Below Decks, RRS Discovery, Dundee

Below Deck

Equipment room:-

Equipment Room

Store room:-

Store room on RRS Discovery

Gangway:-

Gangway, RRS Discovery, Dundee

Science cabin:-

Science Space

Interior, RRS Discovery, Dundee

Root of main mast:-

RRS Discovery Main Mast Below Deck

Plaque on Main Mast RRS Discovery, Dundee

Mizzen mast:-

Mizzen Mast, RRS Discovery, Dundee

Mizzen Mast Plaque, RRS Discovery, Dundee

Chart room:-

Chart Room, RRS Discovery, Dundee

Office:-

Office, RRS Discovery

Engines:-

RRS Discovery, Dundee, Engines

Plaque for the engines’ builders, Gourlay Brothers & Co Ltd:-

Engine Plaque, RRS Discovery, Dundee

Deck Features, RRS Discovery, Dundee

Due to the need for hull strength to withstand the crushing forces of the Antarctic ice, the RRS Discovery had no portholes. Instead internal illumination and ventilation were made possible by the use of mushroom vents in the deck. The crew nicknamed these ankle crushers as they presented obstacles to easy movement.

Mushroom vents:-

Mushroom vents

This deck structure also contains “portholes” pointing skywards:-

Structure on Deck, RRS Discovery, Dundee

Steering wheel and binnacles:-

Steering Wheel & Binnacles, RRS Discovery

To the right above you can see the plaques denoting the location of the steering wheel, the binnacles and the ship’s cuddies.

Cuddies, RRS Discovery, Dundee

Shipbuilders plaque. Dundee Shipbuilders, Panmure Yard:-

Builder's Plaque, RRS Discovery, Dundee

Review for Interzone 281

 The City in the Middle of the Night cover

You may have noticed on my sidebar that I’m currently reading The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders.

This is because it’s the latest book I’ve received for review in Interzone.

Ms Anders is another author new to me. She is, though, a multiple award winner, gaining the Hugo for her novelette Six Months, Three Days in 2012 and several awards including the Nebula Award for her novel All the Birds in the Sky in 2017.

The review ought to appear in Interzone 281.

RRS Discovery Officers’ and Men’s Quarters

See previous posts on RRS Discovery here and here.

RRS Discovery Wardroom. Fairly sumptuously appointed:-

Wardroom

By contrast here’s the Mess room. The ‘men’ lived and slept here, in hammocks:-

Mess Room

Galley:-

Galley, RRS Discovery, Dundee

Junior Officer’s Quarters. A grade or so up from the ‘men’ you’ll note:-

Officer's Quarters, RRS Discovery, Dundee

These do look reasonably comfortable – but they were apparently the coldest part of the ship and the mattresses could freeze under the sleeping officer:-

RRS Discovery, Officer's Quarters

Senior Officer’s quarters, a bit less spartan:-

RRS Discovery, Dundee, Officer's Quarters

Shackleton’s Quarters weren’t quite so plush:-

Shackleton's Quarters

Scott’s, though, seem very salubrious:-

Scott's Quarters

Red Sprites

Weather phenomena can be very strange indeed.

I found this photograph on Astronomy Picture of the Day for 25/2/19 – which sprinkles the odd meteorological image amongst its astronomical ones.

The photograph shows red sprites – a form of lightning that was only recognised as such 30 years ago.

More information about atmospheric sprites can be found here.

Also on that page is an illustration of different atmospheric electrical phenomena which I reproduce below. These appear to take place at different heights abobe the ground. (Image credited to Abestrobi.)

Upperatmoslight1.jpg
By AbestrobiOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

The Joke by Milan Kundera

faber and faber, 1998, 327 p including 5 p Author’s Note. Translated by Michael Henry Heim, the author himself, and Aaron Asher from the Czech Žert, originally published by Československỳ Spisovatel, 1967.

 The Joke cover

Kundera’s first novel endured a peculiar journey- outlined in the Author’s Note – to get to this publication, the fifth English language version of the novel. Kundera was unsatisfied with all previous renderings of The Joke as they contained altered syntax, different divisions, reconstructions, shortenings or omissions. He says he, “once left a publisher for the sole reason that he tried to change my semi-colons for periods,” but promises us, since he more or less undertook it himself, this will be the last translation.

The novel is a depiction of Czech life in the early to middle period of Soviet influence in the country. Main protagonist Ludvik Jahn provides the viewpoint for the odd numbered Parts – Part Two is narrated by a woman named Helena, Part Four by a man called Jaroslav, Part Five by another, Kostka, and Part Seven by Ludvik, Jaroslav and Helena in separate but intermixed sections.

