Monday, November 28, 2011

A ship, a plane, a helicopter and minus 5 days

Another busy day.  Concordia Bay our coastal shipping vessel/ferry arrived at about 9 am.  We did not have a lot of cargo to come off here.  Shaun worked the boat first at Speedwell.  There was a lot of cargo for Speedwell with Tanya and Shaun having carpets, Christopher had fencing, I had a bed, plus diesel, petrol and kero.  He also had to load the 16 bales of hogget wool.  Last night we had a ring saying they were going to work Speedwell at 8:30 pm.  Shaun rolled all the bales out onto the jetty ready.  An hour later he got a phone call to say they were delayed and would not be working Speedwell until the morning.  This meant he had to roll them all back into the bale shed as the wool is not allowed to get wet and we have had a few rain showers around the last few days.  At last we have our new double glazed windows, 3 for the bedrooms, 1 for the sitting room and 1 for the back porch.  This only leave 3 small windows and a bathroom window to be purchased this year and the whole house will have double glazing. 
Oh and in case you have been wondering our vehicles have still not been delivered.  There is a never ending trail of paperwork and bull****.  I doubt that it will ever happen.  There are a lot of people with good intentions who would willingly get the job done but beaurocray and red tape means the good intentions never materialise into action.  Our latest date is the end of November.  Well its the 28th today so I guess that day is going to come and go too.
At 10 am we had a helicopter deliver a patrol of 9 from the resident infantry patrol.  They are here until tomorrow afternoon.  While they are here they will do patrols around the island.  Tonight they are camped down in our shearing shed.  Most of the men are Scottish with broad scottish accents and if that isn't bad enough to try to understand there are  three Fijians with scottish accents. Shaun and Tanya also have a patrol of  9 on Speedwell so we are all well protected tonight.
At 2:45 the islander aircraft arrived to take Simon and Neil back to MPA.  They were both nice guys and I think they enjoyed their weekend on the island. 
I had ordered margarine etc for our catering for the tourist boat to come on the plane they flew out on because we had run out of some essentials.  Normally I would be in no hurry for my air freight but today just because I really needed it the plane could not carry it all. I now have eggs but no margarine.  This is a bit of a bummer and we have now had to order another plane for tomorrow just to bring my little box of groceries in.  I alwasy try to avoid getting the plane in solely for freight as it is very expensive for FIGAS which is a subsidised service and it seems a waste of money to drop of a box of groceries which I will only pay a couple of pounds airfreight for but which will cost £100's of pounds to deliver.  I can normally tie getting freight in and my mail out with someone flying in or out from the island.
Today mum and I made mince tarts for the tourist boat and also put a  filling in our yoyo's and iced our bite sized biscuits.  Come to think of it, it doesnt look like I have done much today.
Christopher has been repairing fences, worked the boat and the plane and stored the new windows away.  It looks like we have not been very busy today but I think it has just been disruptive with people coming and going.
Concordia Bay

Helicopter dropping of infantry on George Island

Island aircraft
Tiphanie has just rang.  She is back from her trip as observer.  The boat had to come in as one of the crew had an accident so it was decided to bring her off at the same time.  She really enjoyed her trip.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

3 shoes, 5 rolls of packing tape, minus 6 days

Today is the second day of preparations for the visit of Bremen on the 3rd.  Today Christopher, myself, mum, Simon and Neil all went over to the beach across from the house to do a beach clean.  This is a nice easy walk from the house for the tourists and you can quite often see dolphins in the bay.  We each took a bin bag and filled it with debris of the beach.  The majority is plastic from the fishing fleet.  Today we filled 4 bin bags with small rubbish and you can't see where we have been yet.  My bag contained 3 shoes, 5 rolls of packaging tape, loads of small pieces of green fishing rope from nets and blue plastic which is used for packaging the fish.  We are used to seeing it but to those not used to it, it is very unsightly.  The rubbish that we have just bought home from the beach is now being burnt.
Christopher has fixed the axle on the small trailer and is now taking the rubbish drums away to empty.  All our burnable rubbish is burnt including cans etc because it helps them to break down.  Around the house is starting to look nice.  This is also helped by a good growth of green grass in the immediate area of the house making the place look nice and green.


