Friday, July 22, 2011

Brr its cold!!!

Not much on.  Christopher and Shaun have been working on the trailer that Theo will be lifted out on to.  Hopefully she will be lifted out tomorrow but there is only one crane here with the capacity to lift her out so we have to wait until there is a slot to do it.
Me and Tiphanie (a bit cool in the house tonight)

Right to left the crew, Shaun May, Chris Poole, Steven Poole and Chris May alongside FIPASS

Theo coming into the floating dock (FIPASS)
Tiphanie has done another day electro fishing gathering information for her dissertation.  I have been working as usual.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Your not alone or hey dad I think you should wake up

Nice to hear from the boys.  They are 2 hours from Wolf rocks and about 4 hours in total from Stanley.  Shaun has been at the helm, Christopher has been having a kip, not sure who  was with Shaun but I'm sure either Chris or Steven were.  It has been incredibly rough.  So rough they decided to go out around Livelys but they abandoned that idea because it was too rough to get behind and decided to run with the sea.  As I said Shaun has been at the helm and they have not long ago been intercepted by HMS Edinburgh?  I don't know how long they watched her on the radar but I imagine it had been calling them.  They didn't have their radio on but Shaun woke Christopher who came up and spoke to them.  Apparently she came right across in front of them.  I don't know how close but will find out more later.  Nice to know there is a warship out there.

Can't sleep waiting to hear from the boys

Woke up at 4 am.  Can't get back to sleep   Wondering how the boys are getting on.  I could probably get them on the mobile now but I expect a couple of them may be sleeping so I don't want to disturb them.  I expect Christopher will ring at about 7 o'clock.
Potato patch on George Island

Cabbages and potatoes in storage for the winter
I have picked up a few new followers over the last couple of weeks.  One is Doreen whitelock@victorygarden, a gardeners blog with tips etc on gardening.  This reminded me of the trip down to George Island last week specially to dig the potatoes.  It turned out that the garden was so wet  the potatoes were just mud balls and the trench was filling with water as they were digging them.  In the end they abandoned the idea, they will have to be dug in the spring.  Christopher enjoys gardening very much and produces way more produce then we can ever eat.  This year I have decided to buy him one of these fancy new green coloured poly tunnels for his birthday.  They are supposed to have a 10 year lifespan.  The original plastic covered poly tunnels didn't fair of to well in the Falklands.  The wind generally got the better of them in a couple of years.  He has been wanting a poly tunnel for years but because we move between islands all summer there was a likelihood it would dry out too much while we were away but with Shaun and Tanya on Speedwell there will be someone to water it while we are on George Island.  It will be a surprise. Christopher never looks at my blog, the Internet for him is for sourcing items or finding out how to do something that you don't know how to like wiring a three way light switch.  He has no interest in facebook or games etc.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tiphanie out, Tanya in, Chris & Shaun on the way

Tiphanie eventually got away today to collect her fish samples from a river out at Goose Green.  The fish will not be killed but stunned by electric current.  She will then measure, weight and take a small scale sample and return them to the river.  She has to do this at several different sites along the river.  Each site has to be GPS marked. I believe they then run a net across the top and bottom of each site to retain any fish in the area.  A count of fish is then also made at each site.  Everything had to be put off at the last minute last week.  Tiphanie got out of bed ready to go, stretched and pulled a muscle in her neck.  It was very painful and for a while she could barely lift her head. This resulted in her not being allowed to go for three days by which time it was the weekend.
Tanya flew in today.  She brought a two week old lamb with her.  The lamb is one of a twin.  One of the draw backs of our new breed of sheep that we are putting across Speedwell is their ability to get in lamb at any time of year, hence we have 3 lambs born mid winter.  The ewes are pure Samm and had been put aside to be artificially inseminated with Samm semen.  Too late.  When the vet went to put the semen in she could  tell that 5 of the ewes were already in lamb.  This is not too big a problem because they have been caught by pure Samm rams but it is not ideal as there is not a lot of feed around.  We are very lucky that we are having an extremely mild winter.  The decision was taken yesterday to remove one of the twins because it was starting to fall away and by doing this it will give the other twin a much better chance to grow.  We still have two ewes left to lamb, hopefully they will hold of for the ten days that Christopher is in Stanley.
Steven and Chris went out to Flores harbour today to meet Christopher and Shaun ready to bring Theo to Stanley.  They plan to leave at about 8 tonight and with a good run will get into Stanley at about 10 tomorrow morning.  The idea is to leave at night so that they approach Wolf rocks in the day light.  If they get to them in daylight they will come between if it is dark they will go out around.  Christopher says they are quite intimidating as you see them rising up towards you ,on the radar I assume.  They will be out of contact for about seven hours but will be able to pick up a mobile signal when they pass Lively Island.  They also have a satellite phone for emergencies.  Hopefully they will not have any problems.  He has a good crew, himself,  very good with all the equipment and a dab hand at mechanics.  Chris Poole who has done a lot of small boat work in the past and is also a mechanic, Chris' father who is also a mechanic and Shaun who is doing his first long trip.  Shaun is good on the equipment but doesn't have much in the mechanicing skills yet.  He can handle the boat well but you are more likely to get a rougher trip with him at the helm. He is quite happy to keep her pounding or rolling where as Christopher learnt long ago that if I'm on board he should keep it as smooth as possible because there is always the chance I might want to turn round and go back.
Lastly looking forward to the boat getting in because Christopher is bringing the skype phone in and I will be able to give my mum a ring and have a nice long chat.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Well I should be doing housework but I switched on the telly and Edwardian farm was on.  Absolutely amazing they have taken a wild pony of Dartmoor and brought over an American horse whisperer to tame it. He has taken it from wild to putting his weight over its back in one lesson.  Christopher has tamed two horses himself and he also takes a gentle approach with lots of ground work but this was amazing.  Some ideas to try with my miniature ponies in the spring.  Although they are too small for us to ride I would like to get them tame so small children could have a ride on them.  Christopher says that since the ponies have been marked they are a lot quieter.
Shaun on Sambo (tamed by Christopher)
I used to ride Sambo when he was a young horse.  Christopher would ride him out on a gather to take the edge of him then I would ride him home.  Because the gathers on the large farms were so big I would take a horse, Christopher would take a horse and he would lead two spares.  He would always ride the two he had tamed first because I can not sit a horse that might decide to stretch its legs.  This particular day we were riding home at the end of a long gather back into Port Louis settlement.  We were riding at quite a lick because it had been a long day and the day was drawing to an end.  I was on Sambo and he was behaving nicely when one of Christophers dogs ran under his belly.  One of my biggest problems was I always rode with box stirrups, these are like a safety stirrup and your foot can not go through them.  Sambo got a fright and bucked, not hard but we were going down hill and I shot  forward up his neck, this frightened him even more but I was still on but my feet were already out of the stirrups and I couldnt get back.  Of course he bucked again and I was hanging down over his neck, still holding on but I remember thinking you will have to let go, you cant get back, so I let go and ended up in a heap on the ground.  Sambo just stood and looked but he never forgot.  I never rode him again for many years but the day I decided to ride him again he must have picked up that I was nervous and two bucks and he had me back on the ground.

