We have come into possession of the private diary of celebrated raccoon adventurer Horatio R Raccoon. Famous for his ability to collaborate with anyone from any walk of life we felt his story would be an excellent run up to our next single, Team Player. We will share the diary entries from Horatio’s involvement in the Polar Expedition led by Scott, seeking to make the Union Jack the first flag to fly at the South Pole.
3rd January 1912
Awoke aroused and hungry. Broke fast on the last of the sprouts pickled in cider vinegar. I shall trump all day and all night but it shall be worth it. Taking advantage of Evan’s party making the return journey I added a fine sketch of my erect manhood to my letter to Lady Elisa Chobham-Chobham-Carter-Chobham with a few kind and well chosen words. She shall be delighted to receive it I have no doubt. An unsolicited sketch of a personal nature is after all what the gentler sex aspire to in every way and in some three months she will have a delightful surprise. Scott and party seem angered at my late rising however this was the final chance for a lie in and some personal care before the last big push to the pole and I was not going to carry heavy nuts over the ice plateau. The party was thus my own good self, Scott, Wilson, Oates and Edgar Evans. Bowers who believed the fifth place was his was sore troubled by my selection, but as principal financial backer it was my choice to make.
All the ponies except my blessed Bobby were shot and butchered on the ice. I ensured Bobby has double ration of oats and hay for the journey ahead and the finest woollen boots made from the spare blankets and one of Wilson’s. Oates was most frustrated that we were a party of five when all the rations and weight calculations called for a group of four. He can go on a little too much. I shall have to even the score with him on another day, but for now I have contented myself with cutting the ends off his spare socks. Let’s see how he likes cold wet toes on the hardest march on earth.
9th January 1912
The whole party, and Scott in particular very excited today. As dark fell we arrived at what they call “Shackleton’s Furthest South.” I was hoping for some kind of hotel, bar or other facility but it seems to be just another empty piece of ice blasted by endless wind. The others were outside shouting at me to get up so we could take a commemorative photograph but I need some time in the morning for personal grooming and they became angry at my tardy arrival.
The extra tent time allowed me to finish the delicious rich fruit cake wrapped in greaseproof paper I found at the bottom of the supplies boxes. Bobby is not enjoying the weather but he is fattening up nicely thanks to the oat and corn mix I liberated from supplies for him. My gloves have been bothering me so I have exchanged mine with Oates. All in all a trying yet positive day.
10th January 1912
A black flag was sighted on the horizon. Scott and Evans were distraught when they saw this. “Amundsen made it before us” they wept. Teeth were gnashed and hair was pulled. It was a little tiresome in truth. I shared the last oaty biscuit from supply box 3 with Wilson and told him my best joke about Otters and lubricants. He laughed so loud he fell over and was stared at very hard by our expedition leader who saw the biscuit crumbs in his beard. Scott was sore vexed at that point and explained that the big box of Oaty biscuits was for the return journey and on no account was Wilson to take any more food from Supply Box 3 for anything so vulgar as a snack. This made me think. Scott will be most annoyed.
I have resolved to edit the supplies list to remove the items in boxes 2 and 3 that I have been picking at whilst peckish. Had a lovely dream, about Lady Elisa Chobham-Chobham-Carter-Chobham last night. Phwoar, as they say in the colonies.
17th January 1912
Today I was roused most rudely. I had settled in for a rather nice second sleep and Scott demanded I rouse myself. It seems we have determined we are at exactly the South Pole. I pointed out, with all the evidence at my disposal, that there is on fact no pole, and therefore Scott is highly mistaken. Amundsen had left his tent and some supplies here together with a letter he hoped Scott would deliver onwards for him and a note that had Scott enraged and furious again. He really should learn to control his temper. There was a box of Kendall Mint Cake in the tent, intended as a gift no doubt. Whilst Scott raged on, I managed to pocket it for later. I absolutely hate the stuff, but of late the ration of food is barely touching the sides as it goes down, and I am a raccoon in need of sustenance. There was also a small bag of apples, which I fed to Bobby. He is managing to put on a good amount of weight during our trek, I fancy I shall be able to enter him into the Pony Club awards when we get home.
