Z-fids Newsletter No. 9

August 2006

      Z - F I D S    N E W S L E T T E R   No. 9   21 Aug 2006 

Editor: Andy Smith  (email andy@smitha.demon.co.uk)
Website: www.zfids.org.uk

              * * * ! ! !  31 AUGUST 2006 ! ! ! * * * 

Halley 50 Year Celebration weekend, Northampton, 14-15 October 2006
The above date, 31 August 2006, is the deadline for bookings for
the "Z-50" weekend, and this Newsletter will be the last reminder.
All details about the event may be found on the Z-fids website. If
you want to attend, please make sure you get your booking and
payment in on time. There is a list on the website of who has
booked so far. The latest count (17 August) is 224 plus 99 guests.
All the rooms at the Park Inn have now been taken for the Saturday
night (though it may be worth checking for cancellations). As an
alternative, the Hotel Ibis is just a short walk away.

If you are not able to join the festivities in Northampton you are
invited to send in brief messages (50 words maximum) to the
assembled company. Some will be selected to be read out after the
dinner, and the remainder will be placed on a noticeboard. After
the event, all will be archived on this website. If you wish to
send such a message, please use the form on the website, or email
it to z50@zfids.org.uk with "Z-50 message" in the Subject field.

Halley 50th birthday cake
This is being baked specially for the occasion by Alan Wearden
(many of you will know Alan, who spent several summers at Halley as
chef for the maintenance and construction crews). The cake will be
cut at Northampton on Saturday afternoon, and served with tea after
"The Big Smoko". There will be no charge for either tea or cake.

Z-50 polo shirts
To be in the height of fashion at Z-50, you can't beat one of these
superb garments emblazoned with the Z-50 logo, for only 14. If you
order before 15 September, your polo shirt will be available for
collection in Northampton. Details on the website.

Commemorative DVD
I have seen a nearly final draft of this and it is brilliant. It
has been compiled by Stephen Williams and is full of pictures which
have been taken and supplied by Halley winterers (no more can now
be accepted), supplemented by material from the BAS archives. It
covers all aspects of life and work at Halley Bay over the 50
years. You will be able to view it and purchase copies at Z-50.

Fids' bodges
Mike Pinnock is still collecting examples to display at Z-50. See
"Fids' Bodges" in the General Index on the website for details, and
contact Mike if you think you have anything interesting to

Signy 60th
If you were at Signy as well as Halley, and fancy another big
anniversary bash next year, the Signy 60th will be happening,
possibly at Whitby. Details are on the "Cool Antarctica" FIDS
website (link on the Z-fids home page).

Far flung fids
Halley Bay fids are scattered widely around the world. Just a
couple of examples: Eamonn Liddle (1996-97) is now living in Rio de
Janeiro and working in Yemen. Kenn Back (1975) is in Uruguay. After
UK and Ireland, the most popular locations are Commonwealth and
former British Empire countries: Canada, Australia, South Africa,
New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Singapore, and of course the
Falkland Islands.

The Z-fids website
The site has continued to expand thanks to your contributions. Many
thanks to everyone who sent information in response to the last
newsletter. We now have all the winterers' first names listed. As
an aside, at one time almost everyone had a distinctive nickname
too, but this practice seems to have declined over the years; does
anybody know why?

Everyone who has contributed to the website should be listed on the
Acknowledgements page. If I have inadvertently omitted anyone,
please let me know. Any errors you find on the website, even small
ones, please write in tell me.

317 people have now registered on the website. Anyone who was at
Halley, winter or summer, is invited to do so (link on the home
page). Names of those who have registered are shown as links on the
appropriate year page(s). The wintering statistics page (link on
home page) shows the percentage of winterers who have registered in
each year. 1997 currently is top of the league table with 88% (they
just need to add Chris Jacobs and Richard Robinson to have a "full
house"), closely followed by 1998 and 1999 in joint second place.