I think I have been rumbled. The boots have not been specifically mentioned but comments made yesterday would suggest I have.  I'm keeping quiet though in case I'm wrong.  He never looks at my blog.  I think its your fault Philip!!!  I was telling him about the links to the sheep/pig etc that  you put on and I think he has followed them back.  He would never have bothered looking  otherwise.  Well he had to find out sooner or later.
Yesterday we went clamming.  The tide was too high for me and I could only get half the distance out to them. 
Well we are busy getting ready for the Bremen arriving on the 3rd.  She has a capacity of 184 passengers but it is unlikely she will be full.  Mum and I have been cake and biscuit cooking.
We also have two contractors from MPA here.  Christopher got to know Simon an electrician and invited him out for the weekend.  He also has his friend Neil here.  Simon is into photography and they have been out all weekend taking photos.
I have weeded the garden since we arrived down here, it is very slow and there is still not a great deal up.
The lawn is mowed and strimmed ready for the tourists.  I have also trimmed the fuchsia trees in the porch.
Christopher with fresh clams

Simon feeding my pet lambs (the large lamb is called Prawn Cocktail, it is weaned now but likes Prawn Cocktail crisps as a treat).

Christopher clamming
Christopher is tidying up the green and getting the settlement area tidy.  It is pretty good despite his inability to put anything away after he has used it.
Going back to my new 350cc, 4 wheeler.  I thought I would tell you about my first bike and my exploits with it.  I brought my first bike when I was 18, it was a brand spanking new blue 125 Suzuki. I loved it. It was a bit high for me, it wasn't one of those squat road bikes.  I wasn't really very confident on it and I only had a provisional licence. I didn't ride it that much.  At the time Christopher's parents were working at Johnson Harbour on east Falklands.  Christopher had a Yamaha 550 and most weekends after work we would go out to his parents for the weekend.  In those days there were no roads, so it was all off road driving.  It was a long way several hours riding and that was at a good pace.   I would ride pillion.   Anyway I pestered and pestered to take my own bike. Each weekend it was the same, no.  In the end he gave in and of we set, him on his 550 Yamaha me on my lovely too big 125.  Going out was pretty good, I was fresh I guess and we were having a good trip.  I knew the track quite well from being on behind Christopher and we got to this piece of track that I knew was flat and a really good run.  I decided I would try and race him.  I roared up along side him, well as much as a 125 will roar, beeping my hooter, laughing at him and not looking where I was going and the next thing, without even time to think about it me and the bike were arse up in the grass.  It all happened so fast. I guess I hit a rut.  Luckily me or the bike were not damaged.  That was fine, the rest of the trip was good.  Sunday arrived and it was time to go back.  It wasn't the nicest day.  The track from Johnson Harbour passed through Port Louis settlement and went along the back of Green Patch settlement then continued on down to Long Island farm.  Long Island farm also contains Long Island mountain.  From the Stanley side the climb was quite gradual and hadn't presented any problems, from the Johnson Harbour side it was a lot steeper.  My arms were pretty tired from the trip out and my clutch hand was really stiff and I was having trouble taking off properly.  It was getting to the point of starting off with a gradual release then letting it go and taking off with a jerk.  I cant remember all the details exactly now but I remember that I was at the point of wanting to leave my bike but Christopher would not let me.  We were sitting at the bottom of a steep incline, it wasn't very long but it was pretty daunting from where I was sitting.  I knew I would have to use a decent amount of oomph to get up it.  I'm not sure what happened but suddenly everything was out of control and I arrived at the top on my back wheel,  luckily it landed back on the ground and I didn't come over backwards but I had absolutely no control and proceeded to do a semi circle on the top and found myself heading back down the mountain towards a fence.  I stayed on but I was totally knackered by the time we got to the top but still he wouldn't let me leave it.  By the time I got to the end of the two sisters road which is just outside Stanley I was exhausted, I had long since given up trying to let the clutch out properly and just prepared myself for the jerk.  I didn't ask to take it again and I still can't ride really well.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Im back!!!!

