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  • Janette Kerr Land of Ice

More or less ice and cake eating

It’s amazing how fast the ice changes in the bay. A coating of thin ice floats on the surface, giving it a white sheen, broken lumps slowly drifting in circles with the tide.

A few large ice bergs still sit near to the shore, but it’s nothing like when I first arrived, when there was more ice to be seen than sea, Further out on the horizon there’s still a lot of ice out there, difficult to tell if it’s land or just huge bergs. I’ll be travelling to Ilulisaat by boat in a week or so, and spending a few days running some workshops, so it will be an interesting ride. It will also be good to have a change of scenery. I do feel sometimes that I’m in an episode of ‘Trapped’ – without the body parts!

Been doing a few more drawings.

Found a useful table beside the dumping ground - for a while it was so warm I had to remove my jacket and gloves.

This one gets covered in snow and ice.

Easter Sunday, and the priest is ringing his bell again (second time this morning). He’s still wearing his wellies and everyday clothing so it must be another warning, but it’s going on for a long time. I can’t see many hastening to join him. In fact most days I don’t see many people out. People walk to the shop, they collect water, they see to the dogs and go out with their dogsleds on training exercises or with tourists who arrive for a day or night and then leave. When the dogs are getting ready to go there’s a lot of excited barking. Sometime I see a few children wandering about, sitting on the swings, but there are not many of them. Mainly it’s visitors who are out walking about. I wonder what it’s like here in the height of ‘summer’. I hear there are mosquitoes and more tourists, which is partly why I chose to come at this time of year.

We have a coffee party in the igloo that Roswitha has been building. A few people join us and we all squeeze into the small area and eat cakes.

It’s not getting dark until after 11pm now, and then it’s never completely dark. There’s a very full moon when I leave the main house and walk across to the other small house to go to sleep, an it's even brighter.

What do people do in their small houses all day? Passing some of them I can see the glare and flicker of the TV. I guess they just hibernate awaiting the arrival of warmer weather. The working dogs (and that is all of them) remain outside in all weathers; when it snows they curl into tight balls. Dogs are not allowed to roam free anymore and can be shot if seen wandering about, although I’ve seen a few escapees. On their long chains, they make their own Richard Long circle drawings on the snow as they walk round the area the furthest their chains will allow.

While most are taken out for dog sled training or take visitors out for a ride, some seem not to go anywhere and just lie about most of the time, which must be pretty boring for them.

Wow, just seen eight people making for the same yellow painted house; must be something going on!

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