Sunrise/sunset: 11:03/ 12:07. Daylength: 1hr 4min

I was intending to take Triar out on Senja in the hour of full daylight we had today, but overnight there has been a thaw and the driveway is a sheet of ice. I walked him locally instead. We are lucky to have some pathways winding up and down the hillside near the apartment and now he’s snuggling on the sofa beside me. This week at work involved some memorable days, the most interesting of which was an emergency exercise, during which we practiced putting on and taking off PPE without contaminating ourselves.

I had an early start to the day. Thomas had explained the plan on Monday afternoon and I had offered to come in early on Tuesday morning to clear the snow and ice off the Mitsubishi. The exercise was to begin at nine and colleagues were coming over from two other centres, so it was important that everything ran smoothly.

Standing outside in -6°C, stretching over the roof of the SUV to break up chunks of icy snow, I found myself musing over the wonderful fact that I was being paid to do this. It’s certainly not what I envisaged when I applied to university back in 1986.

By the time I was halfway through, the sky was beginning to brighten. Though it barely comes over the horizon now, it does take its time going up and down. Stopping work for a moment, I strolled across the few feet of tarmac that separate the parking space from the little harbour beside it and took a photo.

By now, the car was almost clear, but there was still a lot of loose snow on the roof. I decided to take it for a short drive to try to lose some of it, but it wasn’t very successful. I arrived back to find a rather panicky Thomas, who had arrived at eight and was wondering where the car and I had got to. Fortunately, he knew how to get the remaining snow off. Pulling out a broom, he removed it in a couple of sweeps. He parked it close to the emergency door of the loading bay and then we were good to go.

The first part of the morning was spent packing the car with the emergency kit, ensuring there were clean and dirty zones.

Once the car was packed, two people had to practice getting into the PPE. This included two body suits, wellington boots with plastic covers, two pairs of gloves, one of which had to be taped on, and a face mask and goggles. Thomas and I were the chosen ones and within half an hour or so of wobbling on one foot and bending and tugging, we were finally cleared… to take it all off again!

Though it was hot inside the suits, I enjoyed the exercise and it served a useful purpose. Part of our job is being ready to tackle serious health problems if they occur. If, for example, there was an outbreak of avian influenza, or coronavirus in mink, it would be our job to go out and deal with it. It helps to have gone through at least some of the processes in advance. And it also helps highlight problems that might crop up. I had already realised that mobile phones with FaceID are useless when you’re wearing a mask. With those thick gloves on, we had no chance of getting the touchscreen to work, even if the phone hadn’t been encased in a plastic bag. These are considerations that are better dealt with now than when you’re out in the middle of nowhere on a farm that you’ve taped off to stop anyone getting in.

All in all, it was a good day.

And to round off the post, here’s my favourite picture from this week. There’s snow on the ground, the crane down at the dock is lit up like a Christmas tree and the town is filled with light. To top it all off, on Wednesday, the northern lights put in an appearance. My heart was singing.

3 thoughts on “Exercise

  1. Intriguing and Relieving piece!
    Beautiful tapestry of literally weave.
    The sound of the NORTHERN LIGHTS invokes something in me.
    Maybe it is because I am a northerner.
    But what an insightful piece.

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