Saturday, 14 February 2015

The Iron Bronze!

[An occasional insight into life as an expat in Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands.]

Where did January go?  :-)

A rare tree, and a luxury yacht in the harbour.
 In Stanley, we had about 20 cruise ships call in on their way to or from Antarctica.  Actually, some of the bigger ships simply sail back and forth around Cape Horn, between Buenos Aires and Valparaiso.

Antarctica, not the Falklands!
As a tour guide, I take groups of tourists around Stanley and/or to the local penguin colonies, explaining the sights that we see on the way.  A new sight in Stanley is the bust of Baroness Thatcher, unveiled by her son, Mark, on January 10th - Thatcher Day in the Falklands.  Funnily enough, I had 4 Argentinians on a tour last week, and all were very scathing of their governments' (past and present) attitude to the Falklands.
Mrs Thatcher, in bronze.
The sculpture is actually very lifelike (although I can't say I ever met Mrs  T.).   It is the work of a very talented sculptor and taxidermist, Steve Massam, who lives in Stanley.  He normally stuffs penguins and albatrosses for the local museum, so to turn his hand to such a sensitive subject was quite an accomplishment.
Summer visitors
Summer has also seen the return of our equine friends, Snow Ghost and Major, who have been wolfing down our grass.  The neigh........bouring plot (geddit?) also had a couple of horses in it and the horses were soon getting to know each other, and comparing the quality of the food.
Piling from a semi-floating barge.
In between cruise ships, work is going on to repair the public jetty in the centre of town.  This is where the tenders from cruise ships unload their precious cargo of passengers.  Sadly, the timbers are feeling the ravages of time, and new piles are being rammed into the sea-bed on the occasional "quiet" days.
Lone penguin annoyed by walker...
 Meanwhile, down at the beach, a lonely King Penguin mooched around while he got his bearings, before rejoining his friends along the coast.
The relatively good weather also saw a good turn-out of Nordic Walkers on the beach.  Although only a kilometre long, the beach usually throws up some surprises like the penguin, or dolphins, so walking there is wonderful.
Walkers not that far from Walkers Creek....
 Once a month, a group of walkers venture further afield to explore other parts of the Falklands.  This month, we drove about 60 miles south-west to Goose Green, where we parked the small convoy, and set off into a strong breeze.
Bodie Creek Bridge, most southerly suspension bridge in the world
 We walked round  the coast for about 7 miles, passing the landmark of Bodie Creek Bridge.  The bridge is unsafe now, but when it was built in the 1930's it saved a 40-mile detour when bringing sheep in to Goose Green for shearing.
Random debris from 1982 war
It was a pleasant Sunday afternoon, and meant we could meet new arrivals to the islands and pass on some accumulated knowledge, for example, where to buy bananas when there's none in the supermarkets!
Snoozebox - new accommodation in Stanley
Back in Stanley, some new additions to the skyline have appeared.  My first thought about the above building was that it might be a new prison, but on closer inspection, it seems to be a no-frills hotel for transient oil workers.  "Snoozebox" is the brand name and apparently they are often used at big events like Formula 1 races.
Stanley sunset
 But if the oil workers are lucky, they might enjoy one of the frequent stunning sunsets we experience in Stanley