Thursday, March 31, 2011

An afternoon spent in a cupboard!!!

Speedwell Island (the house that Shaun and Tanya will live in).
Another breezy day. I spent the majority of the day painting.  This house was originally a "bunk" house.  "Bunk" houses were accommodation for the single men on the farms in the days when wool prices were high and farms employed several farm hands.  With the collapse of wool prices farms cut back on their employees drastically and houses like this became empty.  It is incredible to believe that Speedwell a farm that has only ever run in the region of 3,000 sheep in its hay day employed 8 single men and 3 or 4 families. It had it's own hall that was used for social functions, dances and as a cinema.  Getting back to this house however the fact that it was the home for single men means it is painted in dark colours.  The inside of the built in cupboard that I am painting out is in parts dark, dark green and dark, dark pink!!!  The room has been dark, dark, green, dark blue and once pale yellow.  Speedwell although now doing well financially and starting tomorrow employing its first employee will never be able to employee on the scale that it did in the 50's, 60's and 70's. It now only has  two houses as two were dismantled and taken away to one of the larger farms and unfortunately the hall burnt down many years ago. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We were right, yeah

What a relief, we didn't get the severe force 11 winds as predicted by the met office.  A mere 30 knots but tonight looks a tad more windy for us.
Spent the afternoon painting in Tiphanie's room after stripping wallpaper yesterday.  The room was terribly damp when we first moved into the house and the bottom 1 to 2 feet went mouldy behind the paper within a month of me wallpapering.  It was very unsightly with black marks showing through the paper.  At least with paint you can clean it.  Not doing anything too drastic as the room needs to be insulated and double glazed to solve the problem.
Also spent a couple of hours doing bookwork as I haven't done any for a couple of weeks. 
Islander aircraft on the grass strip at Speedwell Island

George Island jetty on a rough day
Shaun came on the plane today to help Christopher work the boat.  We have 43, 200 kilo plus bales of wool to go this time.  They all have to be rolled part way down the jetty to go on the sea truck.  Also have radiators, an oil burner, plasterboard and other bits coming for Shaun and Tanya's house.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Severe gale force 11 in the south of the islands!!!!!!!!!

Theo at the moment, not taking too much notice of the sea state.
The met station is forecasting severe gale force 11 for the south of the Falklands.  That's us!!!!!!!   Please let them be wrong.  Our wind plot isn't forecasting it but it is from the North.  The plot does tend to under forecast the wind strength from this direction.  At the moment we have about 30 knots which is gale force 7. Gale force 11 is 60 knots plus.  Let us be right and them be wrong.
Desire Petroleum have spudded their next well.  We have lots of shares in Desire, let this one produce oil!!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Whats that anchored in the harbour?!!!!!

Christopher got up at 6am to find a ship anchored in the harbour.  Luckily it was just starting to get light and you could see what was probably the bow ramp of the Concordia Bay.  It makes you nervous when you have an unexpected, unidentified ship anchored in the harbour at night.  Today it was the Concordia Bay over nighting in the harbour on its way to Stanley.
The potato plot on George Island
Nothing special on today.  Christopher went and gathered the Sand grass and counted the ewes, the 42 missing ewes were not there.  It is a bit of a mystery where they have gone, beginning to think we must have mis-counted when we did the original count.
I washed Tiphanie's room out again ready for the carpet to go down again after the new radiator is put in.  Also blanched a few cabbages for the deep freeze.  Christopher pulled about another ten cabbages which we are going to try and preserve by hanging them in a dark, cool shed.  They are supposed to last about four months.  We have at least 40 cabbages which are all ready to be cut, if I freeze them all we will have nothing in the deep freeze apart from cabbage.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Aggressive little beast, time to lose your ****

