Thursday, December 31, 2009

Allen's 39th Birthday


Allen celebrated his 39th Birthday yesterday. He had a relaxing start with coffee and bacon sandwiches in bed. He then went off to the gym for 2 hours. I made him prawn sandwiches with a special homemade seafood sauce in for lunch and then we went off to the beach again. It was very different to the day before weather wise. It was blowing a gale and a bit damp! We did however see a king penguin, some gentoos and some magellanics. I've not seen all of those at Burtha's before so I was impressed. The kids had fun playing in the sand. Unfortunately it was too rough for the dolphins.

We then went to the cafe for cakes and I cooked a fish tea that everyone enjoyed. We made Allen a ghost cake and put candles that were like sparklers in - I've included a photo of Allen and the kids with the cake and one from the beach.

We then watched the new Star Trek film which I really enjoyed (I slept through the last one I watched!).

Happy New Year everyone


Grandma's Arrival


Grandma Melrose arrived safely on Monday afternoon. The airbridge down here is currently a bit all over the place. FlyGlobeSpan went bust, that's the airline that was used from here to the UK. So now it's any airline they can get! Marion came on HiFly. It had rained all day but as she landed it cleared up and was a lovely calm evening. The next day was sunny so we got the key for the beach and headed down there. It was beautiful, calm (unusual) and sunny. We same loads of dolphins. I've included one of a jumping dolphin. They were really showing off, splashing their tails and swimming through the waves. We also saw a group of penguin swimming. I've also put in a photo of Marion and the kids on the beach and one of just the beach as it looked so good!

Christmas 2009


We had a very Merry time over Christmas. Jacob and Abi were up at 5am, I couldn't believe it! Santa had delivered a stocking to their bedrooms, a mistake on his part I think. They'd opened this and were outside our room by 5.30am. I was annoyed I'd missed the present opening but luckily Santa had delivered another stocking under the tree in the lounge so at least I saw them opening that one. So they were in front of a Spongbob DVD by 7am and we were back to bed!

We gradually opened presents during the morning. I've put in a photo of Jacob playing with his favourite present - his Playmobil house and accessories, a brilliant ebay purchase. The other is of Abi in her pink roller boots. She wore them all day.

Our babysitter came around at 11.30 for bucks fizz and Jacob and Abi decorated Christmas biscuits. At 12.30 we went a couple of houses up the road for our big Christmas celebration. Lunch with 33 was fun, loud and definitely not boring! Joss had set a table for 13 kids in the conservatory and another one for 20 adults in the lounge/dining room. One family had done starter for everyone, very tasty and then we progressed with other families bringing dishes for main course and then pudding. We took gammon, mince pies and brownies. There was loads of food and lots of wine flowing. We staggered home at 7pm to watch Dr Who - I slept through it and had to watch the repeat! I've put in a photo of me and Allen at the dining table and one more of the kids in front of the tree at our house.

Hope everyone had a Happy Christmas!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Santa at MPA!

Jacob and Abi went to the children's Christmas party on base today. It was a lovely weather day so I walked across with them. They then played outside in a courtyard for most of the party. Lots of the adults were hung over from the Christmas do at the Mess. Allen went into work and to the gym so he missed it all. I enjoyed chatting and sitting in the sun. Santa arrived and gave out all the gifts. I've put in a photo of Jacob and Abi with Santa and then one of Jacob pulling a cracker - a great face on him! A busy week ahead leading up to Christmas Day when we're sharing dinner with 33 neighbours. Have a Merry time everyone,

Last days in Chile.


On the Wednesday we went back to Lago Grey and did the walk to the icebergs and then the children played in the sand dunes for an hour or so while I slept in the sun and Allen read his book. We then had a picnic in the forest and did another hike to a nearby campsite. It was relaxing and fun. The only down side of the park was no ice cream places and it being very dusty and dirty. Not many people spoke English and we know no Spanish so I felt quite thick alot of the time. It made me want to learn the language so I'll be looking into that - when I have the time! Thursday was a day around our cabin. We did a walk up the nearby hill and a wander along the river. Jacob and Abi, once again, spent alot of their time with the kittens and dogs. They were both keen to take a kitten home on the plane, luckily I persuaded them not to. I've included photos of J&A with the dog and kittens and one of an over all view from above where we were staying. We drove back to Punta and popped into the town for lunch. Managed to buy J&A shoes while we were there. Had our last night back at La Casa Escondida, again with excellent BBQ. We then flew out on the Saturday arriving back in time for me to have my hair cut for our Christmas do at the Mess that evening. It was a good holiday followed by a fun night out with friends.
One more post to end the week and it's seeing Santa!....

