Monday, September 3, 2012


It's not often we have visitors but when we do they seem to arrive altogether.  On the 31st we had a small contingent of 2 para visit Barren Island and George Island.  We have come to the conclusion that we are not very observant.  The helicopter dropped them off on Barren in the morning and picked them up at 3 in the afternoon to bring them over onto George Island.  We did not hear the helicopter until it was coming in to land here.  It is difficult to imagine how we did not hear it as Barren is only a stones throw away. They were a really nice bunch.  These days you hardly get any infantry that were born before the Falklands conflict.  This group was no different with the oldest of the patrol being only 2 years old during the conflict.  2 para stayed with us for the night and used the shearing shed for shelter, cooking and sleeping.
On the 1st we had a visit from a shore party from HMS Clyde.  We were hoping she would come in close but she stayed a long way off shore and continued to steam up and down while the shore party were here.  The party consisted of 4 individuals, 3 men and 1 women.  The 2 para patrol consisted of 9 men.
On the farm we started to gather the ewes in to crutch them ready for lambing.  It has been a good season with regards to keeping the rams in and we had no escapees on either here or Speedwell so we are confident about when the first lambs are due.  Our first lambs on George are due on the 1st October with the last being due 6 weeks later.  As usual nothing ever goes to plan.  This year the ewes are in excellent condition, over weight and very heavy in lamb.  Despite going out and allowing them to start coming home at their own pace we had 4 die in quick succession.  The first one we opened up to find she was carrying twins.  The decision was made to abandon the gather.  It's great that the ewes are in such good condition coming out of the winter.  There are several reasons for this.  The first being an extremely mild winter with very few frosts the second being the poor lambing last year due to the bad weather we had during the lambing period last season.  With so many ewes losing their lambs last season they ran dry throughout the summer allowing them to bump up their fat reserves.
Those of you who read my blog regularly will recall that I went to Stanley to work for the FIC, West Store for 3 months.  Over the 3 months I ended up learning 3 new jobs.  The first was a nice little job it involved ordering up replenishment stock and basically goods receiving it into the West Store when it arrived.  There were a few parts of the job that I wasn't shown as I was only doing it for 6 weeks.  I would class it as equivalent to a school leavers job.  It was a busy little job but easy to learn and get to grips with.  After 6 weeks I moved out off that job to work as stock controller to cover for the original stock controller who was going on holiday.  We only had a 3 day handover but it is one of those jobs that you cant really teach somebody anyway.  The stock takes were scheduled pretty much for 1 every day.  I started off with a couple that went extremely well and felt quite confident but it wasn't always like that.  Some of the stock takes were difficult.  I had difficulties finding some of the products if they were stored in the stockrooms which are old and rambling.  If I was lucky the girls that helped me with the counts would know where to find everything but sometimes even they didn't know where to find what I was looking for and sometimes of course items were just plain missing.  In these cases I had to trawl back through all the data on the computer trying to find out what had happened to it.  All in all it was a challenging job which I was still learning right up until I finished.  It's a job where you have to learn to think outside the box and I was still very much learning to doing that.
The third job I took on was offered to me as an extra.  It was considerably better paid and the very basic description was it's just putting a few invoices on for the fishing agency.  It was a much, much bigger job then that and I ended up some days working a 12 hour day.  I would start my stock control job at 6:45am and work until 3:30 then drive down to the FIC bottom office and work until 6 or 7pm.  My initial reaction to the job was I can do that I already use Sage accounts.  I knew it would be different because I use a small business package and they use a big business package.  The biggest problem with the job was there was no handover at all, the previous person had already left.  The invoicing was way behind and it was not just a simple case of drawing up an invoice. The invoices had to be grouped together for the different ships from the fishing fleet that operate in the Falklands fishing zones.  It was a nightmare.  In fact after the first evening of trying to sort out invoices I went home and thought I'm never going to sleep again.  I'm not that easily daunted but I just thought I don't need this.  I just felt there was already that much work already there that was already way behind that I couldn't see myself getting my head above water.  I am a pretty decisive person so I went in the next evening and said the jobs not for me.  That should have been that but I then had a call asking if the work was brought up to date and if the invoices were presented sorted and in the ships folder ready for invoicing would I have another go.  Always a sucker for a bit off extra money against my better judgement I said yes.  That was fine, the invoicing was brought up to date by someone else who had also been doing it on a part time basis and the work started arriving in folders ready for invoicing.  Simple you would think. No, not really.  Some services provided to the fishing fleet had commission to be added some didn't.  There was no one their that actually knew.  Don't get me wrong there were people there that tried to help me and could help me with some aspects of the job but no-one that had actually done the job in it's entirety.  The work would arrive in fits and starts.  I went from one day feeling pretty smug because I felt I had caught everything up and was even finding time to get down to the more minor things like filing and then coming in the next evening to find 56 different ships files on the desk. These files can have anything from 1 invoice that needs entering up to probably in the region of 20. Even this would have been okay but in the first instance each ships invoices has to be entered onto a control sheet on excel, from the control sheet they would then go onto the sage system.  After the invoice was drawn up the suppliers that needed paying would then have to be entered onto the purchase ledger.  It was a big job.  Six weeks was no were long enough to learn it and because there was no one to teach it it was a bit of a suck it and see.  When I finished at the end of July I was just starting to get stuff back that was incorrect.  It was bound to happen but it makes you feel incompetent through no real fault of your own. I know that I was not the only one that it had happened to as I had spent the first  hour of my first evening doing credit notes to correct errors from the previous occupant of what was a very hot seat.  All in all I think it is a job that would be quite enjoyable if you had the time to learn it properly although I think it would always be quite challenging.  I went through days of quite enjoying it to ones where I was thoroughly pissed off.  The one thing I got out of that job and the stock controller job was that I would like to do a course to learn to use excel properly.  So that was my 3 months winter work in Stanley.


  1. I have been wondering what you have been doing both in town and now at the farm. You seem busy. The military make strange tourists but no doubt they are interesting.

    It is interesting how we must always remind ourselves of what another generation knows. When I lived in a black community in New Haven, when Parker was only one of four white kids in a kindergarten of 64, I asked one of the neighbourhood who Martin Luther King was, after whom the school was named. To my amazement he had never heard of him. What ! a black kid who did not know about this civil rights hero?? You would think knowing about him would be in his genes. Then I realized he was born 9 years after Dr. King was murdered. He missed out on he beloved feeling I had for that saintly man.

    Concerning your request for me to look for seed in Canada, I am waiting to hear back from two promising sources who might be able to suggest a source. I have not given up.

  2. Hi Philip,
    I have good intentions of blogging more regular again now but I never seem to carry them out. Christopher and Shaun were also very busy over the 3 months that I was in Stanley and I have quite a few things regarding the farm to up-date on.
    Thank you for looking into the seed for us.

  3. Never seen blog about this 'super' remote island...thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for your comment. I have good intentions of blogging more regular again but we are having huge problems connecting and staying connected to the internet at the moment.