Christopher's father on Half way island
A couple of days of random sheep work  sorting the remaining sheep that are around the paddocks and checking what remaining animals are suitable for the next run to the abattoir. 
We have 106 cast ewes that will not make condition for the next abattoir run.  We have spoken to the abattoir and asked if they will take them as mutton over the winter, this they are happy to do.  To get them up to condition for this we will take them to Half way island, this is a tussac island in the Speedwell Harbour.  Tussac grass is an excellent feed, it is full of sugar and the animals will pile on the weight in quite a short period of time.  Christopher shore 35 lambs under 20 kilos, these will be slaughtered today because they will never make  sheep and the probability is that they would die over the winter if we turn them out.  Found one more roughie in the last gather, this will also be shorn today and turned out.
The ponies went out into the South End again.  Christopher brought them home.  I fed them both pony nuts and pony treats.  Curly is so aggressive he bangs his head down  into the container, grabs the side off it, tips it out if he gets the chance and at the same time paws at the ground with his front feet.  Time to call the vet to get the little horror marked I think.
We had to take the carpet up in Tiphanie's room because it was absolutely soaked.  I noticed that the radiator had a slight leak.  It was a secondhand one and didn't have a proper bleed screw so Christopher had put a screw in it.  While we have been busy the leak had got worse and I hadn't noticed.  The carpet was that wet it has been hanging over the clothes line for two days but it is nearly dry now so not to bad.  We have a new radiator coming on the Concordia Bay at the beginning of April, it is also bigger and the correct size for the room taking into account that the house is not double glazed or insulated.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sheep away

Christopher was up at 2:00am  this morning checking on the lambs in the shearing shed.  They had to be put in the shearing shed over night to dry because they can not travel when they are wet.  This was a worry because sheep are more likely to get down when they are wet.  As it happens the lambs are all strong and were fine and none of them had went down.
The sea truck at the jetty ready to load lambs with Concordia Bay and Theo in the background.
 I got up at 5:50am and went down to the pens to help get the sheep ready.  We were all ready by 6:30 am and came home for coffee.  The Concordia Bay had moved in close and was ready to start loading by 7:00am and the sea truck was at the jetty for the first load of lambs at 7:15am.  Loading went extremely well and 527 lambs and 108 cast ewes were loaded via sea truck onto the Concordia Bay in two and three quarter hours.  We have now supplied over 2,000 animals to the abattoir this season and have approx 250 left to go at the beginning of April.
In the afternoon Christopher went and straggle gathered the South end.  He found 22 lambs and 8 shearlings that we had missed.  These were added to the tally for the camp and then the lambs and shearling ewes  were turned back into the camp for the winter.  I spent the afternoon washing wet and muddy clothes from the previous two days.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More and more drafting

Spent the best part of today drafting.  Also gathered top Twin ponds to get the cast ewes in ready to go on the boat tomorrow.  Rained again and all the lambs got wet.  Ended up with 527 lambs and 153 cast ready for the abattoir.  Some of the cast ewes will not go because the boat will not be able to fit them all on but got extra ready to make sure we have enough to fill all four sheep crates.  Took the tags out of the lambs and branded them with our farm brand SI.  Still have the cast ewes left to brand but run out of time and the will.  Got in the house at 6:30pm.  Concordia Bay is here already.  We will start loading at 7:00 am in the morning.  Busy days.

I think there is something wrong with the Toyota

Too busy to blog yesterday.  Christopher went out to start gathering the South End at 7:10 am, I went out at 8:10am as agreed.  Went to my normal place on the gather, expected to see Christopher gathering out the point.  No sign, went further back just in case he was having a slow gather, couldn't find him. Went forward in case he had had an excellent gather, not there.  Went right back to where he would have started the gather, no not there.  Went back to where he should have been, still couldn't see him.  Started getting worried at this point.  The South End is a massive camp which can run up to 1,800 sheep so finding someone is no mean feat.  Began to think that he had fallen off his motorbike and hurt himself.  An  over active imagination can be a real problem.  The camp also has a large area of sand hills making it even more difficult to find someone.  Spent an hour combing the camp looking for him.  Finally saw him where he should have been.  Apparently he had just had a very slow start to the gather.  Panic over, thoughts of how long should I carry on looking for him before I went home and called Stanley for help.  However my neurotic worries are not totally unfounded.  Christopher had came off his motorbike.  He said he came shooting up over a hill, saw two Jackass holes and knew he wasn't going to miss both of them.  Quite funny I think, he hit the first one and the bike dived over one way throwing him partly off, righted itself  with him still on board, hit the second hole, hit the ground.  Hurt his ankle but nothing serious.  Finally got the sheep home at 11:30am just as it started to rain.
After dinner we had to draft 1,600 lambs and 400 shearling ewes.  Drafting to get our replacement ewe hogs, kept the biggest 560, we only need 400 but this gives us more selection next season.  Also drafted off 457 of the biggest wether lambs to run through as yearling lamb for the abattoir next season. Drafted off the 400 shearling ewes to go back out with these animals as they will all run together over the winter in the South End.  This leaves approx 500 lambs to go to the abattoir on Thursday.  It rained continuously while we were drafting.  The sheep ran well through the pens and drafting race but by the time we finished the water in the forcing pen was about 10 inches deep and the rest of the pens where deep in mud.
Me playing in the newly formed stream running down the green.

