Paperback: 250 pages

Publisher: Eye Books; 2 edition (23 Aug. 2010)

ISBN-13: 978-1903070741

Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 19 cm

Frigid Women

Sue & Victoria Riches

£7.99

“Adventure, travelling, strong women: a fascinating book.”

In 1997, a group of twenty women set out to become the world’s first all female expedition to the North Pole. Sue and Victoria were surprised to find themselves amongst them. En route to the most isolated and forbidding regions of the globe and facing the bitterest hardships, both were seeking a new beginning. For Sue these were the first steps following treatment for breast cancer. For Victoria, abandoning the security of her career was the sole way to test her self-belief. This is mother and daughter, Sue and Victoria’s personal account of their trials and survival in the Arctic. Honest, shocking, but never too serious, Frigid Women is a celebration of the positive, ‘anything is possible’ attitude which can transform life’s tribulations into its most rewarding experiences.

Extracts

Without cancer it is very unlikely that I would have gone on the expedition. So out of evil comes good. It makes life much more fun always to have a goal. You are never too old to want to achieve something else, however tiny an aim it is. All I had to do was to get on with life with an immensely heightened awareness of the world around me, from flowers, skies, clouds, mountains to friends and family.

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Extracts

Without cancer it is very unlikely that I would have gone on the expedition. So out of evil comes good. It makes life much more fun always to have a goal. You are never too old to want to achieve something else, however tiny an aim it is. All I had to do was to get on with life with an immensely heightened awareness of the world around me, from flowers, skies, clouds, mountains to friends and family.

The next ordeal was the abseil. Something I had always wanted to do, but had never had the opportunity. It was one of the most exciting parts of the whole weekend. Imagine throwing yourself off a cliff when you cannot see the bottom. It was totally dark with a few stars twinkling. You step up to the edge of the cliff not knowing what is below you, attach the safety harness and launch yourself over the edge. The initial step is terrifying, but the thrill was wonderful. You have got to trust the person holding the rope at the top. Eventually all the teams got to the bottom, but no one knew what to do next. Part of the testing, we thought. Did we have time to eat something, or even light our stoves and cook, or should we just wait for orders?

What a day! It started off as a normal Arctic day, a very flat light and weak sun. We had floated six miles during the night and had a four and a half mile drift east. It was rather a misty sort of day, the sun eventually just about disappeared, but because of the lack of sun the ice appears bluer with a diffused light. There were rubble pans, then some semi-frozen leads, all right to cross quickly, but the ice was soft. After about five hours we came to more and more open water, which caused a sea mist to form because the sea is warmer than the air, about –2°C. Matty crossed a frozen lead, it was softish ice, but OK to cross. A sort of solid slush, a kind of jumble of ice chunks held together by the ice floes on each side, both of which were fairly large. Very much the kind of frozen lead that we had crossed countless times before without a second thought.

We all have a new sense of wonder now, realising the sheer power of nature. I certainly felt different, and looked down on the Arctic ice realising what we had done; not much compared to some expeditions, but we were very ordinary people, and I think that we showed others that you can have a dream – and achieve it. The strange thing was that however hostile the landscape, however frightening the events, however alien man is here, we did not feel threatened. We did not feel that the Arctic was against us, or at least more against us than anything else, considering this was not man’s natural environment.

quotes

Provocative title and foreword by Dawn French, is there substance beyond the PR? The answer is undoubtedly yes!

The Independent

This story is a fantastic celebration of adventure, courage, friendship and love. Enjoy it all you would be adventurers! Dawn French

“This books captures the essence of Arctic travel.” 

David Hempleman-Adams

reviews

I was surprised at how good this book was, as I just found it in a book bin at Montecito. I know nothing about the North Pole and was surprised to learn about trekking there. Written in diary format (not my favorite), switching between mother and daughter, was actually pretty smooth. I thought it would have been jerky, but it worked well. Very inspirational. And while I will not be doing an expedition like this anytime soon, especially with mom, I enjoyed reading about it.

A really good fun read, with the narrative alternating between mother and daughter. I enjoyed seeing their contrasting perspectives on a ground- (ice-?) breaking relay trek to the North Pole. Written in a chatty rather than a literary style, the pages turn easily and you get a real feel for the mundanities as well as the glories of Arctic exploration.

extras

Arctic - Women's polar expedition

 

ABOUT

Sue & Victoria Riches

Sue was born in January 1946. Following school and a year in Paris she did a bilingual secretarial course, after which she worked in London for six months as a very inefficient secretary! In 1967, she married Jeremy, a solicitor, and had three children, Victoria, Philip, and Edward. Sue started up a catering business in the early eighties and catered for weddings, 21st’s and business lunches for nearly twenty years. However, she decided to change her career having had breast cancer and a mastectomy, so did a TEFL course and started teaching English to foreign business men both at Berlitz and at home; two weeks of lessons, gastronomic food and culture, (which of course includes visiting local pubs!). Sue is now book writing, lecturing to a huge variety of people – there are not many women on the after dinner circuit. She also lectures on cruise ships, a good way of seeing the world and meeting some fascinating people. At the moment, she is in the final stages of an Open University degree, six years of hard slog! At the same time, she is looking for something exciting to do next!

Victoria born in September 1970 – she was head girl at her school and was the first girl there to achieve the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award. After leaving school, she taught in Canada for one year, and then went to Newcastle University where she achieved a 2:1 degree in Politics and History. This was followed by a short spell as a trainee manager at Marks and Spencer plc, and three years as a recruitment consultant for Angela Mortimer plc in London. Following the North Pole expedition, she left London and completed a post-graduate degree in education. Victoria is now married and lives near Bath, her work is very varied; part time primary school teacher, public speaking coach, a trainer running personal development & team building courses and a motivational & after dinner speaker! She is also on the Black Country board of the Prince’s Trust and a governor of St Mary’s School, Wantage. When not working, she spends her time doing anything active whether it is competing in the London Marathon, skiing, gardening, riding or walking her dogs.

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