Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Post-Olympic Post & Gold Post Boxes for Mo!

Well, that was exciting, wasn't it?  The Olympics, obviously.  Even 8,000 miles away and watching the BBC coverage 4 hours after the live event, it was still gripping stuff.  "Go, Mo, GO!".  Watching Denise Lewis and Michael Johnson didn't have to be live....

Our household (I'm Scottish; my wife is from Yorkshire) got quite engrossed - checking the medal table on a regular basis to see how Scotland and Yorkshire were doing against bigger competition....   ( It seems the Scottish National Party's plans for Scottish independence have suffered a big setback, what with every Scottish gold medal-winning hero being draped in the Union flag and lustily singing "God Save the Queen"!   Sir Chris Hoy  - "I'm Scottish AND British!".  Andy Murray - no longer the grumpy Scottish nearly-man!  A British hero!)

And where we lived in London, Teddington, has been for years the home from home for some amazing athletes.  There's a top Sports Management company based there, and years ago, they rented a house for "their" Kenyan runners, who used Bushy Park, my old stomping ground, for training during the European summer season.
About 5 years ago, another client called Mo, joined the Kenyans, and trained hard and regularly around Bushy Park.   I wonder what happened to him?

I see from this good Teddington news site that  a shop has been named after him, and a couple of post boxes have been painted gold!  What a star!   (The shop is really "FARA" - a charity for Romanian orphans - but it's provided a great photo!)


If I was still in Teddington, I would probably have had my photo taken in front of the post box.   Choosing the BBC Sports Personality of the Year is going to be difficult this year.....Oh, and Usain Bolt also uses the same Management Company.  He said last year that he liked going for a Chinese meal in Teddington, as no-one recognised him!  Wonder if that will work, now?

Meanwhile, back in sunny Stanley in the Falklands Islands, sporting life goes on here, too.  We did a 10km walk over rough ground and only took about 3 hours longer than Mo Farah did the distance!

It started at the wind turbines, about 5 miles outside Stanley, just past the quarry and the abattoir!  The turbines are huge and a major landmark on the treeless peat bog landscape.  (The quarry and abattoir are rather tucked away and not very noticeable to the visitor!)   If there was a cable long enough, and we were on speaking  terms with our neighbours,  I'm fairly sure the Falklands could export power from this source, given the amount of wind we receive!
Giant Mercedes-sponsored works of art.....
Easy to find the cars at the end!
 As you can see, it was a bit of a grey day, but most of the route was alongside a sea inlet, and almost immediately, we saw some camera-shy dolphins.
Rock Shags, on a rock.
After that, we caught sight of several sea and shore birds, some of which are endemic to the Falklands. 

Two (2) Two-banded Plovers
And, as most birds have no fear of Man or photographers, they blithely ignored us as we puffed past. 
Blackish Oystercatchers, posing before the synchronised diving event.  "Oooh, doesn't that wind ruffle your tail-feathers??!"
Continuing along the pathless coast, we stumbled over the native hardy plants, such as Balsam Bog.  It's strange to think that no people or animals had ever walked on these islands until a couple of centuries ago. 
Nordic Walkers to the fore!
 One resource the Falkands has lots of is peat, although with the discovery of oil offshore, I can't see its consumption increasing much.  Cutting it is hard work, although this cutting we found had been done by a machine.
A very long, and neat, peat cutting
Near the end of the walk, we passed a lovely, still heron, or "Quark" as it's known locally.  Can you guess what its call sounds like? 
A juvenile black-crowned night heron, or Quark
We had parked a car at the end of the walk, and the first 4 walkers to finish drove back to where the rest of the cars had been left below the wind turbines, about 4 miles away as the petrel flies.  They then drove all the cars back to the finish and the waiting walkers.   This works really well in the Falklands as almost everyone leaves their keys in the car, so it didn't matter who finishes first!
Rock shags, on a rock
After that invigorating walk, we popped into the supermarkets in Stanley to see what the latest flights had delivered.  Butter and cheese have been in short supply recently.    So much so, that a local pizza business, Mama Sue's, had to close for a couple of weeks until more supplies of Mozzarella arrived!

Maybe someone is hoarding it, but I heard a rumour that a container full of cheese had mistakenly been offloaded en route at another port.  Customs officials recently opened a container to be greeted by a rather pungent odour of cheese well past its "Use By" date!

There's also been the unfortunate delay in new pairs of spectacles.  About 250 pairs of prescription glasses had been ordered for Islanders after the annual visit of the optician.  However, for reasons unknown, this order has been shipped by sea, and not as air freight.

Hopefully, people will still be able to find their way around while they wait for the specs to arrive.

For those of you who may be interested, a leek (grown locally) cost me £2.57 in the shop today.  Cheaper than a pepper, but still takes a bit of getting used to.   Looks like the leek and potato soup will be mainly potato....

More foodie news soon, as I dig out the photos of potatoes in Bolivia!


Happy Falklands Day


  1. Glad to see you posting again - very enjoyable -the previous post too! The pic of the oystercatchers is wonderful.
    Sorry you missed the Olympic cycling around your old home - it was exciting to see close up and the whole area really got into festival mood.

    1. Hi, Birding is easy here! Yes - we would have loved to have been in Bushy Park then. I'd even stood at the Diana Fountain during the rehearsal last year, to check the best places for watching. We don't know what the future holds! (well, I don't!)

  2. Welcome back Peter. Interesting to read about Mo training in
    Bushy Park and also Usain dining locally! Carolyn and I saw
    Chinese atheletes training in the Park on one of our walks
    there. We thoroughly enjoyed the cycle racing in the area and
    made the most of cheering them on! Sue

    1. Hi Sue, yes, I've probably stood behind Mo at the checkout in Tescos, but assumed he was a Kenyan, as they were always wandering around in their running gear. Mo and his wife also took part once or twice in the Saturday Parkrun in Bushy. Hundreds of people can honestly claim that they finished ahead of him!
      Teddington and St Mary's now becoming a world centre for athletics!

  3. With the next Olympics being in Brazil, I would like to see the Falklands do what is necessary to be represented.

  4. What is necessary is to declare independence; cut ties with the UK; hire an army (and possibly a navy); and develop some Olympic-standard athletes. A tall order in 4 years! :-). But maybe with the oil money it will happen.

    I don't think the IOC recognises the Falklands. I saw some Overseas Territories, like the Falklands, competed under GB auspices at London.