In Antarctica, today is Mid-Winter's Day. The sun that disappeared in early May slowly starts to return in early August. That is cause for celebration - especially for the Endurance crew stranded on Elephant Island in 1916
Frank Wild decreed that everyone had to contribute to the celebration. Thomas Orde-Lees wrote in his diary, "After supper we had a grand concert of 24 turns including a few new topical songs and so ended one of the happiest days of my life and for once one retired to rest with a feeling of complete repletion."
Physicist Reginald James brought down the house with his contribution. In 1998, I hosted a dinner for the descendants of the Endurance expedition at The Explorer's Club in New York City. The evening's highlight was a boisterous rendition of this song.
OUR HOME ON ELEPHANT ISLE
by physicist Reginald W. James
Air, Solomon Levi
My name is Franky Wild-O, and my hut's on Elephant Isle
The most expert of Architects could hardly name its style
Yet as I sit inside, all snug and listen to the Gale
I think the pride is pardonable with which I tell my tale.
O Franky Wild-O tra-la-la-la-la-la
Mr. Franky Wild-O tra-la-la-la-la-la
My name is Franky Wild-O, my hut's on Elephant Isle,
The walls without a single brick, & the roof's without a tile
But nevertheless I must confess, by many and many a mile
It's the most palatial dwelling place, you'll find on Elephant Isle.
When first I landed here, I tried to live inside a tent
And a howling blizzard came along, and in it tore a rent;
And through the rift came streams of drift, and filled my bag with snow
I said I'll not put up with this for any winds that blow.
I looked around, and soon espied, pulled up upon the strand,
A pair of boats most stoutly built, which brought us to this land.
I said you served us once, I'll surely make you serve again
For if we turn you upside down, you'll keep out snow and rain.
And so I got my crew to build two walls of stones and rocks,
And turned the boats up side by side, and fixed 'em tight with chocks
We filled the gaps with canvas, and put the stoves inside,
And then we rested from our work, and had some penguin fried.
Our hut is double storeyed, and has bedrooms twenty-two,
A kitchen, and a dining room, although indeed its true
We haven't any bathroom, but however you may smile,
We find it warmer not to wash, in our hut on Elephant Isle.