Glacier Grey


On Tuesday we decided to do the Glacier Grey boat trip. We had a lazy morning at our cabin - Hosteria Tyndall, where Jacob and Abi played with the 2 Labradors and 4 stray kittens. They built the kittens a little house. I was amazed that the kittens let them pick them up and cart them around without too much scratching. We had a drink in the hotel before we set sail. We were the only Brits on the trip, the rest were German. We went past a few icebergs on the way to the glacier. Allen was in charge of the camera so there are no photos of them. A shame really as they were really dark blue due to their age. We stopped en route to pick up some campers from a camp site on the lake's edge - German too. Abi had a great time playing with the microphone and singing Christmas songs. Jacob did drawing most of the time plus a few songs too! Allen and I enjoyed the views. When we got to the glacier we had lots of photo opportunities, it was strange as it's actually quite dirty and ridged close up. It is also lots of different shades of blue. I've put in a photo of Allen and Abi in front of a part of the glacier and one of me and Allen enjoying a pisco sour - Chilean drink with Glacial ice in it. I had had a pisco sour in the Falklands as one of our neighbours had been posted there but this one was lovely as it was made with fresh lemons. Allen and I actually had about 3 pisco sours so the rest of the journey was very enjoyable! There's also a photo of J&A on the boat in their life jackets.
Next post our last days in Chile...

First hike in Torres Del Paine


Our first proper day in the park was lovely. Sunny but windy, which we're used to living in the Falklands. I've included a photo of me and the children as we'd just driven through the entrance to the Park with the main mountains in the background. The views were all stunning and the colours were amazing. We then drove to the parking area of the Salto Grande - Big Falls. It was very windy walking up to the falls but they were good to look at. Nothing like Niagara but good all the same! We then did a 4 km hike to Mirador Cuernos, stopping on the way by the side of a lake for a picnic lunch. I've added a photo of me and the kids near the waterfall and one of us on the walk and the final one is us at the end. We then had to walk all the way back to the car, not too many moans due to bribes with chocolate buttons. We went back to our cabin where the children loved exploring outside. It is set on the River Serrano, a huge river with good fishing apparently.

Next post Lago Grey Glacier....

First day at Torres Del Paine, Chile.


On Sunday we drove to Portes Natales. It's about 2 and a bit hours from Punta and is a tourist town for the park. It was election day so the supermarket didn't open until 3pm. We found a cafe for lunch and waited until the shops opened. Being election day also meant we couldn't buy alcohol which was a pain. Then we set off for the National Park - Torres Del Paine. It was an hour and a half on gravel roads, just like the Stanley Road (Dad you'd have loved it!) The first photo is of us on the way into the area with Lake Toro in the background, the colours are amazing. So we arrived very dusty. We had booked self catering, the only self catering around. It was just outside the boundary to the park itself. It was an older place and was a bit run down but was just what we needed. We had a 2 bedroomed cabin and then went in to the main hotel for breakfast. On arrival we were the only people there but, as the week went on, more people arrived. I've also put in a photo of the view from our cabin with strange clouds and one of Allen and the kids outside the cabin. Next will be our first proper day in the park....