What a night last Thursday was.  It wasn't bad enough that it blew an absolute gale but at 11:30pm we had a thunder and lightening storm right overhead.  Normally our lightening is sheet but that night it was fork. It knocked out the electricity in the house.  Fortunately I guess that is what a trip box is for so in fact it tripped the house.   It struck the receiver on the television satellite dish and burnt that out or whatever lightening does.  It knocked out our Internet connection but bizarrely  not Shaun and Tanya's and that is why I have been quiet of late.  Cable and Wireless came to the conclusion along with Christopher that it was the line driver gone, this sends the signal from the mast on the hill down to the house.  On the Monday we had a plane come in and drop of a new receiver for the TV.  Result that worked.  They also dropped of a line driver for our Internet, nothing.  It then appeared that the line driver wasn't powerful enough to send the signal the distance required, still no Internet.  The next day the plane came in again and dropped of what was described as the rolls Royce of line drivers.  Still nothing.  Christopher was up and down up and down to the mast, connecting it this way, then that way.   He knows a fair bit about most things but he isn't a technician. In the end he was about to give up when he suddenly thought I wonder if it is the lightening conductors (not sure if that is what they are called).  Back to the house, back onto Cable and Wireless, do you think it is the lightening conductors.  Well probably not but you can try.  So last ditch effort to fix it himself he took them out and away it went.  In hindsight he said he should have thought of the lightening conductors but there you go.
So life has been busy.  Christopher and Shaun gathered the hogs and shearlings in.  Then we all helped draft.  No ram came in so Shaun has been absolved of blame of lambs in amongst the shearling ewes.  First we shore the wether hogs which we have run over winter for old season lamb.  Despite major misgivings about the condition of them when we had been out looking at them in the vehicle they turned out to be in very good condition.  They are well grown and the influence of the SAMM genetics are now becoming very evident.  We now need to concentrate on the micron to make sure that is does not become too coarse.  There is definitely a coarseness creeping in but we have some lovely, very large, very fine SAMM rams now so we should be able to breed any coarseness back out.  Its all a balancing game when you want a large sheep but also a fine wool. 
The arrival of a small number of lambs in the shearling ewes would appear to have an explanation as we found two large rigs.  A rig is a ram that has been marked but one ball has been left out.  If they were small animals they probably would not have left any lambs but these were two strapping boys.  The fact that they are only hoggets and only have one ball each explains why there are not too many lambs.  Who is to blame?  Well Christopher puts the rings on the testicles, so I guess it was him.  Unusual for him to make a mistake like that but the evidence is there.  After we shore the wether hoggets we had a day off for the men to press up the wool.  Then we started the ewe hoggets.  We had a lot of rain while we were shearing them and ended up only shearing part days as we had to put the clippies back in the shed as it was too cold and wet to leave them outside.  Ended up leaving 100 for Shaun to shear by himself as we had to come down to George Island yesterday as we had people coming today.
Oh and I have my four wheeler.  It is cool, 6 gears, 5 forward and 1 in reverse.  No pictures at the moment as I have a serious megabyte shortage.
Will get back to the comments but again may not be this month.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

No sleep tonight

Extremely windy.  Christopher has had to take the dingy out of the water to stop it getting smashed up under the jetty.  It was already half full of water and despite having buoys on the jetty the wind and the large swell rolling up  the jetty means he can not stop it going under the jetty and eventually ending up swamped.  The forecast is predicting damage to structures so there will not be much sleep for me as I worry about Theo at her moorings.  At the moment she is riding up and down violently.  Christopher will however sleep like a baby confident in his moorings and the fact that she has a good riding chain which stops here from jerking on her anchor.  Lucky him.

Wow windy

The weather has been fantastic.  Despite popular belief we do get lovely weather in the Falklands.  Unfortunately  more often then not it is spoilt by the wind  but lately the wind has been quite light.  Of course you can never please a farmer and the land is getting far to dry which in turn will affect the growth which then has a knock on affect on the live stock.  Please let it rain.  Today however the wind is back with vengeance.  The boat is rolling and diving in the harbour. 
Yesterday we had a bit of drafting to do.  Christopher came in and said "first run out for the boots then".  I'm going to have to tell him soon.  Instead I made excuses, "the pens are dry, I don't need them".  To this he replied but you didn't get them to keep your feet dry it was to stop them getting trod on. "Yes but I will be working the race so I will not need them".  Quite how I was going to fill the pens from the outside of them I'm not sure but 200 sheep later the job was done and another season has began without a pair of work boots.  Whats another year!!!
Yesterday we went and looked around the shearling ewes again to see if there were many more lambs.  Its looking hopeful that may be not to many ewes were caught as there didn't appear to be that many more.  No were as many as we would have expected if the majority of ewes had been caught.
Shaun and Tanya are back.  Christopher picked them up from Flores Harbour last night.   The season starts in earnest tomorrow with the gathering of the South End to get in the 1,200 hogs for shearing.
The decorating in the bedroom is finished.  It isn't perfect but it does look a lot better then it did.  Now for some catalogue shopping for new curtains as I couldn't get anything suitable in Stanley.
Christopher got me a secondhand 4 wheeler for getting around the green and up to the gardens.  It needed a little bit of TLC but he now has it running.  I wonder how long it will be before it starts getting snaffled away by either Christopher himself or Shaun.
The bedroom pre decorating

The bedroom after decorating.

