Monday, 1 April 2013

Easter Greetings from East Falklands

[This is an irregular diary of a life in the Falkland Islands.  We arrived in January 2012, and still being surprised by the islands, the people, the wildlife  and the earwigs!]

A major breakthrough in home entertainment appeared in our homes last week - the arrival of mainstream UK TV channels.  We take the signal broadcast by British Forces Broadcasting Service.  No longer do we get a single channel of popular programmes, interlaced with news from Helmand province, Afghanistan.  The downside is - adverts, programme clashes, and, possibly, a TV Licence....
Last week has seen clear skies, which have produced some wonderful sun- and moon-rises.  With the passing of the Equinox, the days here are now getting shorter, with sunset around 7pm (local time, which is now 4 hours behind British Summer Time!).   Sunrise is about 7:15, and getting later by the day.  Temperature is mid-teens (unlike the UK).
Snoozing seal
Knowing that it will soon be too dark to walk in the evening, and that much wildlife is heading away for winter, we've taken the opportunity of the recent good weather to walk on the local beaches as much as possible.   We've been lucky enough to get closeup views of a snoozing (female elephant?) seal, and a slightly lost Gentoo penguin.
Beach meeting
There's a colony of Gentoo penguins near Stanley, but that beach is mined, so close encounters there are not possible.  But, Surf Bay, where these photos were taken was de-mined about 3 years ago.  The squad of men, mostly from Zimbabwe,  who perform the de-mining are back again and clearing some minefields at the other side of Stanley.  What a job, but they do earn the gratitude of residents here.
Heading back to sea.  Flightless steamer ducks look on.  Who needs to fly?
Other unusual visitors are the cattle egrets, and I saw my first of the year this week in our garden.  It must have flown all the way from South America, at least 350 miles to the west.  Unlike local birds, these visitors tend to be difficult to get close to.....
"Egrets?  I seen a few.  But, then again, too few to mention...." (after Sinatra).
Another unusual event was a barbecue held in a friend's large garage.  Although it was sunny and reasonably warm (for the Falklands - one guy wore shorts!), it was breezy, so the grills were moved inside.
Man at work
The food was delicious, with plenty of salads to accompany the copious amount and variety of meat.
Sausages, burgers, steak, chops....
There was sufficient drink, as well........
Leg of lamb, ribs, fillet, rib-eye.....etc.
As an added bonus, we were treated to a low-flying Hercules aircraft, which 'buzzed' the airport at Stanley about 3 miles to the east, and then roared across the harbour.
Meanwhile,  the ongoing battle with earwigs was racked up a notch when we called out the man with the insecticide, who sprayed all around the outside of the house.   The earwigs arrived in the Falklands about 5 years ago in a consignment of wood, and are breeding very successfully, as they have no enemies, except Man.  Maybe we need to import some hedgehogs.....?
Low-flying Hercules

On a serious note, the local paper, Penguin News,  had a lead story of a policeman being accused of several assaults during a large disturbance in Stanley, last year.  Despite an estimated 50 people engaged in knocking lumps out of each other, after a night in the pubs, only this policeman seems to have been charged with any crime!

The Senior Magistrate believed the wrong man was in the dock, and, at the end of a two-day trial, found there was no case to answer on all 4 charges. All very odd......

Still in their burrow at Easter!  Time to migrate, guys!
Elsewhere in Penguin News, there are job adverts galore for Accountants.  So, if anyone of that persuasion is interested in working and living in a unique environment, get your CV submitted!

Easter Monday is not a Public Holiday in the Falklands, but we get other days to compensate:.... The Queen's Birthday, Peat-cutting Monday, Liberation Day....!   Enjoy Easter, wherever you are!


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