Water where there isn't usually water

Shaun on top of a sand hill
When we got back from the gather I said to Christopher I think there is something not quite right with the Toyota.  At one point I was convinced I had a puncture.  Yep there was a problem, the prop shaft had fallen off and was dragging along the ground and one of the springs was broken.  You would assume that I would have been driving rough.  Believe me the ground is so rough with big white grass bogs that getting out of 2nd low range is a real treat.  Never mind we took it down to the drafting pens because it was peeing with rain.  About half way through the draft I decided I needed to come home and change because despite wearing wet weather gear the rain had run down my neck and my clothes were wet.  It should have been simple, I jumped in the Toyota drove it down the slope to turn around.  Thought briefly, rain, slippery slope, no drive, oh it will be okay I will just give it a bit of a gun and it will go back up the slope.  Wrong.  Half way up, skid, no traction, sliding back and sideways back down the slope. Then stopped half way down, thought um prop shaft hanging down.  Yep anchored out on the side of the hill with the prop shaft firmly dug in the ground.  All in all and eventful day.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Black Gold, 3 gathers and 3 lots of drafting

Another exciting day for those in the Falklands who are following the oil exploration.  Rockhopper Exploration announced that their latest drill had found commercial oil.  Christopher got up at 4:30am for the opening of the stock market and because it was rumoured that Rockhopper would announce the results of their current drilling programme.  The announcement was made before the stock market opened and he was very tempted to buy and then sell when the market rose reacting to the results.  I wish he had.  As it is we have a small quantity of Rockhopper shares and a fairly large amount of Desire Petroleum shares.  The Desire shares also rose of the back of the Rockhopper results but we have decided to hold them because surely Desire will also strike at some point.
The rare and endangered Striated Cara Cara (Johnny Rook) today at the pens at Phillips Point there were 8 of them.  Not as rare as people may think!!!
Its been a busy  day on Speedwell today.  We gathered the Sandgrass to make sure the stock was correct, annoyingly there are 39 ewes missing.  This meant we then had to gather Phillips Point, they were not in there, it still had 600 ewes.  We then gathered Twin ponds and brought them home to the settlement to draft.  They were not there so it would seem we missed them in the Sandgrass.  This is not difficult because of all the sand hills that  they can get in amongst. 
Sometimes we have problems with ewes moving camps because all our fence lines  go down the beach and it is hard keeping them sheep proof because the heavy seas  wreak havoc with them.   This is the  reason that we can't be sure that we have just missed them. We have two more gathers tomorrow but if they  don't turn up in one of those camps then we will have to get the Sandgrass in again.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Stanley and Sealion Island

Five days since my last blog.  Stayed in Stanley until Friday.  Unfortunately the ram sale was cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances so it was a bit of  a wasted trip.  Christopher took the opportunity to pack some of the double glazed windows that we saved from the house that Shaun and him demolished.  I found I was a bit bored so went to work for a day and a half.  Spent my time in our biggest shop in Stanley, the West Store helping to prepare for stock taking.  I often work there in the winter for a few months and they are good enough to employ me for a few days at a time if they are short staffed.  The West Store is a fairly large complex which includes a groceries outlet, an electrical department, home living which has all your furniture and soft furnishings, in the same building is a toy shop and attached is a home builder with all your building supplies. There is also a large gift shop, a stationary department and the latest addition is a Peacock's merchandise.  This time I worked in the stationary stockroom.  Usually if I work in the West Store I would work in the grocery department shelf filling and till operating but this winter I have secured a job involving stock control.  I am looking forward to it and will probably start work mid to end of April until end of August.  The money I make I will use to take Christopher and I to Punta Arenas in Chile for a weeks break before the start of the next season.  While we are there we are going to pay for Christopher to have his back scanned as he suffers from a severe bad back from time to time.  I don't expect they will find anything wrong with it, he is constantly straining it lifting things that are too heavy.
On Friday I went to Sea Lion Island with my niece Chelsea.  My mum won a weekend for two on the island.  Sea Lion Island boasts a lodge and is considered by many to be the premier destination in the Falklands.  We had a lovely weekend.  Apart from Rockhopper penguins it has all the same wildlife as our group of islands.  The lodge was lovely  and all meals were included.  Jenny the manager also loaned us the landrover so I was able to drive us around.  It was a super weekend and the hospitality was superb.
Chelsea in the rushes