The sausage rolls are made for lamb marking.  Life's good.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Just another ordinary day

Tiphanie is away back to sea again.  I rang her on her mobile and she was just about to climb the ladder onto her ship.  This time she is on a sureme ship which is catching Blue Whiting and Hoke,  It is a Japanese vessel.
I have spent the day painting in the bedroom again.  At last it is coming to an end.  Also minced 6 lb of  beef and prepared it for making sausage rolls for lamb marking.  It is great having my mother out, she is a great help.
Christopher finished repairing the dinghy.  Also drilled two post holes to fix the pens ready for drafting next week.  The post holes have to be drilled because the posts are  going into solid rock.  A lot of the problems with the fences are because the posts are not in deep enough.
In the afternoon he gathered and brought in the sheep from the top of  Twin Ponds.  It has a mixture of sheep,  cull ewes  for dogs meat, and hogs (last years lambs) that didn't make the grade for the abattoir last season.  The hogs will now stay in for shearing next week and some of the cull ewes will be slaughtered for dogs meat.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Going to have to wear shades!!

Its shiny, very shiny. So shiny in fact that I think I will need sunglasses when I wake up. One and a half coats of paint on and it is starting to look quite good even if I do say so myself.
Shearing is looming ever closer with the shearing shed now cleaned out and washed out. Motorbikes are springing back into life for the season with three now obtaining the status of runners.
Not forgetting of course that today is Armistice Day and remembering all those lost in wars including the Falklands conflict.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"I fell out of the loft"

Yesterday I thought I was careless but when Christopher came home and said he had fallen out of the shearing shed loft I thought that was real careless. Fortunately it is only about 7 foot above the floor and he landed on his bottom. He now has a brusied leg for his antics but it could have been worse.
Today I started painting our bedroom. It got of to a bad start when I found that I had unloaded the pink gloss paint on George Island and brought the peach vinyl silk up to Speedwell. It is pointless putting vinyl silk on here because when it gets damp mould will actually grow through it and when you try to clean it the paint peels off. Luckily I had a tin of lilac gloss so instead of pink the room is now lilac.
Christopher continued working on the garden until it rained. So pleased to have a decent amount of rain. He also continued working on fixing motorbikes, started cleaning out the shearing shed ready for shearing and started repairing the damage to the dingy.
Lastly for today it has been announced that Prince William will be coming to the Falklands for a 6 week tour early next year. Looking forward to that.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Can you keep a secret?

Today I was so excited. In the 23 years that we have had our own farm I have never had a pair of proper work boots. Over the last couple of years with the opening of the EU approved abattoir we have done more and more sheep work. One of the worst jobs is mouthing the hundreds of wether hogs. My toes get trampled and crushed through my trainers. Even just filling pens leads to a good deal of toe trampling. So getting back to my excitment someone put a link to Sheplers suppliers of all things cowboy/cowgirl in America. After wanting a pair of work boots for so long I picked out this lovely pull on pair with fancy stitching in brown leather. They had what now seems like an appropriate name of Fat Boy Bombers. They were expensive, 120 dollars plus 68 dollars DHL postage. I tracked them on line and knew they would be on the plane today when my mum arrived. I couldnt wait to get home to try them on and took one out of the box to try on at the airstrip. Back home we brought all the boxes in that had came on the plane. I unpacked them all and decided to burn the rubbish straight away. In went all the rubbish and I soon had a nice fire burning. I then decided I would put both boots on. I remember taking the invoice out of the box. Surely I took the other boot out. I must have, mustn't I. I have discretly looked everywhere while trying not to alert Christopher or mum that I appear to have lost one Fat Boy Bomber. I keep going back and looking, maybe I just can't see it for looking. One Fat Boy Bomber now sits in the porch all by itself covered in gloves and hats trying to hide the fact that it doesnt have a mate. How could I be so careless. I am a nut case. I guess it going to be another season of crushed toes. I guess sooner or later someone is going to enquiry into why I am not wearing my 180 dollar boots but Im not ready to admit that it looks like my beautiful Fat Boy bomber is now smouldering in the bottom of the drum. Sob, sob. I had even planned to take a picture of my Fat Boy Bombers because they were so lovely to put on my blog.
On the farm everything else has become insignificant but I am replying to your e-mail Philip.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A mini iceberg