The wrong sort of penguin?
Lewis Juckes has pointed out that the penguin on the Halley logo on
the website home page appears to be a king penguin rather than an
emperor. Obviously not designed by an ornithologist. Well spotted

Handy tips on skidoos
A certain mechanic, who had probably better remain nameless in this
newsletter, describes how skidoos were brought into the Halley 5
Laws Building (ACB - Accommodation Building as it was then known)
and serviced in the corridor. Afterwards they were driven down the
steps back to the surface. One took a more vertical route. Check
out "skidoos" in the General Index on the website.

Beware holes in the snow. Shaun Burkey recalls driving a skidoo
into one (see the 1993 page); I would imagine he is not the only

The last Newsletter was blocked by some email filters because of
inappropriate content. I can only assume that this was on account
of a reference to "The N***d Skidoo-er".

The Piano
(I think there has only been one, unless anybody knows different).
The last Newsletter raised the question of who painted it white.
According to Iain Campbell, he and Tony Jackson did so after they
spent two weekends digging it out from Halley-1, and getting lost
bringing it back to base (Z2). John Skipworth suggested that
painting it white might have been a ploy to lose it on the bondu,
not unrelated to the quality of Doc Ron Lloyd's playing. See
"piano" in the General Index.

The Halley Observatory
Shaun Burkey, one of the team that designed and constructed the
observatory in 1993 out of an old Sat-dome salvaged from Halley-4,
wonders how and when it met its end, as it is no longer on base.
Pictures and plans are on the website. Were any significant
astronomical observations made from the observatory? If you have
any information, please write in.

Notable Events
The last newsletter asked for notable events for selected years
which did not have any listed on the website.

In 1989, Donny Stewart chose the medevac of the Bransfield's 1st
mate to Christchurch, and the improvisation of a hot tub. Pat
Lurcock remembers digging out the roof voids in 1987, and when an
IH tractor caught fire. Dave Hoy recalls felling the turdicle in
'69. Charlie Robb has written about 16mm films, bonfire night, etc.
(see 1992 page).

Richard Yeo says "... there is no mention of the parachute that was
around 92-93.. I know it ended up at the bottom of Precious [Bay?]
attached to a Nansen sledge weighed down with quite a lot of
expensive field gear (perhaps a story for another time..), but I am
not sure when it arrived." Does anyone have information? Or any
other parachute stories?

The website contains pictures and stories about two Halley Bay
cats: Kista and Dillon (look up "cats" in the index). Have there
been any others?

Beer machine
Does anybody have a photo of this? It was in the bar when I arrived
on base in early 1971. If I recall correctly, you pressed a button,
and after much whirring of cogs and flashing of lamps, a can of
beer was dispensed. Constructed I think by a beastie man,
apparently with too much time and too many surplus beastie bits on
his hands.

What was the origin of this Fids' term meaning fine weather? Hwfa
Jones reckons it came from a line written by Dylan Thomas "the
night above the dingle starry", a recording of which was on base
when he was there. Follow the debate by clicking "dingle" in the

Ham Radio
Martin "Snoopy" Pinder remembers speaking to King Hussein on the
amateur radio bands in 1970. Any other interesting ham radio

Jack Hill was Head Gardener in 1962, producing tomatoes and other
salad bits. What was grown in other years? No doubt the seeds would
be banned nowadays for environmental reasons. See "gardening" in
the index.

Jeremy Bailey
Jeremy Bailey was one of the three men who died in the 1965
crevasse accident, and whose names are inscribed on the memorial at
Halley. Now one of his relatives has put a tribute to him on the
web. There is a link to it on the Z-fids 1965 page.

James Van Allen
James Van Allen, who discovered in the magnetosphere the radiation
belts named after him, died on 9 August 2006. With Sydney Chapman,
Van Allen was one of the principal instigators of the International
Geophysical Year, without which there would have been no Halley

News from Halley
Since the last newsletter, the 2006 wintering team have celebrated
Midwinter in the traditional fashion. The Sun has now returned. See
Frances Williams' weblog for a photo of the flag-raising ceremony.
There have been several trips to the penguin colony. Its present
location necessitates an abseil down the ice cliffs. The team have
now run out of fresh potatoes and onions, see Alex Gough's blog
(links on the 2006 page of the Z-fids website).

As usual this newsletter is being sent out by email only. If you
are on email but have not received it by that route, please
register or re-register on the website.

All the best, Andy

21 August 2006
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