We know we’ve moved to one of the most remote communities in the World. We’re no Tristan Da Cunha (with their 9ish boats a year), but we’re up there. Oddly, though, that’s sometimes easy to forget. With some internet, diesel at 37p per litre, shops, a functioning albeit basic hospital and SOME tarmac roads it’s easy to be fooled by the red telephone boxes and slip into home comfort. Every now and then, something does a good job of reminding you just where you are. Post did it this week. Post! It’s something we used to take for granted: 6 days a week, arriving next day. Post to the Islands is either all flown in on the RAF Airbridge, coming in via Chile on the LAN flight or shipped down on the containers. These each have their quirks:
The container ships take somewhere between 3-4 months door to door and generally only leave once a month. Then you’ve got to wait for the container to come into town from the military’s Mare Harbour before collecting your goods from a man in a shed on the seafront (your word is your proof of posting).
The LAN flight from Chile only flies once a week at Argentina’s grace and has been so full of late that they have simply held many goods there (much to the chagrin of those paying extra for DHL to ship their goods only to have them sit at Santiago). The flight was so busy over the Christmas period that some friends of ours on it were told the flight wouldn’t be taking off until three passengers volunteered to stay behind for a week until the next flight. When no-one did due to work commitments or cruise bookings, random people’s bags were thrown off the flight without warning and passengers were left to deal with the consequences the other end (where, handily, no LAN staff are posted).
Finally, there’s the RAF Airbridge. The post can take just a week to get down from the UK. It can, as we saw this week, take significantly longer. The ladies at the Post Office where you collect your post assured us that, quite often, parcels can take a long time naturally. Alongside this, they informed us that parcels are often sent by mistake to the Faroe Islands (kind of understandable), Iceland (I don’t know why) and apparently, as happened to a Christmas present sent kindly from Han’s parents in early December, the British Virgin Islands. So it was that this week we got a late Christmas present and a reminder of just what we’ve let ourselves in for.
As always, there is a bonus to all of this. The novelty of Falkland Island stamps has seen us receiving some wonderful and much appreciated post from friends and family and I’ve been very much enjoying exchanging letters so thank you to everyone who has written! Particular novelty came from Carolyn’s letter arriving simply addressed “David Bailey, the History Teacher, Falkland Islands”. (Love your work Carolyn! Reply to your most recent letter is coming soon).
Sad as it is, it’s the little things like Mail that get me thinking about our new life (and blogging, evidently).