More gardening, more filling and sanding in the bedroom, just another ordinary day.
Oh and the mini iceberg is nothing exciting. Christopher suggested that the fridge/freezer was a bit frozen up. The kind of suggestion that it needed defrosting. "Its not that long since I did it". On closer inspection, um maybe it was last year. Two hours later and a mini iceberg later after much chipping and scrapping it was ready to be put back on again.
On more serious things we went to look at the shearling ewes. Yup, lambs where there shouldn't be lambs. Who is to blame? Well we could start with Shaun. Him and Tanya decided to go out in the shearling camp for a spin on the same day that Christopher turned the rams for Twin Ponds into the race so that they could go directly out to their camp, he had opened the gate into the camp ready. The Twin Ponds gate and the shearling camp gates are side by side. Christopher said to him when he came back were all the rams out of the race. No he said there were two still in it. Christopher said you did shut the gate into the shearling camp while you were out there didnt you. No, we always leave it open until we come back. Well yes but not when there are rams in the race. Were the rams still in the race when you came back? Yes they were. Um.
There is not a problem with the shearlings getting in lamb they are 2 years old and quite big enough to raise a lamb but the problem we were having was that their lambs are generally smaller because the ewes are young and we found that we couldn't get them all ready for the abattoir in March. This meant we were having to run some over for old season lamb and we don't really have the land to run them over the winter. Today we only saw about 12 lambs but there are 400 shearling ewes, fingers crossed they haven't all been caught. Time will tell.
We came across the Red Backed Buzzard on her nest today. She had one chick and a second egg. Also took some pictures of some Black Necked Swan signets.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Never let the grass grow under your feet!!!!

Speaking to Tiphanie today. She is away to sea again on Friday. She has been talking about going to Bali ever since she came back and has arranged to take 2 weeks holiday in December so that she can go. She has been desperate to go because some of her friends from university are there working on the restoration of a coral reef. I don't think she will every stay still long enough for the grass to grow under her feet.
The fish she could not identify was not rare but she could not pronounce the name but it was from the pelagic group a mid depth fish.
On the farm Christopher has been rotavating the gardens and working on fixing Shauns old motorbike.
I have stripped the window in our bedroom and sanded and filled the holes left from when the old rubber wiring was taken out. Hopefully I can start painting tomorrow. The room is painted dark blue and green from when the house was a bunk house for single men. Other then contract shearers using the house when they were here the house has not been lived in for 25 to 30 years.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Come in and help yourself!!!

Another lovely day, very windy in the morning but dropped off in the afternoon.
Christopher changed the radiator and fixed the powered steering in the landrover in the morning and I finished getting the bedroom ready for my mum coming out on Wednesday.
After dinner we went and looked at all three ewe camps to see what the lambing was looking like. All three camps look good. This year George Island is going to let us down because it was still too cold when the ewes on George Island lambed. They actually started at the same time as one of our camps up here but the ewe camp here has excellent shelter where as George Island has none.
The ponies came home again for a treat. Curly Wurly is getting brave and decided to venture into the porch and help himself. Humbugs legs are too short and he couldnt get up the steps.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Will we wont we???