Chile 2009

I am doing 5 posts to cover the last week as I have so many photos I want to include! We flew to Punta Arenas last Saturday. It was the quickest flight that we had done in a while being a fast hour and 15 mins, the kids couldn't get over the fact that we got a drink and a snack, read 2 stories and we had landed. They didn't even get time to go to the loo on board. Anyway we arrived at Punta, Chile around 5pm. The plane we got off was going up to Santiago so as we waited for our bags we were a bit worried when one didn't arrive. A lot of arm movements and waving of tickets and someone went to find our lost bag - I wasn't that bothered as it was all of Allen and Jacob's clothes in the missing bag! Anyway 30 mins later it did appear. The person meeting us at the airport spoke excellent English - not a common thing in Chile as we found out. He helped with the retrieval of the lost bag and then drove us to his Bed and Breakfast. We were greeted with beer - always a good sign in my books. It was a lovely place, all wooden set in a forest with play bits for the children. We were the only people that night so they gave us 2 ensuite rooms next to each other. They cooked a tasty BBQ for us that night and brought their children around - Deigo and Vincente, we didn't see the kids until bed time and it was great! I've put in a photo of Abi outside the B&B, all built by the owner. There's also one of them in the tyre climbing thing and one of us enjoying breakfast. So we had a brilliant relaxing start to our holiday. Torres Del Paine next.......

Friday, December 11, 2009

My 2 Angels!


Christmas is upon us in the Falklands, strange as it's not dark until 9.30pm and the weather has improved 100% as it's stopped snowing! Jacob and Abi did their Christmas Nativity/7 lessons and carols show at school. It was held in the church and they had lit it nicely and used black out blinds. Jacob was the thousands of angels and Abi was angel Gabriel. I think they had chosen Abi due to her blonde hair and she probably is an angel at school but I reckon she would have been better placed as a little devil at present! So Abi did have a bit to say and she did it brilliantly. The singing was excellent too and we are all still humming along to some of the tunes. It was well rehearsed but I think J&A are pleased it's over and they could get back to normal things at school. I've put a group shot in and one of just my angels too.

They also had an end of term assembly where J&A got their level 2 waterskills badges. They are great swimmers and will beat me easily pretty soon, must get their water skills from their Dad I think, I am a good floater though! So the other photo is from the assembly. Abi also got her smiley card 5 and Jacob his number 6 so all is going well at school. Both J&A's best friends left over the last few weeks. Abi is missing Emma loads and Jacob's a bit lost without Harry. I know they'll sort themselves out especially as we've got a month off now.

Pre school was hectic this last week. We didn't have time to get everything done as planned and our Nativity was a bit different with our crocodile and fairy instead of sheep and kings - oh well I loved it and so did they. Everyone stayed for lunch afterwards and played outside as we've got lovely sunshine at present.

We go to Chile for a week tomorrow so the next post will be about that. I'm so looking forward to a week away with the family. It's been very busy socially here recently so a break will do us all good.

Have fun decorating for Christmas


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Jacob's Birthday - a bit late!

Jacob celebrated his 7th Birthday while I was in South Georgia. He had a party at the bowling alley on base for all of his class and then, on his actual birthday, he had a friend (Harry) and his brother (Ben) round for tea. I felt bad for missing it but I think Jacob had a wonderful time on both days. After bowling they went to the cafe for chicken nuggets and chips - his favourite!
I did phone him from the ship each day so I knew what was going on. Mum had to make 3 lots of cakes, the party one was a coffin, his actual day a number 7 cake and then cup cakes to take into school too - no silly rule out here that you can't take cakes into school thankfully.
Allen was in charge of photos so of course there aren't many! I've included on of him and Abi on the 10th Nov, one of Jacob in his new top sent by his friend Jacob in Arizona and one of him with his number 7 cake. Luckily lovely friends here helped out with the party so it was well in control even though I was away, so thank you Jacqueline and Dianne.
Hoping I don't ever miss another of their birthdays.
PS will add the photos later as it's playing up!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pebble with Grandma and Grandad.

