Page 233. " I dialled "

 

Phoning home
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumPhoning home - Credit: Patrick Woodhead

 

 

Page 237. " Many expeditions traditionally conclude in death. "

Scott and all his companions died in a desolate blizzard only miles from a cache of food and safety. As Ruth Mallory quoted about her husband George, “I know George did not mean to be killed; he meant not to be so hard....”.

Page 237. " had ended so emphatically in life "

Lily and her dad
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumLily and her dad - Credit: Lyndsey Young

Page 243. " and tell them that a flag with their own son’s name on it was at the South Pole "

 

Alex Roberts-Miller Foundation Flag at the South Pole
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumAlex Roberts-Miller Foundation Flag at the South Pole - Credit: Paul Landry

 

 

Page 244. " Veni, vidi, vici "

A phrase said to have been written by Julius Caesar after a short, successful war in Turkey: I came, I saw, I conquered.

Page 246. " systolic up-rush (or the diastolic slump) "

This line links to the preceding sentence; “This adventure was just one of those scratchy heartbeats on the line of my life.” Systolic and diastolic refers to the pressure of the suction in, and the pumping out, of the flow of blood in the heart. The image links the jagged shape of a heart monitor to the peaks and troughs of a mountain range and hence suggests by contrast that life on the plane, devoid of risk, is approximate to flat-lining.

Page 247. " being a form of escapism, it is essentially futile "

The futility of escapism is beautifully described in Robert Frost’s poem Escapist – Never:

His life is a pursuit of a pursuit forever
It is in the future that he creates his present
All is an interminable chain of longing.

Page 249. " I threw away the map I was holding "

One of the working titles for the book was Life Without a Map. Other working titles included The Ninth Circle (p156); The Iceman Cometh (p54); A Penguin’s Egg (p247) and The White Road (p243).