I think wont must be a word from the dictionary of Lindsey. Is it a proper word? I use it all the time.
Today we came up to Speedwell. Before we could leave we had to wait for the plane to come and pick up Christopher's father Bruce. The wind was going into the north and we don't often leave when it is a northerly because it builds up too big a swell in Eagle passage. The wind is supposed to stay in the north for the next four days and we really needed to get up to Speedwell. After much umming and ahhing by Christopher Theo arrived at the jetty at 1pm with the sentiments of we will load and leave and if its too rough we can always come back. The dinghy was lifted out of the water and put on its cradle, that's generally a bad sign. To be honest looking out to sea it looked okay to me but I have seen Christopher coming across from Flores Harbour to Speedwell having left Flores with a slight breeze and it getting so rough in the short space of 40 minutes that the boat was dissapearing in the waves. We had a good run up with only the last 20 minutes getting a big bouncy. Even that was okay because it was on the nose. We had a few minutes as we came around the last point where she couldn't decide if she wanted to dive or roll and proceeded to try and do everything at once. The swell was building in the harbour and it was a rush to get everything unloaded. Today we are carrying a gang way of all things because my mother is coming out to stay for a couple of weeks and other then putting her in a net and lifting her off with the hi-ab it would be very difficult getting her on and off the boat. She is pretty obliging but I don't think she is going to go for the net thing but it would be funny. Unfortunately by the time Christopher got Theo out to moorings the swell made lifting the dinghy of the back of the boat really difficult and it now has a hole, nothing that a bit of fibre glass wont fix.
Today we watched a program on the American dust bowl on the history channel. We missed the beginning of the programme but it was really interesting. Our islands suffer from severe erosion. There are several reasons for it. In the past the islands have been severely over stocked and the fringe of coastal tussac has been eaten out by the sheep. The islands are also very dry which combined with our never ending wind keeps the erosion going. We have been trying to address the problem since we bought the islands. On George we have started two tussace plantations, one is doing very well, the second is planted into pure peat and has taken but at a much slower rate. It is self seeding however and new plants are coming up but it is a massive job. Conservationist suggest that just fencing the area off from the sheep will lead to the land regenerating itself but we have had one area of approx 100 acres that has now been fenced off for eight years and absolutely nothing has grown. We believe this is because nothing can get back because of the prevailing winds. On the positive side last year we purchased our own seeder and over sowed some areas with Yorkshire fog. To many this is a weed but when you are trying to cover bare ground you have to go with something that has the best possibility of growing. We planted in bare areas, areas of sorrel, which is natures replacement but animal wise has no nutritional value and in all other areas of vegetation. We were very excited when we went out last week to see some growth in the bare ground and some in the rush but nothing in the sorrel. Christopher has read that the sorrel gives off a toxin which stops any other vegetation taking hold. This is a problem because we dont dare open the ground up because erosion would almost certainly set in immediatly. I don't think you will see the erosion problem on George Island solved in our life time but hopefully we will make a difference. We are now heading into our third week of no rain, the dryer the season the worse the erosion problem as even the sorrel can't cope and it will die off.
Lastly for today my lovely little miniature ponies came home. I have now had them for 10 months and they are at last getting the hang of the fact that coming home means treats.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Masters Degree, referendum results, a resignation

Congratulations to Tiphanie for gaining her masters degree despite the difficulties she faced during the final months. She has just returned from sea and already has the date for her next trip which is the 14th November, a quick turn around for her. She says she has brought in a strange looking fish similar to a barracuda that she was unable to identify herself, it will be interesting to see what it is.
The referendum results were as we thought with the islands retaining the two constituencies. The camp had a very high turn out of 70% showing how concerned camp residents are about a single constituency. Camp residents voted over whelmingly to keep the two constituencies with 84% saying no to the single consituency and 16% saying yes. In Stanley only 39% of residents voted with 50.2% saying yes to a single constituency and 49.8% saying yes. Christophers opinion is that it is going to come back and bite us in the arse. He believes that there will now be a move to change the make up of the legislature from its current form of 3 camp councillors and 5 Stanley councillors to 2 for camp and 6 for Stanley and that ultimately we will be worse of then having a single constituency. We will see.
Today we have had another resignation from our legislative council. This has nothing to do with yesterdays referendum but means that this will be the third by election within the two years of this council.
On the farm Christopher has helped his father butcher the beef. He has also continued with the garden and now has all the potatoes planted. I have continued with painting the exterior of the front porch. Bruce has been away fishing and is now cooking us mullet for supper.
Shaun is away contract shearing until the 15th and Tanya is in Stanley haircutting.
Lastly what has happened to my spell check. Plus

I can no longer see my pictures when I load them just a lot of google de goop meaning I can no longer write under them even though they show up fine on the blog?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Beef, gardens & a referendum