Rockhopper penguins

Memorial to HMS Sheffield, sunk of Sea Lion Island during the Falklands war in 1982
Today I flew back to Speedwell and Chelsea flew back to Stanley.  I spent the afternoon in the garden picking up potatoes for Christopher.  Also had both ponies in the yard, today I was able to brush Humbug, still couldn't get a halter on but it wont be long.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lambs onto Concordia Bay and back to Stanley

Didnt manage a blog yesterday, too busy and too tired by the time we got to Stanley.
Up by 6am to put the 7 remaining bales of wool out on the jetty.  Concordia Bay was due to arrive to start work at 9am.  Filled the shearing shed, put the cast ewes in first so that they would be last to go on the boat.  Then filled the remainder of the shed with lambs.  They wouldn't all fit in so some had to be left in the outside shearing shed pens. Saw the boat coming around the end of George Island at 7am.  Concordia Bay was actually early and we started loading the bales at 8:30am.  The first load of lambs left the jetty at 9am.  My job was to count them out of the shed 30 at a time and start taking them down the jetty.  This meant that Christopher always had 30 in a pen on the end of the jetty in the pen and I always had 30 on the jetty ready for him to collect.  Our jetty is 117 metres long so it is just as well lambs go down the jetty well. They are then loaded onto a sea truck 30 at a time and transferred to the boat.  Yesterday she was in good and close and we could only just keep up.  The last load which was cast ewes left the jetty at 11:45.  The ewes are very difficult to get down the jetty as they are scared of water, luckily the lambs dont seem to notice.  A very pleasing day with 548 lambs and 78 cast ewes now at the abattoir.
Concordia Bay
Made a decision to come to Stanley after the boat if the day was suitable.  Christopher has a vehicle he wants to look at.  We also have the chance of buying a couple of pure Pol Dorset rams for Barren Island so we want to go and look at them.  Then on Thursday there is a ram sale.  This year we are hoping to buy some Dohne rams for George Island.  We eventually left at 2:20 pm, we were planning to leave earlier but there was too big a swell.  We called into the Galley Cafe at Goose Green on the way as we hadn't eaten apart from toast for breakfast.  Had a lovely all day breakfast.  Arrived in Stanley just after 8pm.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Rain, drafting, counting and branding

At last it has rained.  It had to be today just because we had loads of drafting to do.  It rained so hard it soaked through coat, body warmer and jumper.  I was wearing waterproof trousers though so the bottom half stayed dry.  Christopher had the sheep gathered in from the paddock and into the drafting race by 7am.  First draft was a three way draft, flock ewes straight ahead, the best of the ewe lambs to the right and the cast ewes, wether lambs and any ewe lambs that looked too small for the abattoir to the left.  The first draft of 2,000 was finished by 9:50am.  Sheep were running really well so despite the rain it was pretty easy going.  We then had to come home and have a change of clothes.  The second draft was to put the ewe lambs through again  to get this years replacements.  We kept the best 303, the remaining 100 or so then went in with the wether lambs for the abattoir.  Ended up with 448 lambs for the abattoir and 79 cast ewes.  About 20 didn't make the grade either because they were too small or too poor.
Ewes and lambs waiting to be drafted
The start of the draft, 2,000 ewes and lambs waiting to come up through the pens and through the drafting race
After dinner we put all the abattoir animals through the shearing shed where we took out there ear tags and branded them all with our ink station brand of GI.  A long day, didn't get into the house until 6:30pm.  Pleased with the results though.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Checking, training and gathering

