FROM 1-10. South Atlantic-Going up

Mar 29, 2005 - 1115hrs UTC

1115hrs 29 Mar 2005 UTC Map Ref 132

I’m having an idle speculation day. It seems to me that Berrimilla and her scruffy crew are a bit like an ant being given a ride in the sunlight on the back of an elephant called NASA. There may be mutual benefit but the elephant, in evolutionary terms, is hardly likely to gain much from the presence of a little blob of subintelligent formic acid on its back while the ant is completely absorbed in the experience. I am reminded of the story of the chicken and the pig discussing their favourite breakfasts. The chicken said what about bacon, eggs and black coffee and the pig thought about it a bit and said that actually, it preferred porridge, because for the chicken, bacon and eggs requires only a contribution while for the pig it would be total commitment. Not an exact analogy, but I’ve always liked the story.

And April is set to be a month of transitions and change. The ISS will get a new crew in a couple of weeks and there will be 5 of them sharing the space for a week. Berri in racing trim can just manage six but it gets awfully crowded and even in their apartment block up there, I imagine it’s much the same. That must be one of the more interesting watch changes that have ever taken place on a regular basis. Then for Leroy and Salizhan, it’s back to Khazhakhstan, debriefing, weight training and their families. And perhaps another ride in the future. We’ll still be down here when the next crew goes home too.

Berri will change from being cold, clammy, mouldy, dank, damp and relatively unpleasant to being warm, dry, still mouldy but that’s fixable in the dry, and a tube that we spent a lot of time outside instead of inside. And I will have a birthday on the 22nd. and become Even More Venerable. So get ready to venerate, you lot, with copious ale and party hats. April is also Berri’s birthday month – not sure of the date – she will be 28, not quite half my age and twice as clever.

If we get lucky, it will be the month when the three of us cross the Equator. First time for Berri, umpteenth for the other two although for me, the first time to the west of Africa in a boat.

devoncroo, I can relate to wallpaper paste. Mal, glad you caught up with Chris. Report, please, on the experience.

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