that the purely aluminium ones.

We have got more and more light and with this returning light we have had more and more blows. We sort of define a blow when the wind reached about 20 knots (we measure this about 10m above the surface), at this point working outside becomes nearly impossible. You can easily walk between buildings but actually working outside is not nice. At 30 knots you start to lose sight of the other buildings and for someone on crutches its not great. Above 40 knots its best not to linger too long outside. One thing that has happened is that this year's weather haven nearly blew away. The wind was above 40 knots and somehow it worked open a bit of the tent. The weather haven is a very very large tent that is used to store the blimp. The blimp is filled with helium and the Simpson people use it to measure low level ozone by attaching special instruments to the bottom. Anyway the wind was so high the weather haven nearly blew away. The blimp inside was damaged so much that after we had fixed everything we were able to crawl into it through the gapping holes in the side.

So we decided to have a wake for the blimp inside the blimp.

It was a good celebration and very kind words were said about the blimp because it has been one of the most successful blimp seasons ever. This is all down to the good work of the Simpson met babes.

With the returning light, it has also been time for the first post winter winter trips to go out. Luckily for them the wind died just before they were due to leave. They got out and spent a 8 days sleeping in tents with mixed weather.

Tom warms up all the skidoos by sitting on them.

As usual we have been trying to have as many parties as we can. This time it was Richard the doctors party and he decided that he would have London Underground party.

As you can see we made our usual effort. I am sure that you can guess the stations.

Finally after weeks and weeks (well only 6 and a bit) I have my plaster removed. This was a bit of a traumatic experience. One of the problems with plaster of paris in the antarctic is that due to the cold it takes a long time to harden fully consequently people find it easy to damage. Richard decided that he would try to reinforce it and added more and more plaster over the weeks. His last reinforcement was when he added the rocker.

The cast just before being removed. As you can see I have worn one edge of the rocker. All the white stuff is extra thick plaster.

Richard fairly whipped through the unreinforced pink plaster in about 20 seconds then came the pain of trying to get though what felt like 50 layers of plaster. Richard is using some plaster shears.

In fact I had to help him. I think he got a bit tired. What you can see me using is a set of pryers, we made a cut with the shears then pryed the cut open with this things.

Richard strains to break through the last bit.

Success! After 20 mins of hacking we got rid of the smelly pile of plaster.

The leg after a quick shower. There wasn't too much smelly skin and my leg wasn't too shrunken.

We took some more x-rays and I saw how they are developed. Its exactly the same process (and chemicals) as black and white printing but with a large film like x-ray.

Looking at this x-ray we can see where the crack was but it doesn't seem to bad. In fact it looks like it might have filled in a bit. From the other angle its not so good.

From this angle you can see the crack is still very visible. This is not good and indicates that I still have a bit of a way to got before I don't have to worry about it. If I better healing I should have a larger callus, a bone growth around the break.

Comparing these with my original x-rays, you can see that I have much more movement of the ankle which is great. Richard had a good feel of the bone and clinically it is all good, there is little pain and this apparently is more important, but because the x-rays don't show ideal bone growth its better to take it safe. I will still be hobbling around on crutchs and I can't get off base. I am however doing physio and already my ankle is becoming quite flexible.

For some reason September is the month for birthdays, maybe its to do with the cold northern hemisphere winters and next on the list was Neil's toga or greek God party.

Zeus plays pool with Spartan Ant.

A roman centurian trys to attach Hermes who had a bad landing and hurt his leg, hense the crutches.

The birthday boy himself showing off his body as usual. He is of course Atlas.

Kirsty as Artemis, Godess of Hunting.

The next day I had my first wander around outside without my cast and enjoyed the new sensations on my leg.

Chris made me very jealous by kiting all around.

My leg situation is due to be reassessed in 2 weeks and soon I hope to be kiting.


angiegould said...

I hope your leg gets on ok love your fancy dress

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Rix! Just to wish you a swell birthday for today or tomorrow. As usual I can never remember which day it is. Am off to Mali for two whole, blissful, (but possibly wet weeks - flooding has been bad) today. Timbuktou here I come...xxxEmily

Silver Fox said...

Glad to see the plaster coming off, and pleased to see you will be returning with war wounds....

Zen stoves - very cool, would love to learn to make one from a coke can...

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Tom said...

Great stuff mate!

check out my blog....

Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

Every now and again I drop by to see how you are all going... was surprised to see you had a broken leg... glad to hear that all is well... read the last few posts... glad you finally got sun... you can have the Florida sun... we need rain here. Love that photo of the penguin too... take care and don't break your leg again...