Today the islander aircraft came with the FIGAS (Falkland Islands Government Air Service) fire officer.  Twice a year the fire apliances used to met the plane are checked at all the camp airstrips.  The apliances are set off, and then refilled.  It is a chance for both Christopher and I to use the apliance.  We are also instructed on what we should do both outside and inside the aircraft if the unthinkable happened and there should be an accident.  The apliance here is a one man unit but we both attend the plane.  It is a tow along extinguisher.  It is very simple to use,  my job is to turn a knob which in turn pressurises the cylinder. Christopher works the  hose, which is also straight forward and operated by a lever.  It is always good to refresh.
Sheep being pushed into the paddock (this was several years ago, the sheep in coats were part of a trial)
Concordia Bay is now coming a day earlier. It looks like there will be too big a swell for her to load on Tuesday.  This meant we had to start gathering today.  We didnt find out until about 11:00am but it was then too late to start until after the fire visit.  Christopher went out at about 3:00pm and gathered the back of the island.  This camp is 1,056 hectares.  I didnt go for this one as I'm not needed.  It was 4:50pm before we were able to go out and start the second gather which is a  biger piece of land at 1,367 hectares.  I went out on my beat which is to go to the far side of the island and go down around the coast pushing any sheep I see over into the middle of the island.  Today I had loads of sheep on my beat and they were fit and quick.  By the time I got to Deception Island which is where I  sit and wait for Christopher while he brings the sheep out  of Strike Off point, my sheep which had pulled out into the middle of the island where pulling back and heading into his point.  This is not good because Christopher is normally 30 minutes or more clearing it out and I had visions of my hundreds meeting him half way down the point.  Today was my lucky day however because there were no sheep in the point at all and he was back up the point before they had got too far into it.  All in all it was a very good gather and the sheep were in the paddock at 6:10pm.  We would not even normally contemplate leaving so late to gather but needs must and today it all worked out.

Friday, March 11, 2011

George Island and when will I learn

Woke up to the story of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.  The world seems to be ploughing through one natural disaster after another.  I have been following it  via a CNN web site.  The pictures of the disaster are truly awful.  I see that the Hawaiian islands have now dropped there tsunami warning.  George Islands highest point is 50 foot so it is easy to understand how vulnerable the Haywain islands are.
Work wise today we got in the small lambs that we are going to run over as yearlings for the abattoir next season.   They are all looking reasonably  good, if a bit small.  Today we gave them all a worm drench and turned them out again.  Also drafted the cull ewes, took of those that will not make abattoir grade.  Some of these will be kept to feed the dogs over the winter. The rest will be killed on farm and disposed of.
Lastly for today we left Speedwell at 3:30pm to come down to George.  A calm, dark, dreary day.  As I went out through the back door I noticed a pair of gloves on the floor that mum had given me.  I thought shall I take them I think its going to be a bit cool today, nah.  Drove the vehicle down to the jetty with our bags, got out, saw a nice hat behind the seat.  Thought shall I take it, nah.  Got on the boat, put on a life jacket and went up on the fore deck as usual.  Conscious decision to put the life jacket on as they have polystyrene in them and help keep the sea breeze out.  I knew it was going to be cool but I much prefer to be out then in, it has to be pretty cold or rough for me to move inside.  Well it was cool, despite a t-shirt, body warmer, minus 20 degrees LL Bean coat and life jacket my top half was just about warm enough.  If I hadn't forgotten to put a jumper on it would have been alright. My legs were freezing in a pair of jog pants as was my hands and head without their gloves and hat.  Never mind the feet which don't even possess anything that would keep them warm.  Christopher and  I are truly two opposites.  He is always dressed for every eventuality, not me.  Maybe I will learn one day.  A pleasant trip though, two small pods of whale were also coming through Eagle passage but we didn't get close to them.
A view of the back of the George Island house

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A heart wrenching sight

Farm wise Christopher continued pressing in the morning.  I feed the ponies again and spent rather a long time filing photos on my computer.  I have hundreds in no particular order.
In the afternoon we went away in the vehicle to fix some broken stakes in the fence between Twin ponds and the Sand Grass.  Found the fence also had a broken wire.  Sorted the fence then decided to go and heft the ewes of the green.
Stranded Black fish (Pilot whales)
As we were driving around I was commenting on how green the Sand grass was and what good condition the camp was in in general.  As we turned to head back we noticed lots of gulls and Giant Petrols sitting in the sand grass on top of the beach bank.  As we got closer hundreds of birds took off.  We realised straight away that there was probably a pod of black fish (pilot whales) on the beach.  Pilot whales grow to about 17 feet long and today there was every size imaginable from babies to full size males.This is not unusual at this time of year and has been happening since time. Unfortunately there appears to be no explanation for why it happens.  One theory is that they have a pilot fish and if that dies they beach themselves.  Today it was so sad because the scale of the stranding is phenomenal.  When we looked down over the beach they were dead the entire way around the bay.  They appear to have been dead about a week.  They also appear to have been healthy and in good condition.  Strangely they don't even appear to be beached, they are just rolling up and down what is a fairly steep incline.  Over the years when the animals have been found  alive attempts have been made to re-float then.  This has varying degrees of success, in most cases the animals will purposely beach themselves again.  It is such a sad sight to see and heart wrenching when you think about how long they probably lie on the beach before they die.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gorse thorns and miniature ponies

