A unique family

Living in the Falkland Islands you can’t escape the fact that there are almost as many military personnel (including the civilian staff) as there are Islanders. I’ve never worked with the military in any form other than occasionally with a colleague or two on leadership development programmes or coaching people to help them to achieve professional qualifications which will lead to a second career when they leave the Service.

This is a family of amazing people. The family goes much wider than the services alone. Spouses and families travel with serving personnel and try to create as normal a family life as possible. There are groups and clubs created around interests. No doubt there are arguments and problems but those aren’t visible to me. What I see are people living in this sometimes hostile environment – weather and facilities – having fun and getting the most out of their time here.

Any event such as a run or the mid-winter swim for charity, the services will always turn up. The great winter swim fell on a day when the weather was sunny but very cold. The waves at Surf Beach were higher than anything I’ve seen down there and yet a coach load of amazing people made their way into Stanley to take a dip – for charity and camaraderie.

Every time I fly the airbridge I will meet some people from one of the services. Without exception, people are amazing. A young man recently told me about his time in Afghanistan and how on one occasion he had lost hearing in one ear. He was with a group of chaps and initially got a ribbing because the spare seat next to him was filled with me. Not the nicest thought for a young man who was facing a seventeen and a half hour flight. He was kind, warm and chatty and told me about his family and his life in the UK living in military accommodation. I was really inspired. I get tired of the media and in particular the depictions of the services. Isn’t it about time we supported this family who train to support us?

BFBS provides the local radio stations and Jade is my favourite DJ. She’s fun and engaging and its like listening to one of my best friends chatting. On the Queens birthday she was rather surprised then pleased when the band played the Rocky theme and entertained us with a little wiggle. She interviews serving personnel about their time here and their various roles.

However, I have to say that the Forces TV channel is hilarious the listings include programmes I haven’t seen since the1970’s. I’ve often wondered if its a strategy; keep the TV banal and funny to keep tempers down. Or is it to do with funding? I guess I know the real answer, but I can’t help enjoying the image of someone in the MoD spending time psychologically assessing programmes. How they would come up with some of these choices as the best combination for relaxing and calming serving personnel is beyond me but I’m interested in your thoughts on the listings for tonight!

Maybe its entertainment all of the family can enjoy – like Disney 😉

Strangely, and rather pleasingly, BFBS Extra has season 7 Game of Thrones running. Unfortunately I missed the start of this season so won’t be able to watch now until the DVD is issued. No spoilers please.

Feeling blessed to be meeting so many wonderful people who know how to have fun, be creative and support each other.



First fortnight

falklands-keynote-jpeg-001 falklands-keynote-jpeg-002Where to start?
50 hours passed from my leaving home and arriving in the Falkland Islands to find a house strewn with open and unopened boxes.

Two weeks on, the contents and I have a new home in the most beautiful part of the world.

Sewing and quilting are great icebreakers and I’ve already met the quilting queen of the South who does the most amazing pieces. I’ve not yet made it to the spinners and weavers portakabin!

Living so far south and in such an isolated spot brings with it many challenges I hadn’t anticipated such as a lack of coat hangars. Our shipment of Ikea curtains for the rooms cant easily be sent back (they are double the required length) so we have to alter each one which is a painstaking task. I am helped by a wonderful Chilean woman who has made the task more of a competition and definitely more fun.

Cellphone registrations to be made, new accounts to be set up. Its a cash economy in most shops so I’ve had to open a new bank account. All of this is so much easier and quicker than in the UK.

Most importantly I’ve made time to visit the local penguin colony and love to how each day they are preparing themselves for winter. I am starting to look forward to September when they will return or awake from hibernation. The weather is variable and I am glad that I made the penguins a priority over everything else.

I miss all my friends and hope that they can share in this beautiful adventure by following my posts.