We had a busy 3 days at Pebble Island. We were meant to be there for 2 nights but it was extended to 3 due to rubbish weather so the helicopter couldn't fly to come and get us. Pebble is about a 30 min flight from base. The helicopter flies pretty low so you get great views on the way. Allen had to cancel coming due to an important visitor coming to base. We were delayed on the way out due to a leak in the gear box, this, of course, filled me with confidence as I love to fly at the best of times! So after a 2 hour delay we got to Pebble. It's about 19 miles in length, you stay at a lodge that is fully catered. We walked to a beautiful beach where Jacob and Abi played in the sand dunes while Mum and Dad walked to the water. The next day we did a 4 by 4 tour of the island. Two cars went, we were with a bloke called Ken who had been on Pebble during the 1982 conflict. He was very interesting and great with the kids. He lost his hearing in one ear due to a bomb dropping in the harbour on the Island. There is a memorial to the HMS Conventry which sank in May 1982 15 miles off Pebble. Only 20 people died on that day which is amazing as it only took 35 mins oft the ship to sink. We also got to see lots of penguins. We actually saw all 5 types that live on the Falklands so that was great for Mum and Dad. So we saw Magellanic, gentoos, kings, rockhoppers and one macaroni. I have included photos from the rockhopper colony - a huge area. You could get really close to the wildlife, as you can hopefully tell from photos. The next day we were meant to be flying back but by 2pm they had decided to not fly. Ken kindly took us out again and we went and saw another rockhopper colony that also had cormorants inbetween then. So we were lucky to get another day. The couple who run Pebble were lovely and Abi spent a lot of the time in the kitchen playing with their dog and keeping Jacqui company.

Mum and Dad have had rubbish weather but, over the last few days, it's cleared up. So they went up on a VC10, my idea of hell, but they loved it! They got to see Typhoons refuel mid air and sit behind the pilot. Dad also got to go fishing but he didn't catch anything!

I have loved having them here, I have been completely spoilt so it's going to be hard as they leave tomorrow along with Allen who's in the UK for a week to have his MRI scan on his knee. I'll let you know what happens. I'm off out on Saturday night for an informal curry night and then the rest of the week will be busy as usual. I am hosting a farewell to the Station Commander's wife next Friday and then there's a dinner in the mess to say farewell on the Saturday.

Only 2 weeks left of school so we start Christmas next week, I love it all so I don't mind being early!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

South Georgia

I have just returned from a once in a lifetime trip to South Georgia. First of all South Georgia is a small island 800 miles South East of the Falkland Islands. I managed to get aboard warship HMS Gloucester that was on a manoeuvre down there. It was all luck as the lady that was meant to go fell pregnant and she wasn't allowed so I was asked last minute. Mum and Dad were down here visiting so I had built in child care as Allen cannot guarantee to be around when needed.

So it took 3 days to get down to the Antarctic. Once we crossed the Antarctic Convergence Zone we were on iceberg watch, a bit scary but the crew worked like a well oiled machine it was amazing to watch. There were 21 guests on board although there were only 9 of us in the officers part. I shared a cabin with another wife called Mel. There were only us two as wives the rest were mainly service personnel. We were very lucky as we got on like a house on fire and did everything on offer.

I've included a photo of a glacier as we arrived in South Georgia, a beautiful sight. We stopped at Grytvikin which is where the British Antarctic Survey people are based. We anchored off shore for 2 days and I went ashore both days. I saw king penguins, elephant seals, fur seals and albatross. There's also a museum there, a post office, a whaling station and a church. We had a remembrance service in the church, a strange experience as when we had the 2 min silence I looked out of the window and saw 3 king penguins wandering past! Another of the photos is of me taking a photo of one king penguin in the snow. As you can see we had varied weather but it didn't stop us doing anything.

We also got to have a helicopter trip over South Georgia. I've put a photo in of the helicopter getting ready to go off the end of the ship. The helicopter ride was great, South Georgia is truly beautiful. We also stopped at Gold Bay where there was a colony of over 50,000 king penguins plus 1000's of elephant seals. They were all burping and farting so it was very noisy and smelly!

We finally stopped in Leith Harbour and then moved to Stromness Harbour. We got to go ashore again and sat amongst the fur seals that smell like skunks and are quite violent if provoked.

While on board we got major tours of the ship. I helped out in the galley and made cakes for 240 people - harder than it sounds. We had a go at driving too, more stressful than I imagined. So as you can probably tell I had a brilliant time. I couldn't have gone if it wasn't for Mum, Dad and Allen so I owe them a major thank you. They have also had rubbish weather since I've been away. I obviously missed everyone loads and felt really bad for missing Jacob's birthday. I will put some photos on from his birthday next! Didn't get sea sick at all which was good as it was pretty rough. Did see one bloke throw up so people were definitely feeling bad.