Humbug and Curly Wurly
Christopher spent part of the day pressing wool again.  Still about 5 bales left to do.  It looks like we will have 3 ton more this year then last despite shearing 86 sheep less.  Happy days.  Record wool prices means its going to be another good year.
I took pony nuts out to Curly Wurly and Humbug again.  They were my Christmas present this year from Christopher.  They are both a year old.  As you can see Humbug is a real miniature.  Both animals are pure bred miniatures but Curly is a fair bit bigger.  Patted both of them again but still couldn't actually catch them, maybe tomorrow.  They have had very little handling to date and are both nervous.  Humbug is not much bigger then a large sheep.
Spent the afternoon weeding in the garden.  Concentrated on the cabbage and Cauliflower patch today.  The garden is full of gorse thorns from when Christopher cut the gorse hedges back.  The hedges make the garden lovely and sheltered but the thorns are so hard on your fingers.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ship wrecks and musket balls

Chris spent the morning pressing.  I spent the morning working in the house.  Also took some pony nuts across to the miniature ponies in the Carthorse paddock.  Curly Wurly and Humbug both came for them today but still too nervous to catch, although Curly is getting a lot better.
In the afternoon we went out in the South End to check on the lambs which are waiting to go to the abattoir.  We were a little concerned about them because they are now weaned and in a new camp.  This camp isn't as good as the ones they have came from but we had no choice to take them off because the ewe camps need to be lightened off  for the winter.  We have no improved ground here and the lack of rain is becoming an issue.  The lambs are still looking good, at least they don't appear to be falling away.
Parts of a pottery vase found at the Isabella site
More pieces of blue and white pottery
Musket balls next to some small bird bones
Ships fastenings, copper nails etc
Ended up at the site of the Isabella.  The Isabella was a sailing ship which was wrecked on Speedwell Island in 1812.  She was transporting Marines and ex convicts who had done there time in Australia back to the UK.  They built a town which they called New Town Providence.  The buildings were built out of wood from the boat, rock and sod.  They stayed on Speedwell for approx 2 months.  During the time they were here a baby was born.  They were eventually rescued by a sealing ship.  The town as they called it is still clearly visible on the south coast although all the buildings are long gone.  The anchor of the Isabella still lays on the beach.  The story of the wreck of the Isabella is well documented from the memoirs of Charles Barnard an American who was the captain of the ship that rescued them.  I personally have not read the book but Christopher has.  Obviously a very interesting book as it is one of only two books he has read.  The other book being Castaway by Lucy Irvine.  Today we picked up some pottery, most of which is blue and white, some metal fastenings, copper nails and the best find, musket balls.  In the book it says they used their muskets to shoot Snipe.  I have put a photo on showing the musket balls beside some small bird bones similar in size to the Snipe.  I cant imagine that there was much left to eat.  Such an interesting place

Disturbing and a little perturbing (and no I'm sure I didn't sign up to a singles site)

Well what can I say.  Christopher was checking the e-mails today.  There was two from a site called Badoo.  He said to me you have two e-mails from Badoo.  I said oh just delete them they are a site that I signed up to to get smilie faces etc to put on e-mails.  He said there are two messages on it.   I said oh well leave them so I can have a look.  A bit horrified to find that some how or other I had signed up to a singles site and they were messages from men.  Even more disturbing is some are in the Falklands!!!!!!  Luckily there was no information other then my gender and age but there was photos of me which are ones I have on facebook.  I really dont know how I done it and I definately didnt do it intentionally.  Badoo account now deleted!!!!!!  No more smilie faces for me.  Weirdly funny really.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Back on Speedwell

