On Thursday we go icehole fishing. This involves making holes in a metre of lake ice with a hand drill as big as me.
Mel makes a hole. Mike makes a hole. I wind the handle for what seems like hours, leaning my entire bodyweight on the drill, sticky with sweat despite the elements, convinced that the bit is simply skittering on the surface without making inroads. I am obstinately determined to make this damn hole all by myself, but I'm within an ace of handing the operation over to someone with a smidgen of competence and upper body strength when I break through to applause from my companions.
Melanie wants nothing more than to catch and kill a fish; there is little I want less, but I'm perfectly happy to sit digging the scenery with my iPod on. So there I am, on a reindeer skin, in the middle of a frozen lake, dangling a piece of salami through a hole in the ice for fish who wisely and thankfully are having none of it, and listening to Automatic for the People. It's very contemplative. Nobody catches anything.
While I'm not looking, my coffee freezes.
We go straight from the lake to a last quickie mush. I cling greedily to every scrap of sensation - the feel of the snow shifting under the runners, the dogs' tongues flapping, the sting of a low-hanging twig across my face. It's a tropical -2 degrees and the huskies are hot; whenever we halt, they plunge their faces into the soft snow and come up white-whiskered. Michael overturns his sled, commendably doesn't let go and rights himself while being dragged along. I commendably stop in time to avoid running him over.
Back at the lodge, Lotte announces that she's off to feed the dogs, "but I think you have no more power!" I jump up, assuring her that I have power, but am ordered to eat first. So the far more deserving dogs have to wait for their tea while I construct and bolt a cheese and jam sandwich. By this stage I've pretty much turned into a husky myself: I just want to be up and doing, then eat massively, then flake out, then do it all again. I probably smell like one too, having packed minimally.
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