Off to Pebble island tomorrow so I will include some photos of Mum and Dad in the next post.
Hope all is well.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Half Term

Well we have had a week off and, as usual, it has flown past. We began half term at Race Point Farm. They have a 2 bedroomed self catering cottage so we stayed 2 nights. We ate with Michelle, John and Tahlia each night so it felt like more of a break for me! We all enjoyed our time away, Jacob and Abi loved the quad bikes - photos of Abi on her own and Jacob on with John. Jacob did drive the smaller one on his own too. Allen enjoyed the 2 long walks we did, one to the coast and the other up Finlay Ridge. I liked not cooking and meeting new people. I've put in a photo from the cottage. They had horses as well as cows and sheep so we've booked to go back in December so we can go horse riding.

On the way back to base we stopped off at Goose Green to look at the sheep shearing. It was not what I'd expected. They all shear in a long row and don't speak, it's so busy. They also cut the sheep quite a lot and just sew them up with needle and thread. It was pretty bloody. I wasn't keen but Jacob and Abi loved it. The shearers get 60p a fleece and it takes about 2mins to shear a sheep. It smelt of sheep dip, the sheep were very well behaved once they were flipped over. Glad I've seen it, I was thinking of doing a pre school trip to see shearing but I think it's a bit too bloody for them.

The last 2 days of the holiday were spent on base as the weather was good and the children were all playing out together. We were out for 2 nights, a leaving thing and a welcome one. Both good nights, one Thai and one Mexican.

Halloween dawned with Abi rushing in to our room shouting happy Halloween we opened the curtains to find snow on the ground and more falling! We'd decorated the house beautifully - thank you Auntie Wendy and to Jim for sending us bits and pieces that were all well used. Abi wanted to go trick and treating at 7am but, as she was off to a 5th Birthday party, I managed to keep her in normal clothes until 5.30 pm when we met up with 15 other children and Mums for a mass trick or treating. It was great fun except for the freezing weather. It snowed, hailed and rained on us during our hour out! Everyone came back to us afterwards for food and drinks, 30 people half of whom were high on sugar! It was brilliant fun though and everyone left happy, tired and full up! So the other photo is of us before going trick and treating.

Sunday was a clear up morning: 30 people made their mark. We then went into Stanley for a swimming party. They had a huge inflatable thing for the children to play on. Abi was fine until she bumped her teeth. She's lost one top front tooth already and we'll be off to the dentist again tomorrow as the bang has put it at a weird angle again. They had a brilliant time and Allen and I managed to go for lunch, lovely organic beef burger. Jacob was on the inflatable for the whole hour, he loved it.

So Mum and Dad will be here tomorrow, I'm very excited. My other bit of news is I'm off to South Georgia (near the South Pole) on the HMS Gloucester on Friday 6th Nov. I'm away for 10 to 12 days. I will miss Jacob's birthday and I wouldn't be doing this unless Mum and Dad were here to help out with Jacob and Abi. I should be taking some amazing photos down there. It will be strange seeing penguins in the snow and icebergs. I'm going to miss the kids and Allen loads, I've only ever done 2 nights away before but it's an opportunity of a lifetime so I'm taking it. Will post once I have some photos of the grandparents!


Monday, October 19, 2009

Another Celebration Assembly.

Hi Everyone

We've had another busy week which finished with Jacob and Abi's school Celebration Assembly. These are get togethers at school when the parents come in a see what the children have been doing and the certificates are given out. Jacob and Abi's topic has been about the Great Fire of London in 1666. They have learnt a lot and so have we! Did you know only 6 people died in the fire, even though most of London had to be rebuilt. Anyway, they were both in a play written by the children about the fire. Jacob was Thomas, the baker who was responsible for the fire, and Abi was his wife. They were brilliant and I've included a photo from their performance. Abi was brought in 2 days before the performance as 2 children suddenly went on holiday, so she was given a certificate for doing so well. They both got their smiley certificates - an ongoing reward system in their class. Jacob got his number 5 which meant he got a dib in the treasure box. He came back with a packet of jumping beans! Abi got her number 4 smiley. There is a photo of them getting these certificates too.