Humbug & Curly Wurly the miniature ponies

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Diving & Fishing

Christopher diving at George Island
Another busy day.  Out on Speedwell Christopher dived on Theo.  This was to give her a quick once over before her long trip to Stanley.  He was getting very concerned that the anodes would be gone.  It is three years since she was last out of the water when the last set were put on.  The anodes stop corrosion.  I believe there job is to stop the different type of metals destroying each other.   All but one small piece of one anode is all that is left but he said the others have only recently disappeared because the metal under where they were was still all shiny.  Without anodes my understanding is that the different metals in effect eat each other and vital parts like the rudder start falling off.  He also checked the rudder and the cutlass bearing and everything seems to be in good order.  In fact he was very pleased with the condition of her under the water.  Christopher learnt to dive 3 years ago for a job he was working on.  He had two dives in a swimming pool and that was that.  Some people are just born with so much confidence it seems unfair sometimes.  After he finished diving Shaun put on the dry suit and had a swim around the boat.  Tiphanie our daughter learnt  to dive at university and although she hasn't dived here she purchased her own bcd yesterday so that she can start again.  She admits that she is not very confident yet although she has done quite a lot of dives.
This evening Christopher, Shaun and Tanya went down to George Island.  The idea is that Christopher and Shaun will start digging the potatoes at first light and work all day until they are all up.  They will then go straight back to Speedwell where Christopher wants to get the floor of the crab factory cemented before they head to town with Theo.  This will happen as soon as the wind plot shows a 24 hour spell of decent weather.
Tiphanie has arranged her first trip out to one of the rivers to collect fish samples for her dissertation.  She leaves tomorrow with Dan who is helping her with her dissertation and Aiden who she has roped in as an unpaid volunteer to help with the nets in the river.  Aiden is a young lad that has come out to the islands to help lamb marking the last couple of years.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

No sleep and missing mum

A good while since my last blog.  Going through a phase of can't be bothered.
In the last couple of weeks mum has left to go on holiday to England.  She is 78 years old, so the 18 hour flight to the UK is quite a trip for her.  She has spent the last 10 days with her niece in Eastleigh, today she goes to her friend Anne in Aldershot from their she goes up north to Yorkshire to stay with Peter my brother and Susan my sister, she will then go to Scotland to stay with my brother Charles.  Before she left she made me some ready meals, steak pies, lasagnas and meatballs and mash.  I am so lucky to have such a fantastic mum.  Everyday I go to her house for my lunch and to feed the cat.  Callum her nephew is living in the house but he goes to his other gran for his lunch so it all works in quite well.
Tiphanie is home, its nice to have her back in her old bedroom.  She arrived home totally skint but within a day she had found herself some temporary bar work.  She has been working part time in a pub in Wales so has got some pretty good experience in pub work.  She worked four hours yesterday but she said she had to keep checking the till receipts because spirtis are so much cheaper here, she thought she was ringing it up wrong.  She starts her proper job as a fisheries observer in September but she needs from now until then to finish her dissertation for her masters.  Before she came home she attended the small island games on the isle of Wight to compete in the badminton, she didn't win any of her matches but no one expected that she would.  We have a very small pool of people to chose from here to represent the islands and they are up against islands with very large populations. 
Out on the islands Shaun and Tanya's new kitchen is finished.  The house should be finished being re-wired today and they will be able to move in. It has been a big expensive job but we wanted it done properly and finished to a high standard.  The next big job is to get Theo ready to bring  to town for maintenance.  We are hoping to bring her in shortly after the 17th.  It takes 18 hours to bring her around to Stanley.  We are hoping we can have all the maintenance done in 3 weeks.  Time is pushing on.

The new kitchen, a truly multi talented job, plastering, tiling, plumbing, laying lino and electrics.


The new french doors

Shaun and Tanya in their new kitchen
 I had a stressful few days last week.  At work we are ordering for the September shipment.  This was the first time I had done my part of the ordering by myself  Last time I had Frankie to help me for the first few days.  The first time I started before everyone else and with help had no problem meeting the deadline.  This time I started at the same time and by Wednesday night, I had convinced myself I wasn't going to get finished by end of day yesterday.  I did make the deadline though and also fitted in a large stock take which took half of yesterday, so it was a sleepless night for nothing.