As you could tell from the last post, Han has finally arrived here in Stanley, which goes some way to explaining the lack of blog for the weekend so far. I do hope that those of you following have been able to occupy your weekends sufficiently. I had been skeptical as to whether Han would make it out before Christmas, knowing both how much a family Christmas means to her and also the realities of hoping to make it home for a short trip (there’s nothing like a 36-hour round flying time, available intermittently at the MoD’s whim and costing £1500 a pop to remind you that it’s not so easy to stay connected). Nevertheless, that has to be part of an adventure like this and we need to constantly remind ourselves of that.
Han’s arrival had the benefit of my already being here to make things a little more incorporated. I feel lucky to be able to use what little local knowledge I’ve picked up to be able to ease Han into the way of things here and I’ve been able to use the following sentences to help with the transition process:
“Wave at everyone as you drive past”
“Because everyone wears outdoor gear, you take you shoes off when entering most places”
“Yes, it was only £12 to top the car up”
“You don’t want to come off the road here, that’s the minefield but that’s why they’ve dug the ditches and they are working on clearing it”.
Just a tiny sample of insights available to those moving down or visiting!
In terms of itinerary, the combination of half term, fine (for the Falklands) weather and my ploy to get Han to love it here has left a pretty packed week. As you saw from the last post, Wednesday took us to Gypsy Cove,
not ten minutes’ scenic drive from where we live, to see Han’s first penguins (the Magellanics, the so-called Jackass penguin for the noise they make) but we also walked a little further around the coast, past the WWII gun to the tussock grass and found some sea lions that reside there. Being barked at and startled by sea-lions in their habitat, I thought, might be a memorable welcome but I’ll let Han make her own comment on that.
Since then, the weekend was spent taking a walk to the Cape Pembroke lighthouse and a trip out to Goose Green and Darwin settlements, 90 minutes’ drive from Stanley and site of several things besides the infamous battle (by the way, best reaction to our engagement might have to go to Frankie: “most people elope to Gretna Green, not Goose Green, typical Bailey”). This month’s Motocross race was held on a farm there, giving Han a good introduction to the lifestyle here but not seeming to help with her reluctance to see me riding a motorbike out here. As it was a dry day, I ventured my first bit of unaccompanied off-road driving to take her out to see the aforementioned Body Creek Bridge (the rather rusted, definitely not-to-be-crossed Southern-most suspension bridge in the world). It was at the end of 2 miles of off-road driving, from the tiny settlement of Goose Green that we bumped into two friendly guys from MPA and joined them for tea in Darwin House (the guest house in Darwin settlement). Such is Falklands life that, as British as it is here, the great British reserve goes out the window – people actually talk to each other. For those of you living in London, I won’t try to explain it but it’s another example of welcoming hospitality here. The good news is, the car is ace, I can drive half-decently over stuff I didn’t think possible and my car now looks like a Falklands car with visibility limited by mud. Tomorrow we’re off to Fitzroy and we’re heading to the British landing site of San Carlos later in the week so we’ll see what else the week brings us. Stay tuned!