One of the things we didn’t consider when moving down was the diet. The difficult diplomatic relationship with Argentina means that the airspace, and therefore flights into Stanley from South America, can be precious. Combined with the local produce and the packaged goods that can be shipped in, this has the effect of driving some food prices to a bizarre level. Going shopping for the first time does give you a bit of a shock as things that you would normally get cheaply in the UK (like a lettuce or some tomatoes) tend to be triple UK prices.
Having said that, what it costs in food is more than made up for in the lower tax rates, the diesel being 45p per litre, the lack of council tax, TV license and water rates. There is an abattoir on the Islands and there is a lot of local lamb and beef available, so you end up in the bizarre situation that a steak or cut of lamb will cost you less than the lettuce to go on the side of it. Also, fresh fruit isn’t easily available so the simple things become complicated – like the small print on the Banana Split in the cafe It was a treat, then, to be surprised by Bailey with my first peach since arriving.
I was also very happy to find a bit of home comfort when walking around the shops.
Speaking of food, we also took delivery of two hens to keep us going with eggs and a Merino lamb called Milo (only kidding, he’s not for food; we just don’t have a lawnmower and sheep are easier to get hold of).
This is quite common, don’t worry. When driving around town you will often see a small front garden with a sheep or horse that’s been borrowed to keep the grass down, it’s not just us! We’re becoming Falkland Islanders, slowly but surely.
We’ve had an upsetting weekend due to an incident that we won’t write about here out of respect for those involved and having to say goodbye to some close friends who will be sorely missed, so to take us away from it all and remind us about enjoying life we went to a place that you can never be sad at: the white sand dunes of Yorke Bay and its Gentoo penguin colonies. Watching them in their little tuxedoes, watching them belly flop into the water and fart around in the clear blue surf will always put a smile on our face. Unfortunately, you can’t get too close here as you can see:Fear not, the penguins are too light to set off the mines so this really is the ultimate conservation project: no human interference possible!