£27,562 average salary in Stanley!

A recent census shows that the population of the Falkland Islands is growing.

The average age is 38.5 years. We are living in a young country where the youngsters are mainly very well educated. Young people leave the island for secondary school and go to the UK where they board. That and their tertiary education is funded by the FI government. Most will return to the islands.

People from different countries are needed to keep the country going – they have employment shortages and have to bring people from overseas. In a country where many people are related, its probably good for the gene pool too.

No joke here, thats what a local recently told me, and he’s dating someone new to the islands.

So far I’ve met people from St Helena, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Philippines, Chile, Argentina (yes really – a racing driver who few over on his private jet with a film crew).

People here refer to Stanley and Camp. Camp is everything outside of Stanley so its the farming areas. I will be going on Camp next week.

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.

OMG

Less than 26 hours to go to commence my journey to the FI. My fitness plans astray after the various hotel stays associated with my work in January will resume as soon as I arrive. A hectic weekend of packing followed by two days revising my packed choices and I still have 5 kilos over the allowed 54! Deeply indebted to Sonya for her help over the past few weeks. My current displacement activity is to check out the FI webcam. No movement on the jetty for several weeks until today. Boat loads of tourists who are probably on their way to South Georgia and Antarctica are milling around in the sunshine. If I get too isolated I may well join them.

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One boats already left the jetty – they don’t spend long.

 

Loving the theatre 2016

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So 2016’s been a year of loss of great talent. Its also been a year where other great talents have inspired me. I will miss London’s theatres. Its where I go with friends for joy, beauty, learning and to be challenged. I’ve seen Mark Rylance, in  Nice Fish. Sat behind Mark Rylance and his highly creative wife watching Minefield at the Royal Court Theatre. I’ve watched women sewing on stage, fighting for their lives and falling in love. Its been a joyous year of amazing theatre, dance and music.

Getting Fit

12 weeks to get myself ready for the Falklands and the many walks I intend to take. Delighted to be back in the gym. Not my best look. Will post with progress updates. Well its Boxing Day and as you can imagine terrible damage to the regimen. Morning walk with brother in law won’t make a bit of difference to my waist but great for my spirit.

A special place

34 years ago I first heard about ….

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34 years ago the Falkland Islands became a daily part of my early working life.  It seemed very far away but I remember feeling scared for the people living there. In May, I saw Minefield  at the Royal Court theatre. The play gave me some indication of the experiences of that time.

Fast forward 34 years and I am now preparing to travel to  the islands. There’s lots to do to get ready and I am starting to feel a mix of excitement and the odd tinge of anxiety.

Mostly I feel excited and look forward to seeing the wildlife, the scenery, the crafts and meeting people. So far everyone’s been very friendly and helpful. Now I need to get my planning and packing sorted so I make the best use of my time there.

At the time of writing there is a 3 hour time difference between the UK and Stanley so no reason for us to lose contact. Current time in Stanley