Sunday, 27 May 2012

"There's a green one and a pink one...". Little boxes.

Stanley Calling ......... continuing a look round the capital of the Falkland Islands.  We're about as far from the Equator as London, so this week we've have been enjoying fog, sleet and snow flurries, between the bright sunshine.  (Unlike London, we are only 600 miles from Antarctica, so the frozen continent has big effect on weather.  World maps never, or rarely, show the true extent of Antarctica as no-one lives there).

The Pod Gift Shop

Does anyone remember the Pete Seeger song, "Little Boxes"?  I'm sure it'll be on YouTube or whatever, but videos aren't good for my broadband allowance (20Mb per day!), so I'll leave you to find it.  Here are some low-bandwidth lyrics, though.....

"Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes 
Little boxes
Little boxes all the same
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same........"
Streamlined for gales....note modern addition of satellite dish.
Well, that song rang round my head the first time I saw the primary-coloured houses in Stanley.  Except, they don't all look the same.  Quite the opposite - it's unusual to see two similar houses.
Jubilee Villas - Queen Victoria's Jubilee!
Some cottages are built of stone, but most are made of tin, and recently well-insulated kit houses have been springing up to meet the increasing demand.
Neat garden
Next year, another 35 houses will be built by the government to house the growing population of locals and incomers.

Patriotic (or maybe wants jets to know which side he's on)
Traditionally, the plots in Stanley were long and narrow, running up and down the  hillside overlooking the harbour.  Sufficient space was needed to accommodate crops of potatoes and domestic livestock - horses, sheep, chickens - all of which can still be seen in some gardens today.
Long, narrow gardens were a feature.
Some of the gardens have evergreen hedges, to provide protection from the wind.
Summer grazing, and no need for lawn mowers, or manure.
But, with the long-standing pressure for building plots in town, some of the large, narrow plots have been subdivided once or twice. It is rare now that you see the house on the hill with a great sweep of lawn or vegetable garden in front of it.
Matching mustard
Pioneer Row
Some of the earliest houses are to be found in Pioneer Row.  Built for Chelsea Pensioners in the 1840s, they are still popular homes despite their lack of draught-proofing.  They are central, and have buildings on only one side of the road, so offering a panoramic view of the harbour.
New kit house
Conservatories are also quite common, and are home to tomato plants in the summer.
The east and west ends of Stanley have been transformed from "green field" sites since 1982, and has probably doubled in size.
New kit houses, at the east end of town.  Could be Reykjavik?
In the original central part of town, the streets are named after pioneers or explorers or sometimes shipwrecks:  Ross, Brisbane, Fitzroy, Villiers, Crozier, Shackleton, Dean, Discovery, Hebe etc.
A rare stone wall at Sulivan House, official home of Government Chief Exec.  North-facing  conservatory!
Whereas, almost all the new streets commemorate the men who helped liberate the Falklands in 1982 - Jeremy Moore Avenue, Ian McKay Close, etc, or are prominent families in the islands - Rowlands Rise, Goss Road, Pitaluga Way, Sulivan Street, and so on. [Moore was Commander of the Land Forces.  McKay was awarded a posthumous VC after attacking a machine gun on Mt Longdon].
Gilbert House, home of Legislative Assembly
Some of the buildings are now recognised as historic and may have a similar designation as in the UK, eg looked after by the National Trust, or Listed status.
old row of cottages  
Thatcher Drive with Education Dept., and tree, behind.
Liberation Memorial sunset. June 14th is Liberation Day.
Bin men cometh before a squall, as the saying goes.....
In our less-colourful suburban street, the wheelie-bins are emptied on Saturdays.  Unfortunately, last Saturday brought a gale and the street's empty bins went walkabout.  Like drunk Guardsmen, they had to be escorted back to their position on the driveway.
A&E, KEMH (King Edward Memorial Hospital)
The big blue roof of the Hospital can be seen for miles, which is quite useful if you are an Air/Sea Rescue helicopter pilot!  Although named after King Edward VII, it was rebuilt in 1987 after a serious fire which destroyed most of its wooden structure, and killed 8 people.  The hospital now has 28 beds, and a wide range of facilities.

However, if any treatment is required which is beyond the scope of the medical services on the Islands, patients are flown to Chile or the UK for further care.  There is a 1% Medical Services Tax, which all employees pay.

I'm not sure how I drifted into the subject of the hospital, but I seem to have been there a couple of times recently.  I even had a home-made curry from the 2 Pharmacists on Saturday, in one of the historic Pioneer Row cottages.  Thanks, guys.

As ever, if anyone has any questions, feel free to post them, or email me.

Hope my UK readers are not wilting under the heat, or the Jubilee celebrations...



  1. Hi Peter, yet another interesting post.

    I look forward to walking around Stanley and viewing all the different buildings and trying out the pubs and Falklands Bitter!

    Speak soon. Bx

    1. Hi Bx. Thanks. We went to a Craft Fair at Mount Pleasant Complex on Saturday, and wife of brewer said a couple of barrels of the new brew had been delivered to the Malvina House Hotel last week.

  2. Peter
    This is such an informative post. I can't help wondering if my comment on your facebook page prompted you to write this. You have really made me feel as though I have walked around Stanley and beun to understand the architecture and its origins and social reasons.

    1. Thanks, Ruth. I must have missed this when you posted it. More civic structures will be posted this week...The Prison! The pedestrian crossing!

  3. Sorry to seem an old farrt but was not Little Boxes a "Nina and Frederick" hit?

    Catching up with you finally.

    1. Yes, Lily, I think you are right. But Seeger wrote it.

      "Old farts of the World Unite!"