Arrival in the UK – Hurray!

When is the true end of this expedition? Is it now that we are back on UK soil? We still have to travel to Portsmouth for a final round of tests before we can really begin our Christmas break and there are still many things to do to process and analyse the results of all our experiments and to study the materials that we have collected.

It was a strange experience to leave Santiago in midsummer with temperatures over 30 degrees and to arrive back to an English winter. I still find it odd to experience darkness again after nearly 40 days of continuous daylight. Our 12 hour flight from Santiago to Madrid was enlivened by the in-flight movies, reading, writing, doing puzzles and attempts (with various degrees of success) to sleep. The newspaper headlines announcing impending chaos on Road, Rail and Air didn’t help our mood when we were delayed at Madrid. In the end we touched down at Heathrow at 5.33 pm. Family, friends, Steve Bull (the organiser of the expedition), Peter and Ann Fuchs and our intrepid cameraman, Richard Wyllie, and his colleague from Brook Lapping, came to see us arrive. It was a great arrival on our home ground at last. The best bit was the ‘surprise’ of my boyfriend being there.  While in the baggage reclaim I phoned my parents to say hello after almost two months.  My dad asked me “Was it a nice surprise to see Angus?”  When I said he would be at work there was a long pause and then I realised so I speeded up through customs and gave him a huge hug.  It was fantastic to see him again.  People have said to us that it is sometimes harder for friends and family who are left at home as they go about their usual daily lives, whereas for us it’s all new and exciting with different challenges to meet.  I can understand that and so I am exceptionally grateful to all my friends, family and colleagues who have offered so many words of encouragment.

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