Told from the perspective of a return to Ludvik’s home town in mid-life, we see the incidents influencing Ludvik’s circumstances from his time as a university student and part-time clarinet player in a cimbalom band, when he was a committed Communist. His life began to unravel when to impress a woman called Marketa he unwisely set down on a postcard the thought, “Optimism is the opium of the people! A healthy atmosphere stinks of stupidity! Long live Trotsky!” signed, and then sent it. When he was brought before a disciplinary hearing for this transgression, every member of his class voted for him to be punished. Despite his protestations that his action was a joke he was sent to a special Army unit, in effect a punishment battalion, not for training with weapons but set to work in mines. In what free time he was allowed Ludvik struck up a friendship with Lucie, but her reluctance to have sex with him (for which we later learn she had a very good reason,) made the relationship end badly.

Ludvik’s experiences are later given perspective by the thought, “no great movement designed to change the world can bear sarcasm and mockery, because they are a rust that corrodes all it touches.” So, too, is the sheer impossibility of proving yourself innocent in a world that sees evidence of guilt even in denial of the charge, still more in any efforts to prove loyalty.

Within the details of Ludvik’s life and embittered attempts at petty revenge Kundera finds time to touch on the importance of folk culture and traditions to a nation’s sense of itself. “During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the Czech nation almost ceased to exist. In the nineteenth century it was virtually reborn. Among the old European nations it was a child. True, it also had its own great past, but it was cut off from that past by a gap of two hundred years, when the Czech language retreated to the countryside, the exclusive property of the illiterate. But even in their midst it never ceased to create its own culture. A modest culture, completely hidden from the eyes of Europe. A culture of songs, fairy tales, ancient rites and customs, proverbs and sayings. The only narrow footbridge across a two-hundred-year gap….. The only fragile stem of an unbroken tradition. That is why the men who at the turn of the nineteenth century began to create a new Czech literature and music grafted them onto this stem…. why the first Czech poets and musicians spent so much time collecting tales and songs.”

Kundera goes on to argue that stripping away the veils of Czech music culture reveals the residue of the Great Moravian Empire, whose borders were swept away a thousand years ago, yet its legacy remains imprinted today in the most ancient stratum of folk songs. “The folk song or folk rite is a tunnel beneath history, a tunnel that reserves much of what wars, revolutions, civilization have long since destroyed aboveground,” even preserving classical antiquity for us.

When the state sanctions this culture though, it loses force. “The fact that something like folk music was on the radio constantly should not delude us.” What they play, “is more like opera or operetta, or light music…. A folk instrument band with a conductor, a score, and music stands! What bastardization! … Real folk art is dead.” And it can be abused in other ways. “Drunkards are the most loyal supporters of folk festivals. Once in a while, at least, they have a noble pretext for taking a drink.”

Translated fiction is arguably a necessary endeavour, revealing to others aspects of the world and thought systems of which they otherwise would not be fully aware, a reminder that the ability to read widely – and without restriction – is a blessing.

Consider the alternative. “We lived in a devastated world; and because we did not know how to commiserate with the devastated things, we turned away from them and so injured them, and ourselves as well.”

Pedant’s corner:- Translated into USian. Otherwise; repertory (repertoire,) “a slipshod permanent crumpling her hair” (ie, permanent wave; the British usage is perm,) aboveground (above ground,) “‘your not a woman who’” (you’re,) the opening quotation mark (deliberately) missing when a chapter begins with dialogue, Jesus’ (Jesus’s,) “head bowed bowed” (only one “bowed” needed,) Mathias’ (Mathias’s.) “There are a number of hypotheses” (there is a number of.) “A group of people were walking after it” (a group of people was walking.)

Live It Up 52: Life’s What You Make It. RIP Mark Hollis

Talk Talk were never makers of big hits but nevertheless produced four or five songs which still show their quality over thirty years after they were written and recorded. The group also influenced many later bands as quoted in the Guardian obituary of Talk Talk’s singer and composer Mark Hollis who died earlier this week.

Hollis seems to have been one of the few people who could walk away from a musical career as, barring a solo album in 1998, after 1991 he made few forays into music making.

Talk Talk: Life’s What You Make It

Mark David Hollis: 4/1/1955 – 25/2/2019. So it goes.

Exhibits, Discovery Point, Dundee

In the Discovery Point Museum at Dundee are many fascinating exhibits. These few photos feature some about the ship itself.

Model of RRS Discovery:-

Model of RRS Discovery, Dundee

Cut away showing engines:-

RRS Discovery, Dundee, Cut Away Model

Cut away showing hull construction and its reinforcing:-

Cut Away Model of RRS Discovery, Dundee

Hull construction illustration. Three different woods, Green Heart Pitch Pine, English Oak and Riga Fir, build for strength and flexibility:-

Structure of wooden sailing ships

RRS Discovery, Dundee

RRS Discovery was Scott’s and Shackleton’s research ship in the Antarctic, now berthed at Dundee, centrepiece of a museum at Discovery Point, Dundee. New V&A in background:-

Discovery and V&A 2

RRS Discovery viewed from left:-

RRS Discovery, Dundee

RRS Discovery, bow section:-

RRS Discovery bow part

Stern portion. Again V&A in background:-

Stern Part, RRS Discovery, Dundee

Main mast:-

Main Mast, RRS Discovery, Dundee

Mast, RRS Discovery, Dundee

Mast and lifeboat:-

Mast & lifeboat

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