Friday, 30 March 2012

2 months gone

Doesn't time fly?!!  That's 2 months we've been here and it's gone by in a blink of an eye!

Loads of new experiences - Wildlife -

Turkey Vulture.  No longer persecuted, much.

Whales, Penguins, Turkey Vultures, Elephant seals, Sea lions, Steamer Ducks, Dolphins, etc etc. Incredible! Saw a hare last week, and it seemed quite alien.  (It stayed out of good camera range but if anyone wants to see a photo of a brown furry object in the distance, let me know...)

New Experiences - Financial

Your lupins or your life!

Being a customer of First Direct in the UK, I had hardly been in a bank in 20 years and had written less than 10 cheques in that time.  Now, I've gone through 2 chequebooks, and am starting my third!

Online banking? Not  yet.  Telephone banking?  No demand - face to face, please.  The nearest ATM is in Chile!  I don't even have a debit card.  The upside is we try to live within our means, and avoid credit.  Strange feeling.

New experiences - Food

Many Stanley houses use livestock to keep the grass down in summer

Perhaps as a consequence of living with our means, I've started an interest in baking, which I never had before.  (When eggs are in the shops....) I now produce bread, gingerbread, scones, flapjacks, Anzac biscuits.... with varying degrees of success.  I've still to try pizzas and flans, but the carrot and walnut cake is popular.  (I'm  trying not to eat all this stuff for obvious reasons - but it's quite easy to give away).

Now with more time available, food like steam puddings can be easily created.   Meat is fresh and cheap, so our favourite slow roasts are a doddle.  Eating out is fairly limited, but we've enjoyed some good meals in local restaurants (both of them).  Am looking forward to a "Friday Special" Madras curry in the Stanley Arms.  Friends and neighbours have also broadened our culinary expectations.

At a BBQ last night, I had squid parcels on cocktail sticks.  Now, I wouldn't have tried that in the UK, or Patagonian Toothfish!  Mmmmm!
Looking north from kitchen.  
- Work -

My wife is the breadwinner -  (I'm the breadmaker), although I have been known to earn a crust working on the launches in the harbour.  This is seasonal, and the summer (November to March) is far, far busier with cruise ships and fishing boats than the winter.  I've also dabbled in Nature Walks, which I hope to continue next season.

I also intend teaching Nordic Walking here but I have had minor issues and delays getting insurance cover.  I think this is about to be overcome, after I met the insurance supremo  (who is based in Antigua) on a whale-watching trip recently!  By the way, the insurance guy was from Strathaven, a few miles on the road to Edinburgh from where I was born.....  These Scots, eh?  Get bloody everywhere.

I'm also about to help Falklands Conservation  ( ) in surveying plant regeneration in former minefields.  I was talking to some other Volunteers at the BBQ who had re-planted the returned ground a couple of years ago, and  heard how every time a spade hit something solid everyone threw themselves to the ground!  No worries, then.

No prizes for guessing the nationality of the owner!

- Culture -
Well, we have tickets for the Falklands Islands Operatic and Dramatic Association's production of  "At the Musicals" tonight!! I will report back on how it compares with previous musical nights.

I don't subscribe to the local TV service, but I notice I could buy its weekly output on DVD if I wanted to catch up on the latest local news, darts league results, and sheep auctions.  I'm surprised the BBC doesn't offer a weekly DVD of its programmes.  It would save all that faffing about connecting to the Internet and having to upgrade to the latest Virgin Media/BT/ Sky  100 squillion megabytes service to your iphone.

Not that we have such problems here.  Cable & Wireless protect us from the juicier parts of the World Wide Web like YouTube, by the simple expedient of rationing bandwidth. So, I'm sorry I haven't posted a video tour of our new home.  You'll just have to use your imagination or come out and see it!

The Sun and Planets (to scale)
Whoops - I seemed to have veered off into a rant.  We do get a good local radio station and an excellent local rag - Penguin News.   We also receive the eclectic BFBS (for British Forces abroad) TV which has familiar items like the weather - but only covering Aldershot, Paderborn, Cyprus, Afghanistan and the Falklands!

It also has the strange scheduling of most programmes, broadcasting 3 hours behind their live showing on UK screens (as we are, or were, 3 hours behind the UK).   This is fine for, say, Breakfast TV, as then we, and the troops down the road, can tune in to their favourite sofa personalities while they munch the Corn Flakes, and before heading off to defend the islands.

It also means that popular football or rugby matches are delayed till about 5pm at weekends, making sure that the Army personnel don't phone in sick while on duty.   Life then becomes like a famous episode of the  "Likely Lads" sitcom, where the protagonists try to avoid hearing the result of a local derby, before watching the recorded highlights.
Chez nous, with neighbour's unobtrusive TV dish.
 Not the most colourful house in Stanley....
So, when Wales were winning  their way to a Grand Slam, it was important to avoid bumping into beaming Welsh supporters (who seemed to grow in number as the season progressed...), otherwise you knew instantly  Scotland had lost again.  Well, we live in hope...
Horses on the common, with Internet and phone link behind 
 We are actually 4 hours behind the UK now, after the recent clock change (or non-change if you live in the Falklands).  The Executive Council decided not to change the clocks this year, but then discovered a petition objecting to this, with 250 names, that had been submitted and ignored by somebody (not them).  So in the upcoming census, a question will be included along the lines of  "Do you want to change the clocks in Spring and Autumn?".   Although you may receive news about the Falklands from time to time, I thought that this might have slipped beneath the radar.
"Flymo" the sheep.
Talking of "slipping under the radar" leads me on to the ceremony on Sunday to commemorate 30 years since the calling up of the Falkland Islands Defence Force - the local militia, which was mostly for ceremonial purposes.  This weekend, 30 years ago, rumours were circulating that Argentina forces were about to invade, and so the local Customs official, bank clerks, farmers, mechanics, teachers and so on got into uniform and waited to see what would happen....
One of many.
... The rest is history. Let's hope it's not repeated.

I will touch on the conflict in coming weeks, as the consequences from it is still dominating life here.

Anyway, off to the Opera.  Tickets £5, and within walking distance, so no need for petrol.....



  1. Keep it coming Peter. You will be putting out recipes next and with that lovely Greenhouse how about some gardening hints on tomatoes and squashes? I can just imagine a Stanley Gardener's World with Percy Grower.
    Final Opera question. Do Penguins sing?

    1. Thanks, Lily. The greenhouse is a tad embarrassing, as we arrived just as it was too late to plant anything. Could work as a sauna, but we are overlooked!

      Penguins bray, call, vocalise, but don't sing. I will try to load a video from South Georgia which captures the noise of 100,000 penguins....

  2. When I was a young mum with three kids I wanted to live on Sark and do the ultimate 'get away from it all'. Now with five grown up kids, grandchildren, and ill health, I want to join you and the penguins and get back to real life on the Falklands - the ultimate experience!
    PS Look at my 'no knead' bread blog (Mark Bittman recipe on UTube) - it works well every time - especially for the lazy or penquin watchers!.
    Missing the opera already!

  3. Hi and Thanks, Annabelle. YouTube vids still an issue here. I even had trouble with a Skype call tonight. So I tend to rely on text rather than video - Deliaonline, and Hugh Fearnley-Whit... (who was recently in South Atlantic - expect a TV series soon). I find Delia's no-knead loaf is good, and just tried HF-W's sourdough loaf which was great (for a 1st attempt).

    I know it is not easy to get here, but if you, or anyone, wants to visit, I am happy to try and help.