Sunday, 7 October 2012

"Don't eat the mushrooms!"

Living in the Falkland Islands for a couple of years.  This is just some random jottings of life here. Some fresh food can be scarce and hard to find.  Two large steaks are around £3, but a small tray of mushrooms costs over £5, so I have been gathering wild mushrooms in season, as I'd been assured by locals that there were no poisonous mushrooms on the islands......
Mushrooms - wild and free, and now with a health warning!
Well, that may have been true, but I have just heard on Falklands Radio that the Health Directorate announced that wild mushrooms should not be eaten as it's been found some are causing severe vomiting and kidney and liver failure.

Maybe some alien type of fungi had slipped though the bio-security cordon, and established itself here?  Oh well, another free food off the menu.  Back to trying to catch an Upland Goose....
Cycling to the end of the safe bit of road...Sapper Hill.
There's a Triathlon coming up in November, and it's been suggested I might do the cycling part of it (in the team event).  So, I've been getting my old touring bike out on the few miles of tarmac around Stanley, to see if I'm fit enough to enter.  The jury is out, as it will be a demanding, hilly, and probably windy, course.  I haven't cycled for a couple of years, so need to get the miles in.  From the airport to Sapper Hill is about 6 miles - and 4 miles are almost always into a strong headwind, and uphill !
But the weather is slowly improving.  So much that Air-Sea Rescue helicopters and the Falkland Islands Defence Force do a lot of training in the harbour.
Mt Tumbledown, with damaged cross.
We've also participated in a walk up Mt Tumbledown, from the west - the same direction  as the British troops attacked the Argentine positions on the slope, in the 1982 war.   It was a very tiring and tricky walk, and that was in daylight at a leisurely pace.  I can't imagine running up it in the dark with heavy equipment, and people shooting at me!   Many brave young men lost their lives there.  We stopped at the memorial to reflect on their sacrifices.  However, the wooden cross at the summit had been snapped in the wind.
A regular sight over Stanley
As mentioned previously, many marine animals and birds are now coming ashore to breed.  On a sandy beach near Stanley, we've seen pods of dolphins, seals and penguins (usually looking a bit bemused at the people walking their dogs).
Seals are more photogenic than dolphins....
There's also several bays and beaches where different species of penguins congregate, and we've been visiting them as often as possible to watch them come ashore and waddle up the slopes looking for a nesting site.
Falklands Thrush
Below is a photo of Gypsy Cove, about 3 miles from Stanley, which overlooks the broad outer harbour and where larger ships anchor and transfer fishing catches.
Spot the penguins....(centre)
Magellanic penguins have burrows in the slopes here, and are now cleaning them out and getting ready to mate.
.......newly-arrived.  Home to breed.

These penguins have a burrow with a fence round it!

Hercules low over Stanley.  Sapper Hill in distance.

Your guess is as good as mine.  Stanley garden harpoons and skull.
Meanwhile the keen gardeners are seeing their bulbs come up or their sculptures  divested of their protective winter tarpaulins....
Spring is here

Time for gnomes to earn their keep....

A group of Caribbean journalists have been in town this week.  We met them in a pub quiz in the Stanley Arms.   A bit cooler than they had expected, but the hospitality has been good.  They've published some articles on the South American news agency, MercoPress (see link above), which describes the relaxed attitude to home security, here.  

Hasta la vista, as I say in the Spanish classes



  1. Hi Peter, my those gnomes get about - I wonder
    if they could be descendants of the King of the
    Gnomes (who we call Nathaniel) in our back garden? Lovely to see the spring flowers too.

    1. Hi,.... and there is another garden called "Gnome World"! Spring is on hold today. Woke up to hail covering everything in white. Melted now, but blowing a hooly....

  2. Thre is a lovely story of a gnome disappearing from a front garden in UK and then weekly photos arriving from him posted all over the world. He was eventually returned with a suntan (bronzed) with a Hawaian shirt and straw hat. Have any of yours seen the sun?
    PS My son is called 'Nathaniel' - so watch out Sue!

  3. The sun is beating down at the moment, although that could mean a snow squall in 10 minutes!

    And good news on the cous cous front - supplies have arrived at last. I grabbed six month's supply today; no wonder there's shortages!

    Now to find some pears....