From the diary of Thomas Orde-Lees'...
[Comments on weather]
All these little things provide topics for conversation at table. It is surprising what a vast difference a daily paper and visits of friends make in one's table topics. Although none of us are in any way depressed yet often nearly a whole meal passes in comparative silence merely for want of something to talk about. To obviate this one or two of us make a special point of getting up controversies at table.
We generally manage to keep it going pretty well at one end of the table or the other.
Then we discussed whether it was best to talk about "nothing" or to talk about nothing at all. No conclusion was arrived at.
James is a good provider of table topics. He is our physicist, magnetician, etc. a B.Sc., and really very learned, so we always find it very interesting to discuss scientific things with him, such as pressure of gases, vaporization, freezing, atmospheric phenomena etc., and he always has an answer for every question. Lt. Hudson and Greenstreet, the ship's officers, sit next and opposite to him respectively but sometimes they make such facetious remarks during our scientific discussions that poor Jimmy shuts up as he does not think science compatible with humour.
Breakfast is the most silent meal but then that is not peculiar to the Antarctic and even our leader is not an exception!