Monday, 15 October 2012

Marmite Scones for tea; oiled penguins from the sea!

[Continuing an occasional diary of living and working in the Falkland Islands.....]

I don't get many invitations to free food and drink, but then this week 2 arrived for the same evening!  :-(

His Excellency the Governor," requests the pleasure of the company" of my wife and I at an evening reception at Government House!!

What an honour!  We duly donned the glad rags on Wednesday, and strolled up the driveway to the large detached house which doubles as an official residence and an outpost for Foreign Office diplomats.  Inside was a throng of lucky people who had secured the honour of  being selected to this exclusive gathering.  (Only later did we discover that these receptions were held every week, and it's a mystery (to me) as to how people get invited...)
Government House, with internet connection behind.  Sky subscribers?
We mingled with passing dignitaries and yachties, teachers, dentists, military bods, and Falklanders.  We tried the delicious nibbles offered by friendly waitresses - Marmite scones are the house speciality!  But all too soon the bar was closed, and the beautiful people were moving on.  Looking for something a bit more substantial than bite-sized Marmite scones, we recalled an oil company had invited everyone (and I mean, everyone) to a presentation at the Narrows Bar, and offered free food and drink to attendees!
Meadowlark admiring our collection of dandelions.....

Wishing to learn more about the socio-economic impact of the oil industry on a tiny, remote community, (and being quite peckish), we headed to the far end of town...  The Narrows Bar is actually quite wide and long, but it faces the Narrows, the entrance to the harbour.  Sadly, though, we weren't alone in wanting to know more about the socio-economic impact of the oil industry on a tiny, remote community, and we found only a few curled sandwiches and cold pizza segments were left from the massive buffet.  :-(
Visiting yacht - Icebird.
There have a been a lot of newcomers this week.  The yacht, Icebird, moored in Stanley prior to sailing through Antarctic waters.  It has some unusual features, including heated towel rails and airconditioning!  So, if you want to visit Antarctica in a small boat, but like your creature comforts, this could be for you!
Icebird information
View from the Waterfront cafe
Also new in Stanley is the Kitchen Cafe of the Waterfront Hotel.   Not only does it have the best views in town, but some of the best savoury and sweet dishes.  Old favourites are given a new twist, so "braised duck pie" for example.  Lots of sweet and sticky things too, as you might expect.  But also many healthy salads, juices, and soups.
A small selection of cakes at the Waterfront
As I'm in training for the Stanley Triathlon (don't laugh - I'm roping in others to do the swimming and running), I avoided the sweet creations.  However, I heard on the (British Forces) radio about another tough challenge - the Ironman....   Given my experience of ironing, maybe I should give it a go?

The Mechanical Engineering Section at Camp Bastion undertook an Iron Man Challenge at the weekend. This 24hr charity challenge was raising money for 2 charities, SSAFA and Combat Stress. It was though, an Iron Man Challenge with a difference, as a team of 6 topped up the water levels, plugged in their irons, and once up to temperature, set about ironing countless items of kit. Neil Skinner spoke with one of the ‘Ironeers’, Cpl Al Marriott and event co-organiser, Sgt Lee Hind.

Some very worthy charities there, if you wish to support them.....

Another new visitor to Stanley was a rescued, oily Rockhopper penguin, Captain Bleakey.  He was found on Bleaker Island and brought in to Falklands Conservation's de-oiling facility.

After about 10 days of been washed and hand-fed a diet of succulent squid, he is ready to fly south to re-join his friends.  (Penguins cost £1 on local flights).

For more information of the work that Falklands Conservation does have a look at their website or their Facebook page. ( I'm having a problem linking to them, but it should be easy to find.)

Capn Bleakey enjoying his daily squid...
An article in the the Guardian (for which, many thanks to my kind friends who presented me with a Kindle so that I can download a daily paper!) caught my eye last week.  Six penguins in London Zoo died of malaria!  Maybe they should be left in their natural habitat?

Yet another batch of  newly-arrived creatures were the Magellanic or Jackass penguins.  Back from their winter feeding, and now cleaning out their burrows in preparation for raising a new family.
Magellanic penguin in his burrow

This was the view from that burrow!  Not bad, eh?

Lady Liz, Hercules and kite-surfers
We've managed to climb a few more hills.  Mount Harriet is about 5 miles west of Stanley, and is a steep climb of about 1,000 feet.  We were grateful for the added help from our Nordic Walking poles.  On the 11th June, 1982, Marines from 45 Commando (after walking 7 miles in darkness, through minefields) struggled to gain 600 metres in 6 hours, against dug-in Argentine defenders.  2 British, and 18 Argentine, troops were killed that night.  300 were captured.
Ascending Mt Harriet from south
We could clearly see Stanley from the summit, but the British forces had to fight for 4 more days, over several more hills, before they could reach the town and its population.
Looking east from Mt Harriet.  Stanley in distance
The memorial cairn had an ammunition box with mementoes and commendations from comrades.  The views  stretched for over 30 miles.

Convoy of Rapier Missile launchers surround our car...
On returning to our car, we found the car park occupied by a convoy of heavy military vehicles, on exercise. The Argentine government has been complaining loudly about these exercises, but the locals here still have vivid memories of the last military intervention from Argentina, and are very happy to see British troops and equipment around the islands.



  1. Love the pic of the meadowlark - I have never seen one before. Also envious of daffodils (and yummy cakes) in cafe at the Waterfront - spring appears to have arrived.

    1. Hi, I now have lots of pics of the Meadowlark. I found that they only flew away if you approached them, but if you sit still they ignore you. Yes - Spring here: lots of lambs, and garden is becoming unmanageable, but a friend has a horse with a new foal that needs feeding!

  2. Hi Peter, Yes I too love the picture of the Meadowlark - it made
    me wonder if people there feed the wild birds as we do with feeders and bird tables etc? I spend a fortune on mine!

    Also with you about penguins being in their natural habitat that
    goes for many animals I think! Sue

  3. Hi, I haven't seen many, if any, bird tables. I think the cats would have a field day with them, and they have enough "fun" with chickens and penguins....(I'm not a big cat fan, can you tell?). The meadowlarks seem to find loads of grubs, and the sparrows swarm across the dandelion field that was our lawn, so they don't seem to need extra food. The turkey vultures and gulls seem to scavenge plenty, and steal the chicken feed if they are feeling lazy!