Tuesday, 17 December 2013


Reading about Prince Harry and The Walking Wounded expedition, filled me with admiration for the bravery of men. They arrived at the South Pole about 4 days ago after a 200 mile trek. I can imagine all their equipment was top notch. Lots of micro fibre and thermal underwear. My future daughter-in -law who was an active Scout (they don't have Girl Guides in Italy, they are all Scouts), said one of their mottoes is "There's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing).

 I wonder what it feels like to be there, at the bottom of the world? My Dad went to New Zealand and thought he was going to fall off .. I 've been thinking of all the projects we did at school about expeditions to the North and South Pole. All those explorers that really hoped they'd get there. At this time of year it's nice to think of Father Christmas busy at the North Pole, drinking hot chocolate and wearing a very warm red suit.
 The South Pole, lying on a continental land mass, seems a bit easier to reach, whereas  the North Pole is in the middle of the Arctic ocean and so less easily accessible. People have been claiming to reach the North Pole way back as far as the 18 Th century. Lots of claims have been disproved, but I think it is agreed that the Russians got there first (?).I 'll look it up on Wikipedia.
My favourite explorer is Shinji Kazama from Japan, who on April 21 st 1987 became the first person to reach the North Pole on a motorbike.
In "The Oxford Book of Children's verse" I found a poem called "A North Pole Story". It was written in the 19 Th century by someone called Menella Bute Smedley. It's rather long and tells the story of an explorer going to the North Pole and being threatened by wolves. It's about 12 verses long so I won't write it all here, just one
 because it made me smile, it's OTT but so true of men anywhere in the world, even if they are just going to the shops not the North Pole.

But British men are fain
To venture on and through
And when you tell them to refrain,
They set themselves to do;
Into the secrets of the snow
they hurry and they press,
And answer Nature's coldest "No"
With a great shout of "Yes".

One thing I would think, that being at the North and South Pole must make the rest of the world feel like a very inviting place to go .Somewhere that needs looking after by everybody.

 May Prince Harry and his fellow adventurers have a safe journey home with lots of exciting tales to tell.

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