So it seems I am the first raccoon to reach the South Pole. Unless Amundsen had a raccoon in his party. Which in fairness is possible as we are excellent explorers, one and all.
20th January 1912
Weather bad today so we only marched for two hours before constructing a crude windbreak and setting up tents. The others gathered in Wilson’s tent to share the warmth of one oil heater, apparently my high sprout diet huffing is a source of some discomfort, so I have used Scott’s and between the warmth of Bobby snuggled up besides me, my warm emissions and the spare oil heater which I have cranked up to full power, it is actually quite jolly. I found the expedition logs and maps so I had fun amending the charts showing where we will meet the dog team. I really cannot stand those huskies so it will be a blessing not to have to see them and their pesky supplies and such a jolly jape. Oh how Scott will laugh back in London where I explain my clever ruse to all assembled. I have also changed the supplies log to show that Evans took all the items I have liberated from the boxes this past month. I considered Wilson who took the fall for the oaty biscuits but it really isn’t fair to mess with the same chap twice, as I learn to my cost at boarding school. Arf Arf, such jolly times.
7th Feb 1912
Mixed sort of day. Scott’s temper gets worse and worse. He claims his tent stinks of horse, which is a ridiculous assertion in the polar waste. He keeps looking at Bobby strangely. I have fashioned a rather fetching bow for Bobby’s hair using Oates’ one remaining sock.
Oates is complaining of something called frostbite and limps terribly. He is slowing us down but I keep him amused and laughingly tell him to keep up or we will leave him to die. On the plus side we are now on the long descent from the high plateau, so hopefully we will find a nice hotel soon.
Ah actually there is one thing. Scott is desperately angry that we can’t find some supply depot. He keeps looking at his charts and walking up and down and scratching his head. I do hope he will find the anecdote of how I altered the map amusing when we are all sitting besides a nice warm fire and sipping the most excellent brandy of Lord Augustus Chobham-Chobham-Carter-Chobham. Ah when I think of his darling wife, I can barely suppress a whimper.
8th Feb 1912
Scott remarked that the supplies seem quite light and resolved to check them tomorrow. I have had to use an old ruse I learned in my days at Eton. I found an outcrop of rocks, some of which seem to have some of those new-fangled fossil things and placed them in the supplies boxes to bring them back up to full weight. With luck that will do the trick. Edgar Evans is pulling the supplies sled and is grunting spectacularly so I hope I didn’t overdo it, but now Scott can forget about these silly concerns and enjoy the view. Bobby was suffering from the effort of carrying the spare oil cans, so I have emptied them, which greatly eased his passage. When I look into his big brown pony eyes I really feel like he understands me on a deep level.
9th Feb 1912
Today is a dark, dark day. Evans is no longer with us.
Scott was angry yet again last night. He had resolved to check the supplies and when he found the boxes to be almost empty except for the rather wonderful fossils I added, he checked the expedition logbook and found entries from Evans bless his heart, withdrawing food for himself. Bless him, I can get peckish and I understand the feeling all too well. Anyway there was a ruckus. A tussle. Fisticuffs. Scott battered Evans to death with a tentpole and spat on the body. After, when he had calmed, we all agreed to write in our diaries that poor Edgar Evans had fallen and died, a brave British gentleman. I found some chocolate in Evan’s pockets, which is the only way I can manage to eat that blasted mint cake. Almost finished it.
Edgar Evans fell and died a brave British gentleman with a bump on his head.
