top of page

"Like school days all over again..."

Orde-Lees' Journal, November 24, 1915

Day by day goes by much the same as one another.

We work; we talk; we laugh; we eat. Ah, we eat; how we eat! No longer on short rations we are a trifle more exacting than we were when we first commenced our "simple life" but by comparison with home standards we are positive barbarians & our gastronomic rapacity knows no bounds.

All is ate that comes to our tent and everything is most carefully & accurately divided into eight equal portions, which portions are usually readjusted once or twice before the verdict of equity is unanimous. One member then closes his eyes or turns his head away & calls out our names in tun at the bidding of the cook-of-the-day who points to each portion, saying at the same time, "Whose?"

Partiality, however unintentional it may be, is thus entirely obviated & everyone feels satisfied that all is fair even though one may look a little enviously at so & so's helping which differs in some especially appreciated detail from one's own. For instance, this morning we had fried ham. It was duly apportioned as well as it was possible to do so.

The above described method of allocation was carried out & to my chagrin I got a helping which contained an excess of underdone fat, now I have a decided preference for well done ham, & longingly looked at a lovely luscious lean which fell to my next door neighbour; but in the long run it is as broad as it is long, though when one gets a "prime cut" oneself one is less likely to appreciate one's good fortune than one is to observe one's misfortune when the reverse is the case, and, of course, one is entirely oblivious to the envy of others.

It is just like school days all over again and very jolly it is too - for the time being!

NOTE: Although Lees had moved out of the #5 tent for sleeping, he was still considered a member for meals.

Shackleton came up with the "Whose" strategy for dividing meals into equal portions, and eliminating any possible favoritism, on the 1902 - 1903 polar journey he made with Captain Robert F. Scott and Edward Wilson, MD on Scott's Discovery expedition.

Recent Posts

See All

"A Pessimist"

Orde-Lees' Journal - 7 December, 1915 In Antarctic camplife the world is so small that there is not much that goes on that does not come round to one in time & so it is that I learn that Sir Ernest re

"Old Cautious"

Shackleton loved to refer to himself as "Old Cautious." No one else ever called him that but in this journal entry we catch a glimpse of his mindset - always protective of his crew. Orde-Lees' Journal

A "strange contrast"

As the days darken earlier in the northern hemisphere, we can relate to Shackleton's words in South and marvel at the extraordinary cheerfulness of the Endurance crew... "A fine aurora in the evening

bottom of page