Scales from One to Ten May 26 2015

There’s not much happening in Antartica this time of year.

For penguins, its likely to be fishing and maybe more fishing.

It's winter down there, very dark and Christmas is still a long way off.

So I called up Percy the penguin.

"Ring ring" went the telephone. "Ring ring, ring ring." It was an old fashioned telephone. I waited and waited. I waited some more.

Eventually a squeaky little voice came on the blower.

"Hello, Ice Cube Island here, Parker the penguin speaking, how may I direct your call?"
"Hello" I said. "Its Richard from Sophie Morrell in England, can I speak to Percy please?"

The line was very bad and crackly and there was the sound of wind and hail in the background.

"Which Percy?" said Parker in a rather cross voice. "There are lots of penguins here with that name."

"Ermm Percy...he's black and white" I added hastily.

"WE ALL ARE!" said Parker, he was not amused.

"Percy...the one who is on the back of our cards" I added. "He did a bit of male modelling for us about a year ago....er... we paid him in fish."

"Oh yes!" said the squeaky voice. "That Percy! Hang on a minute I will go and find him for you."

I waited and waited and waited. I waited some more.
I could hear the wind and hail in the background again and lots of penguin noises.
Was this what it was like being put on hold at the penguin call centre?

Eventually a little voice came on the line. "This is Percy!" said a voice, slightly out of breath.
"Percy I hope you are well." I said.

I then said. "Seeing as there isn’t too much to do at present, do you think I could ask you a little favour?"
"Of course!" said Percy, "Anything to earn a few more extra fish for supper."
"Well what we need is for you and your friends to carve some ice sculptures in the shape of numbers."

There was a long silence on the other end and I could hear the wind blowing again.
"Percy,are you still there?" I asked.

Percy answered. "Err....yes, but that's rather a tall order. Lots of fish I think!"

"I know." I replied." But we need some card designs with numbers on. The numbers need to go from one to ten so they will be good for birthdays.
Especially for boys and girls and maybe other anniversaries too.
The thing is Percy, penguins are really in at the moment. You know that of course as your face along with all your friends have been on lots of our cards last Christmas.
And all the little children love the Frozen film so much, we thought they might like to see some penguins."

Suddenly there was lots of loud squeaking and squawking and I then heard Percy telling everyone to pipe down.
"Oh sorry about that." said Percy. "Parker was listening in and then he spread the word and all the rest of the team got very excited."

"Okay, so you'll do it!" I said. "Well you’ve got lots of pick axes, saws and chisels there, so please can you get to work on the numbers asap.
When you are done please get Pheobe the photo-penguin to line up all the Ice Cubes team and take some photos of the numbers.
Then mail them over to us on the next steamer with a very large stamp and we’ll print them into cards.
In return I will send you a crate of Captain Birdseye fish fingers."

"Deal!" said Percy and hung up.

It must have taken them quite a few weeks to finish the numbers.
Pheobe took all the pictures and eventually I received them all, slightly damp and soggy, but intact.
We printed them up and here are the first batch of cards with the Ice Cubes penguins all lined up.

I am very pleased with their efforts and have bought up all the frozen fish fingers in the supermarkets. But there aren't enough.

So I have taken up fishing, to make up the numbers.