Monday, January 11, 2010

Initially on Friday John had taken the afternoon off and we had planned to head into Stanley. Unfortunately John ended up having to host a visit and we postponed the trip until Saturday. It was a really changeable day with the biggest hail storms I have ever seen again and then heat haze off the rocks. It certainly makes for interesting driving here.
One of the things that keeps rolling through my mind as you travel about here is how massive the skies are. When you talk about big skies you are definitely talking about the Falklands. Whether it is because the landscape is all very similar and you just notice them more or I just became used to viewing the sky in England with buildings at the periphery I am not sure but god they are beautiful and they don't half make you feel small.

You can see the weather roll in from miles away and watch the rain showers heading towards you. The clouds spin along at quite a rate of knots making everything more impressive. The road to Stanley takes around an hour to drive. It is restricted to 40 mph and for good reason. The road varies from tarmac to gravel and back again continously. Depending on the weather they can be smooth (if just graded) or pot holed. If the road has just been resurfaced then you can very easily skid across its surface. At either side of the road are massive ditches which are car right off territory. The road is frequently closed to all vehicles if it is deemed to be to dangerous.

On Sunday we headed back to Bertha's beach as a family and to the left hand fork to go and look at the Gentoo Penguin colony. We bundled up in waterproofs and winter hats as the rain showers had been rolling through all morning. It is about two miles up the beach and thankfully the wind was behind us and we only had a few light rain showers. We started to see larger groups of penguins on the beach and then saw a procession heading inland to their nesting ground. Ellie counted over 320 penguins between the beach and the hill. There are still babies there but they have almost lost all their downey fluff.

I find the penguins absolutely comedic. You cannot help but smile when you see them waddling their way along the beach. Yes their feet and beaks are that orange. Although you cannot get particularly close to them they don't seem to bothered to have people around.

Maddie spent much of her time making sand angels up and down the beach and chasing her hat that kept flying off! Euan and Ellie headed over to the dunes to explore and later ended up have to wade over a water inlet. We all had very very soggy wet feet by the time we headed home.
I make no comment about how I got mine but I am sure John would tell you the story of me trying to jump over the inlet and then landing face first in the sand and water!

John and Euan enjoyed jumping, running and tumbling down the dunes which are really deep and soft. We started to head back up the beach which was slow progress as the wind was now in our faces. After three hours of solid walking in a round trip we made it back to the landrover. We asked the kids what the best part of the day was and they all replied it was driving back over the rough terrain in Dad's landrover. They bounced, splashed and giggled their way through the twenty minute journey. I tried to ask them are they sure, did they not like seeing the penguins and we had a yeah suppose so! Heaven help us. Well Mum and Dad enjoyed seeing them, I still find it surreal being here and seeing these sights.

As we headed back onto camp we had the mandatory wash down of vehicles to make. They have a great big drive through pit which washes the underneath of the vehicles off. The kids were screaming faster, faster as we sent a bow wave around us. Euan and Ellie argued over who was going to use the pressure washer first but was beaten to it by Dad who of course, had to spray everyone else with much glee.

Ellie tried to hide behind the wall but still got soaked. You can just see the drive through pit behind Ellie the otherside of the black and yellow post.

She then took great pleasure in squirting Mum who was safely sat inside the Landrover but hadn't realised the windows leaked badly, nice one.
The prior weekend we headed over to 1435 Flight which is the Eurofighter squadron here and that can be seen on the childrens blog.
Last night we had several of the squadron bosses over for dinner and I actually managed to pull together a half decent meal. We had curried scallops to start but I only had mild curry powder and it wasn't quite hot enough. For mains we had cheesy potatoes with fillet steak (only £7 for four steaks!!) and I had a go at making a pepper sauce which turned out alright. For dessert their was apple and cinnamon crumble or skillet baked chocolate chip cake both with caramel icecream and homemade caramel sauce. A lovely evening even if they all talked shop :)
So tonight is easy spag bol and then I will have to get my cook books out again and work out what doesn't contain philidelphia, creme fraiche or marscapone.
Keep safe, more updates soon Love Helen x

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