THE HIGH ARCTIC
Not only is it my worst nightmare, there are still plenty of other things that I ought to be doing rather than lounging about wasting my time here.
And so I was lying idly on my bed searching the internet. When I had been in Canada a few years ago I'd heard about a trip around the North-West Passage, following in the footsteps of people like James Rae (arguably the greatest Arctic explorer of all time), Sir John Franklin and Francis McClintock
But that trip hadn't run for several years as global warming had been freeing off icebergs from the Arctic glaciers at an astonishing rate, and the winds and currents were blowing them south and cramming up the channels. This year was no exception.
However, there was a trip into the High Arctic that looked interesting.
The itinerary proposed was basically to follow in the footsteps of Sir John Ross on his epic voyage of exploration - the first official expedition into the High Arctic in the "Golden Age" of Polar Exploration after the end of the Napoleonic War.
This voyage took place in 1818 and so this year was the bicentennial.
I made a long-distance phone call to chat to some people about the voyage. And much to my surprise there were some berths available on the ship.
They did however warn me that the trip was hung up on the vagaries of the weather.
All of this took place on a Monday afternoon.
On Tuesday morning I was at the airport in Brussels.
While I was typing this, I was listening to Mountain Queen by the Dutch rock group Alquin and a couple of lines of the lyrics came to stick in my head.
"Take your time and join me"
"and I'll tell you an endless story."
"Rest your head beside me in that fading light."
After all, as Alfred Tennyson once famously wrote, presumably with me in mind -
"men may come and men may go"
"But I go on for ever"
While I was in Montreal I had several errands to run and you can read about them here
As you've probably noticed, I'm still working on writing up this visit. Time factors, however, are weighing heavy on my shoulders. Hence the reason why this work is advancing less quickly than I would hope. But I am trying to spend at least 30 minutes per day working on it, so keep looking back to see where I'm up to.
Meantime, I shall leave you with the immortal words of Philaster Chase Johnson, who had similar challenges upon his time when writing his magazine, the name of which I have unfortunately forgotten.
"Cheer up. The worst is yet to come."