On Saturday afternoon we went to a Fun Day at Port Harriet - a field on the way to Stanley. It was very windy and strange. Not what we had expected. It was literally a big gathering with a BBQ, sheep and lots of Falkland Islanders drinking. Jacob did a potato and spoon race and won. Abi just jumped up and down on a big blue mat. We lasted 20 mins and then went back to the cafe on base for cakes! That night Allen and I went to Trafalgar Night in the Mess. A good night. I sat next to a Naval Officer called Alan Wilson and an Army Officer. The Navy bloke was nice to chat to but the Army officer was very Army. He's itching to go to Afghanistan even though he has 2 young kids and a wife, I don't understand it, but as he said, it's what he's joined up to do. He doesn't want to be down here, so funnily enough I found him hard to talk to. Had a fun evening though, never been to a Navy night before, lots of booze and singing. I was good and stopped drinking at the end of the meal unlike Allen who has suffered today. Allen has been good though as he took the children swimming with a hangover while I went to pre school. Had lunch altogether at the Mess and ended up in the cafe again!
Abi and I had an arty session this afternoon. We made plaster of paris magnet things and windmills, there's a photo of Abi with hers.

Busy with pre school stuff this week, half term the following week when we are off staying at 2 different farms.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gappy Abi!


Abi has 'lost' her top tooth. It was loose but, with a helpful hit from Jacob, it stuck at a weird angle. It kept bleeding when she ate anything and looked very strange. Allen phoned our dentist (I have his 2 little boys in pre school) and, luckily, he had a free hour. So Allen took her up, I was actually in the gym, and he decided to pull it out. They did numb it but he pulled it out with his finger so it was pretty wobbly. Abi was very brave, Allen not so much - I learnt this from the dentist who I phoned to see what had happened. Allen and Abi went to the cafe afterwards and Abi managed a whole big cake so I wasn't too worried about her! I've included a photo of her on a friend's trampoline, dressed as a wizard with her gap showing.

Have also been to the Conservation Ball since updating the blog. It was a fun night. We even got our picture in the Penguin news = the only paper printed in the Falklands. I've been to book club, read one about a Chinese Dancer, very good, especially as I thought I would hate it! Also had a ladies dinner that was good too.

Had children for a sleep over on Saturday. They were very well behaved, except Abi. The 3 boys did as they were told but Abi was Abi really. She was up at 4am and, after I gave her a cuddle, went back to sleep until 6am - great fun. We were then at a 4th birthday party the next day and Abi lost it because she was so tired. Jacob went to the cinema with Allen; Allen had organised a Dad's day to see Transformers 2 - mainly for the dads I reckon.

Had parent conferences today. Their teacher gave them glowing reports. It was nice to hear that about Jacob as his behaviour at school last term was a problem. The worst thing about Abi was that she takes a while to get in from playtime because she is so busy talking to everyone on the way - wonder where she gets that from??!!

So Allen's out tonight with work, I'm off to a ladies drink thing Tuesday and it's Trafalgar Night Saturday so we're busy as ever.

Hope all is well


Saturday, September 26, 2009

I've pulled a Tornado!


Well today I managed to pull a Tornado, not on my own of course, with a team of 10 ladies. It was a lot harder than I thought for, but we did the 30 metres in 2.07 mins. There were two ladies teams and we beat the other team. To start with the rope was very thick and rather wet. Next we were all a bit close together and I was worried I'd be treading on people's feet and thirdly it was extremely heavy! I've put in a few photos of the day. It was all for charity and was good fun. There's a party here today to say goodbye to the Tornado's as that particular type of fast jet has been decommissioned. The new type of jet (not allowed to put the name according to Allen) arrived last week, just another fast jet to me but everyone seems very excited about them.

I've also put in a couple of photos from Jacob and Abi's assembly on Friday. It was the school's 21st birthday so they had a party day. Jacob got another certificate and they both got one to commemorate the 21st birthday. Off ten pin bowling later as Jacob got his 20 star stickers. Tomorrow we are going to our first Conservation Group meeting. Jacob has joined for the year and it's a meet and greet session. Abi's off swimming with Allen. So lets hope the snow stops for our drive into Stanley tomorrow, yes it's been a snowy day here today. Hoping for sun again soon.