The track from Flores Harbour to the road at North Arm
Left Stanley early at 5:50am, still dark at 6:00am now.  Another beautiful sunny day but summer is coming to a close.  Had a really good run out despite towing a trailer with a dinghy on it.  We met Emma at the turn of to North Arm to give her Stevie's puppy.  Only the two left now, ours which we are continuing to call Heart and Shaun and Tanya's Belly Button puppy who is now re-named Bex.  We didn't bring the spare dinghy over today.  Another lovely day for coming across on the boat and I was able to stay up on the foredeck again.  If it is nice I usually go up there because the dogs can't get up on to it.  Neither puppy was sick today so that was nice.  Arrived back at Speedwell at 11:30am.
After a quick lunch we went up to the garden for a look.  Dozens of cabbages all ready for cutting.  Will cut some and take them down to George Island when we go down on Friday.  I will then blanch and freeze them.  Such a shame that they all come on at once.  Also dug a couple of roots of potatoes.  Two plots are looking really good but the Robins are burrowing in under the soil and some of the biggest potatoes are pretty much hollowed out.
Christopher then finished a bale of wool that he had started before we went to town.  Apparently it is impossible to press wool with two nine week old pups.  I probably could have told him that if he had asked.  The rest of the day was pretty relaxing.  Tomorrow we will continue with the pressing, there is probably  another twelve bales to press.  Not much else planned for up here this time. 
We have to be down at George Island by Friday for a airstrip fire visit on Saturday.  On Saturday the Islander aircraft will come in with a fire officer.   The tow along fire appliance will then be set off and then refilled.  It is a chance for the airstrip operators in this case Christopher and I to practise using the appliance. 
Nor West Arm (originally what was called an outside shepherds House).  Most outside houses are now un-inhabited like this one.
We then have Concordia Bay coming on the 14th to pick up lambs from George Island.  Another couple of busy days coming up.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ready to go

Shopping done for George island.  Quite organised, I had made a list of groceries needed.  Also shopped for Speedwell, 1 bottle of cooking oil and oven cleaner, didn't have a list and couldn't think of anything else we needed.
Christopher had his meeting about sand blasting his boat.  He said it was really handy and gives him more idea about how to do the job and what parts need blasting.  Also got the paint he needs for Theo.
We then went to the Seaman's Mission for a light lunch.  After a misty, damp start to the day it turned into a scorcher yet again.
Took Toilet Roll puppy down to FIGAS to go on the plane to Hill Cove on West Falkland to her new owner.  She was a right sweetie.  I will miss her.
The rest of the day has been spent packing up and getting ready to go back to Speedwell.  Reasonably early start in the morning.  We need to be away by 7am as there is wind around which is moving in closer as the day goes on.  We are also towing a large aluminium dingy with us so will be a bit slower then usual.
Shaun is staying in town for the moment and is going to start working for us de-nailing wood from the house that Christopher and Shaun pulled down over the winter.  The house was put out to tender for people to pull down and the person who got the contract also got to keep all the materials.  Christopher decided to tender to pull it down for nothing as it had a massive amount of good wood, double glazed windows, PVC cladding etc.  It took him and Shaun 8 weeks to pull it down as they wanted to retain all the good materials.  It was a two story double house.  He then had to pay for someone to go in and take out the foundations but it was well worth it.  We now have four containers of wood etc which is already ear marked for many jobs.  Most of the wood is already de-nailed.
Christopher and Shaun dismantling the two storey, double house

A stevedore working on transshipping squid (poor picture quality because of the frost in the sub zero conditions).
Shaun and Christopher usually do stevedoring in March.  This is transshipping squid from trawlers onto factory ships.  It is very well paid but a dangerous job.  Christopher has decided not to do it this season because he is too busy but Shaun is going to stay in Stanley to do it.  When he is not stevedoring he will continue de-nailing the wood from the house.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

But which one????!!!!!!!

More and more and more sunshine.  Unbelievable weather.  It is just like being in the UK in the middle of summer.  No wind, just hot, hot, hot.  We have now been in Stanley 5 days and we haven't had the heating on once.  All the windows are open and its too hot to sleep at night.
Shaun and Tanya made their final decision about which of Elles puppies they want to keep.  After a lot of chopping and changing they have decided on Belly Button.  Soon to be re-named.  This is the little bitch that was born with a belly button hernia.   I have now been given the job of picking our one because after much uming and ahhing Christopher cant decided.  They are all showing promise but even so it is a hard decision.
Heart (soon to be re-named)
Christopher spent the morning helping Shaun to fix the back door on his Surf.  He also went down to my mothers and cut back some trees and flax for her and mended the garage door that had come open in a gale and got severely damaged.  I cooked a roast lunch because I am starting to get fed up with take-aways and fast food.   Mum came up for dinner then we went around the shops for the last time before we go back out to camp.  Bought Tiphanie a lovely necklace to send her for her birthday..
Now I am going out to choose the puppy.  Very difficult but chose the puppy I called Heart.  It has longer hair which is slightly brown like its mother.  Lets hope it takes after her.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Time to go home

