When I arrived in last August, there was a thick blanket of snow on the ground here. This morning it seems we’ve gone full circle as we awoke to a chilly layer adorning the garden.
For some time I’ve been meaning to spend some blog space on the weather here to fill in some knowledge gaps so today seems an opportune day to do so. The full extent of most people’s knowledge of the Islands before we came down generally stretched to ‘you know it’s really cold there, right?’ so the Summer proved surprisingly pleasant on the back of that. Winter, from experience so far, is as you might expect but it has its own benefits too.
The climate here experiences, on average, less rainfall than the UK, more hours of daylight, higher average Winter temperatures and lower average Summer temperatures but not by much (about 5 degrees cooler only). The wind is, of course, the most defining feature and makes weather prediction here comparable in difficulty to my thus-far failed attempts at Lottery prediction. So far today, I’ve lost count of the changes between sun and snow and this is not uncommon. A recent storm saw the recording of 108mph winds on top of Mount Alice and caused a stir in both conversation and the foundations of some of the dwellings in Stanley. Generally though in Winter things do calm down a bit and, cold as it can be, the weather is slightly more stable.
Fortunately, society here has adapted well to the conditions; namely in the form of the Boiler Suit! On first arrival I noticed a large number of people walking the streets, dropping the children off or gracing the bars dressed in what seemed like overalls in two different colours. Ignorantly, I put this down to, perhaps, there being a large number of manual workers here. I was quickly corrected on this when, on announcing that I did not own said Boiler Suits, an entire Year 7 class erupted in shock and disappointment and the last 5 minutes of my lesson was lost to dismay and a thorough explanation of the Boiler Suit culture. Soon, Christmas arrived and, being a good Falklands fiance, I splashed out and picked Han up the only thing any true Falklands bride-to-be could desire: A Helly Hansen Kiruna Suit – waterproof to 20,000mm, taped seams and fleece-lined pockets; the whole shebang! Unbeknownst to me, Han had also thoughtfully picked up a Dickies spesh: the Boiler Suit of choice for the Falklands gentleman (Dickies is the brand name…). It hit home last night, as Han and I donned our respective boiler suits for a casual walk around the block without thinking twice about them, that we are coming to accept the social norms here and I have to say, I am a complete convert! Warm, waterproof and excellent against the wind; we’ve been recommending the handing out of a boiler suit on arrival to all new staff contracted onto the Islands. We’ve tried hard to throw ourselves into all aspects of life here and every time we don the Boiler Suits (without shame) I am glad that we have done so! Now, if only we can get our UK friends to change their minds about them.