A beautiful day out here on George Island. Close to 20 degress centigrade. Christopher's father Bruce is still here with us. Bruce came out to look after the dogs and pet lambs while we were in Chile for the week. It was intended that he would stay here to unload the Eager Beaver but with the dates being pushed back he needs to get back to Stanley to plant his poly tunnels.
On Wednesday Christopher and Bruce killed a beef. It is now hanging on the palinki (that ones for you Philip), I think you will struggle to find out what that is even with the world wide web. I will give you a clue, it is a word that has been passed down from when there were gauchos on the islands. I very much doubt that it is spelt right. Last season we had a Chilean work for us for a couple of weeks and we asked him what mangera translated into and he said there was no such word. We are very fortunate here that even in summer we can leave our meat to hang outside without it getting fly blown by blue buzzers. This is because they are nearly non existent on George Island due to the quantity of little birds. The reason why I am not allowed any cats on the islands. Speedwell island however does not enjoy the same status and we could not kill beef up there at this time of year.
Christopher is now planting our gardens here on George Island and hopes to have them finished tomorrow.
I have been painting the masonry work on the front porch. It has never been done and I have been threatening it for years. We have three visits from the tourist ship Bremen this year so it will brighten the place up. George island suffers from not being the most picturesque. It is very flat with the highest point being 50 feet.
Today there is a referendum in Stanley. Currently the councillors we elect either represnt Stanley or the camp. Stanley residents vote for 5 representatives and camp residents vote for 3. The referendum is to see if the two constituencies should be demolished for a single constituency. I think there is a very high majority in Stanley who want to change to a single constituency but an equally high percentage in camp who will vote to keep the two. It is difficult, most camp people seem to believe that we need people from the camp to truelly represent them and understand the issues that affect those living in the camp and on islands. Christopher and I are split. He feels that someone from Stanley can represent us just as well and in some cases better then someone from the camp and by having a single constituency we will have a greater choice. I would love to have a greater choice but Im not sure about the single constituency, at least if our councillors live in camp or stand for the camp they are going to fight our corner but then again a Stanley councillor actually held the portfolio for agriculture this term and was very good. The camp does suffer from a lack of potential councillors standing making our choices very limited. We end up voting for people that we dont really want. We will see what the outcome is this evening, our votes are cast.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Punta Arenas

Thank you to those people who comment on my blog. For some reason I can no longer see my followers (all 9 of them) so unless a comment is left I don't know your there.
Saturday the 2nd myself, Christopher, Shaun and Tanya flew to Punta Arenas for a week. Although it was a break that wasn't the intention of the trip. Those of you following my blog will know that when Shaun was 17 he had a dreadful vehicle accident and broke his back. He was extremely fortunate and did not damage his spinal cord. He initially spent a week in hospital and then after concerns were expressed by ourselves that something wasn't right the xrays were e-mailed to a specialist in the UK who immediately sent back saying that the vertabra was extensively damaged. It was not just crushed but had a break down through it and that he should be admitted to hospital immediately for 4 to 6 weeks of total bed rest because his back was in such a precarious position. At the end of the 6 weeks we took the decision that we would pay ourselves and take Shaun to Punta Arenas to see a specialist. Fortunately the hospital decided that they would cover the costs and he duly went to Punta Arenas where he had his back scanned. The specilist said at the time that it was absolutely incredible that he was not paralized and that his back should have been pinned immediately after the accident. He remained there for a month and under went intensive physio therapy because his back was that stiff he could not even touch his knees. He then had to return at the age of 18, this he did and we covered the costs. At this point he was told he could start working again but that he should do no heavy work. He also had to return at the age of 19 and again he had another scan and was given the go ahead to start shearing again and to continue life normally but not to take part in extreme sports. This visit he paid for himself. Last week was his final check up. He paid out a hefty £800 to have his final scans, a lumbar and a dorsal, plus flights and hotel costs on top to finally be told, your back is now as good as any 21 year olds who has never had a broken back and you can do what ever you want. The specialist told him two years ago your back will be better long before your mind will accept it, this is very true because two days before his appointment we found out that Punta Arneas had opened an ice rink and Christopher and I went and had a go but Shaun said he wasnt going to because he was worried he would fall heavily. His vertabrae is now wedge shaped and he was worried the impact might make it move.
We found Punta Arenas very expensive this time. The exchange rate was very poor for us. The first time we visited it was 1,200 chilean pesos to the pound, this time it ranged between 740 - 760 to the pound.
While we were there we did a day trip to Forte Bulness. I don't recall all the history around it but it is a fascinating place.
All in all it was a good week, with good news. Christopher also visited a specialist because he has constant lower back pain. Although we had taken money to cover the cost of a scan it was not needed. Xrays showed some wear and tear and a little bit of bubbling due to a lack of calcium. He had 6 physio sessions and was told if he continued to do the physio properly his back pain would completely go. He was also told no heavy lifting though and with 5,000 sheep to be shorn between himself and Shaun I think the back pain is going to continue for a while yet.