Jubilee marked in Antarctic

TEA PARTY: Dr Alexander Kumar and colleagues marked the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in Antarctica. Photo contributed.

TEA PARTY: Dr Alexander Kumar and colleagues marked the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in Antarctica. Photo contributed.

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One of the world’s coldest and most remote Diamond Jubilee Tea Parties took place at the Concordia Research station in Antarctica.

He may be thousands of miles from home and in complete darkness but that was no reason why Dr Alexander Kumar, the only British member of the team, and his European colleagues could not join in the celebrations.

They are currently living through nearly four months of darkness, where temperatures are hovering around -70 degrees Celsius - enduring Antarctica’s winter - the world’s worst winter on offer.

Alex, originally from Whaley Bridge, said: “I was given a gift of Fortnum and Mason tea before I departed to Antarctica and have been saving it, alongside a single can of Heinz Baked Beans, for a special occasion.

“I felt it my duty to host the most extreme tea party in the world, here at Concordia Station to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. The British flag was blown around a fair bit. In such cold, the tea cup actually sticks to your lips. The tea was cold within a minute or so and frozen solid.

“My first batch of scones that I have ever made were a success - nearly all were eaten and they held it together and remained soft for long enough to eat. Here’s to the world’s fastest, coldest and most extreme tea party.

“I am so far from home, and yet events like this bring home closer. What I would give now for a long weekend back home in Whaley Bridge.”

Celebrations to mark the jubilee and two birthdays among the team included a six-course dinner prepared by the stations chef, Italian Giorgio Deidda.

For more information, follow the team’s progress at http://blogs.esa.int/concordia/ or Dr Alexander Kumar’s personal blog at: http://www.alexanderkumar.com/blog/