It’s 7am on Saturday, 24th November. I’m checking my emails before heading out of the door to meet Ian Prickett and Brian Newham at the warehouse for 9am. The cabooses and sledges are arranged in a train down the centre of the massive space. The rain drips from the cracks in the roof as is hammers down outside.

No breaks and no tea for the first 5 hours. I crack on with building the science sledge platforms ready to store equipment whilst Ian and Brian work on wiring the lights up in the accommodation caboose. I mischievously change the radio station to Radio 4. I couldn’t stand the repeated tracks of the commercial stations. The guys only notice once the generator cuts out.

After making a jig (Alan Marsh, you would be proud) I mark and punch the steel on the sledge before drilling the first hole. The pressure of making a hole in an extremely valuable sledge means that I end up measuring and re-measuring it several times. Once you’ve done one, the next 30 aren’t as nerve-racking, they just become tiresome as the drill slowly becomes less keen and dulls against the thick plate.

I stop for some Pringles and a handful of honey roast cashews at 2pm. Next I fit the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors for a bit of light relief then get back to it. Lugging the 50x200x4200 boards into position is the next task.  Once this is done and I’ve hammered the last coach bolt in place, Ian comes over to grab a socket. We quip about doubling the number. Of bolts? No chance!

At 5pm I make some calls and check emails again. My eyes are tired and I’m starving. Ian and Brian are hungry too, we open a packet of Waitrose shortbread. Dinner. Can’t wait for the ship to get here next week.

The three of us continue to work tirelessly to finish building the equipment and keep this project together. I wish there were more hands on deck. Next week could be worse…