17 October 2006

Stuff that’s not been done…

Well, there’s a whole bunch of stuff that’s not been written about. It’s very hard to balance when the workplace has demands which are logical in their bread-on-table-way, but sometimes irrational in their pressing nature. The most important and pressing of things that’s not been done is a decent write up of the latest adventures at Dersios, where we have been going about once a month since June and where we have been surprised again this year with what we have found.

I have picked up a new survey programme called Therion and I have slowly been transferring the survey data from Dersios over to Therion to make the survey look a little better than it has been looking in the past.

I also owe a proper write up of the Kastelorizo adventure, including the discovery of three vertical caves, two of about 10-15m, one with a surveyed depth of 60 odd which continues. For these I need to finish the survey and then write them up, the sooner the better, especially since the people at the ministry are getting frisky and are phoning me for my report – never known them to do that before! But especially since we are thinking of going back, which means that we have to ask the ministry again, and they will ask me about my report for March and then yadda yadda yadda, you know. For that I have been trying to learn Therion too. Almost there. Almost to the point where we will be able to produce a pencil-less survey (yeah so I use a biro inside the cave).

Anyway – so why the sudden guilt trips and writing splurge?

Well, like I said, things are tough in RL and when things are tough in RL you cling to dreams and dreams are stuff that you think about when you day dream and when you are on the Attiki Odos doing 130 km/h in heavy traffic but your mind is on a mountain underground. Until recently all I have thought about has been Dersios and how the rocks change colour from one part to the other and what things are like at the end of the third sump and dammit when will someone manage to reach the end of the third sump and tell us what lives there?

Recently, though, something else has gotten hold of the imagination and has started sneaking itself into my mind’s eye - somewhere en-route to work after the Kifissias ring road when all the Derios daydream is coming to a close and there it comes, the new, the unknown, the challenge that will keep me busy to get ready and for which I will probably never be physically ready for, try as I might.

There has always been this thing about superlatives – you know – there would not be much point in having them in a language if they did not captivate and motivate. My "Every Boy's Handbook" from the late seventies, just when I was proficient enough to read it, was crammed full of interesting things like semaphore and rank diacritics of uniformed soldiers and whatnot, but it also had page upon page of superlatives: the longest, the tallest, the oldest, the hottest, the coldest – superlatives fascinate boys almost as much as sergeants’ stripes and capital cities.

But to reach the superlatives, one must do a whole lot of training and spend a whole lot of money on gear and kit, and this will be difficult.

We had a first meeting of the team who will be going for it and we set a tentative date in August of next year.

I hope to write about it, as regularly as my mood will take me and as regularly as my work allows. It’s superlative for Greece at –1,208m (about four times deeper than my personal deepest), but only about place 34 on a global scale. Still, the opportunity to cross the km mark will be present, and if I am conscientious enough in my training and if I eat all my greens, maybe I too will be there with the big boys who were gathered last night at the club to begin to plan the attack.

Dreams and superlatives then, but first: work, then clearing the backlog – how very prosaic.