Starting to get bored now.  Most of the things I wanted to do in Stanley are now done, time to go home.  Apart from going to the bank to pay for the crabbing equipment I didn't have much to do.
Christopher collected the stainless steel units and loaded them onto his fathers trailer ready for Bruce to do a run to Flores Harbour with them tomorrow.
Received a quote today for five double glazed windows for George Island.  Just over £800.00 landed in Stanley.  It appears to be a decent quote as they are decent sized windows.  This will then mean the house is totally double glazed apart from the bathroom and three small windows for the passage, pantry and toilet.
Another day of wall to wall sunshine with no rain.  It was even too hot for browsing in the shops.
Christopher playing football with the dogs on George Island
Shaun and Tanya arrived back from sports week at Port Howard on west Falklands.  It was a good week I think.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sunshine, stainless steel and birthday shopping

Another day of perfect sunshine.  Farmers are never happy though and we desperately want some rain.  We still have a lot of lambs waiting to go to the abattoir and if this dry spell continues then they will start to fall away.
Today we managed to buy all the stainless steel bench units that we need for the crab processing.  It is all secondhand from a local hotel that ceased business.  It has saved us a lot of money in freight and the units are all in good condition.   We now have everything we need either in transit or here apart from a compressor and a water geyser.  The geyser is on order and the compressor will be purchased locally.  Our crabbing licence has arrived along with the catch sheet records.  The main job now is to prepare the building ready for when the equipment arrives.
Christopher unpacked his new sand blaster today.  This was a significant capital purchase last year.  There appears to be only one sand blaster in the islands that has the pressure that we need.  Unfortunately the business that owns it was not prepared to hire it.  This left us with no alternative  other then to purchase our own.  Theo is probably our most important asset and at the very least her bulwarks need blasting.  When we purchased her from the UK we paid to have the deck blasted.  The blasting and painting cost £1,000.00, ten years ago.  We are very lucky as at the moment there is a person here that can advise us whether the hull needs blasting.  He has also done sandblasting himself and is meeting Christopher on Sunday to advise him on how he should do the job.  We are hopeful that we may be able to fly  him out to Speedwell to look at Theo.  Although we can't beach her there we would be able to lay her over enough to let him get a reasonable view of the hull.
The outboard motor for the  dinghy is now fixed and Christopher and his father put it on the rib and went out in Stanley harbour to give it a trial run.  It appears to be working well.  The rib which Christopher's father gave us will probably be based at Speedwell with Shaun and Tanya.  It is 5.8 metres and will be used to get the crab from the keep pots.
Christopher spent his afternoon in meetings and I took my mother out again.  We went out to buy hairy mini rollers for when we start work on Theo.  We were looking for packs  of 10 but couldn't find any.  Bought a couple of little bits to put in jiffy bags and send to Tiphanie for her birthday.
Bruce, Christopher's father at George Island
Started preparing for Shaun starting work with us.  Contacted the tax office and asked for an employers pack.  This contains the POAT tables etc.  Returns have to be made monthly so need to be prepared in advance.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Enjoying another day in Stanley

Another big tourist boat in Stanley today.  Driving on the front road is difficult to say the least.  Its amazing the amount of people that will walk across the corners or in the road.  You have to drive assuming that someone is going to walk out in front of you.  Tourism has been great for the economy so a bit of inconvenience is not a great price to pay.  Then a local drove out across a corner on me when I was coming up the hill to come home.  That's the quickest I have had to use my brakes for a while.
My nephew Macaulay with the mullet he caught on George Island
Christopher has continued working on his outboard motor.  I took my mum and my niece Chelsea out this afternoon.  I had to go and buy another set of ink cartridges because I got the wrong ones yesterday.  Christopher opened them before he realised they were the wrong ones so that was a waste of £36.00.  Also took a heap of bedding to the charity shop and dropped my 2010 accounts of at the accountants.  Then we went to the Seaman's mission for tea.  All and all a good day.   Nice to be having a couple of relaxing days.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Shopping and not cooking

Had a super day.  Went and seen my mum this morning and went to to the shops with her to buy some groceries.  Met up with Christopher at midday in the FIC cafe where we all had a hoagie for lunch.  Christopher came back home after lunch and worked on his outboard motor.  The outboard we are using at the moment is a bit too small for the dinghy.
After lunch mum and I went shopping for a present for my niece and mums great granddaughter Emma.  Found some nice presents. 
Shaun riding Sambo, Tiphanie riding Slim Dusty on George Island
Then went and collected lots of gift catalogues from South Atlantic trading.  Tiphanie has decided she cant really afford to come home for Easter so I am looking for some nice pieces that I can send her for her birthday.