11th February 1912
Even more arguments. We are no longer a united group. I was disturbed from my morning self-affections by shouting. I had time to make a brief but perfunctory climax before rising to find Scott once more furious. It seems there was someone’s birthday this day and a fruit cake was supposed to be saved to share at this special moment. We all told Scott that he shouldn’t worry and we would all forgo our share of this missing cake, although I for one suspect Scott himself had it. In any case I have resolved to take a little extra rations tonight to compensate for this missing cake. I cannot recall whose birthday it was, I am a forgetful scamp at times. But I do seem to recall the cake was quite delicious.
10th March 1912
We gave up on the dog team today. We had been marching along what should have been their track in the hope of meeting them, but Oates’ feet are causing him some embarrassment and we make slow speed. There is an emergency supply dump off our current route and we shall divert. I am reliably informed there will be oaty biscuits there. Bravo.
We all gathered in Scott’s tent this evening. There was no food, but as I had managed to partake of the last cheese and crackers earlier my stomach was calm. Scott shared what was left of his brandy only to discover that some absolute oaf had drunk it and replaced it with cold tea. A terrible trick I learned at Oxford. I do like a good nip of the brandy.
An otherwise pleasant evening was spoiled when Oates removed his boots and we saw the state of his feet. I must admit I lost the contents of my stomach all over Wilson at the sight of the blackened toes, and he in turn dry heaved for minutes thereafter. Scott wrapped the feet in bandages and said some kind words. He seems now somewhat resigned and less angry which is a blessing.
I gave Bobby an extra special cuddle later.
16th March 1912
Oates has been a real problem these past two days. He limps and curses, and plainly is slowing us all down. When I suggested a game of snow-cricket but asked not to be in his team he was really vexed. We did play in the end and myself and Wilson beat Scott and Oates by an innings.
At supper, which consisted of three boiled beans made into soup (which I secretly supplemented with a fine piece of dried beef which was tough but tasty) Oates was about to remove his bandages. I told him in no uncertain terms he should do that outside the tent. “Fuck right off with your pestilent feet” I said. Oates was very good about it and told us he may be some time. Well obviously he will. He has been gone a while, but it does make a bit more room without him.
20th March 1912
I finally had to put my foot down. The others are struggling to keep up with Bobby and rarely speak. It lightly snowed today and I resolved that we should stop.
Scott protested that we were but 11 miles from more supplies but I told him in no uncertain terms that Bobby and I would not march in snow. We made a better camp and will wait here until the snow passes. I have actually found some rather nice snacks in one of the old backpacks, which I have put to one side as we all share the bean soup collectively which they all seem to enjoy but Bobby and I need something more substantial to keep the hunger at bay!
29th March 1912
Scott wrote and wrote in his diary and composed letters late into the night last night. Wilson just lay in his cot and cried and then fell silent. Eventually Scott put down his pen and slumped in a most indecorous manner by the heater, which at that point was out of fuel anyway. I gave myself full personal attention for two hours whilst remembering my last tryst with Lady Elisa Chobham-Chobham-Carter-Chobham and achieved a most satisfactory conclusion, but by then I was ready to make the march with my darling Bobby. As Scott and Wilson refused to leave their places, I determined to strike out for the coast. Bobby and I will march due North to the rendezvous and Scott and Wilson with their stinky bean soup can just catch us later. Lazybones. This whole polar adventure thing truly is most tiresome. We shall find this supply dump and dine well this very night.
Horatio R Raccoon’s presentation on his polar expedition was suppressed by the British Geographical Society for many years as being unseemly, unpatriotic and not aligned with the accepted narrative. He lived on for a long and happy life with Bobby in a cottage in Kent where he cultivated opium and was the favoured lover of many Ladies of great repute. He served with distinction on both sides in the Great War and wrote several volumes of memoirs, which we may unearth for you one day.
If you enjoy the writing, you can find more by following @souladvocatefiction, artwork is by @addermyre
Horatio Raccoon’s diary inspired us to write our next single “TEAM PLAYER.” It drops on Saturday 25th June. You can pre-save it now. Link in bio.
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