Monday, March 29, 2010

Southernmost Suspension Bridge

On Sunday we decided to head out to Goose Green. When we were here last we bypassed Goose Green on our way to New Haven adn didn't have time to return. Many of you will recognise the name Goose Green due to the conflict with Argentina. On your way over to the settlement you actually pass the Argentine Cementery and several other burial plots.

As far as settlements in the Falklands go this is probably one of the prettiest I have seen. It is still very delapidated in areas but does seem to have a bit more of a kept air about it. We were nearly run over by young children on quad bikes as we left the settlement and it just reinforced the fact to me that life is so very, very different for children growing up out here. They have so much more freedom, akin to probably what I had when I was young if not more. You don't accompany them down the road to their friends house and you do just let them head out to the park for several hours without worrying if they are alright.

The reason we headed out to Goose Green was to see the Bodie Creek Bridge which is meant to be the southerly most suspension bridge. It is an interesting drive out over open farm land with a plethora of paths leading off in all directions. Still with the Cape Pembroke capers in my mind I was slightly twitchy and watchful of J's driving as we headed out down the field. Bless him, he just ignored me and drove however he wanted even when I tutted loudly and at one point openly sweared at him!

The bridge itself was built in 1925 and came as a fabricated kit from David Rowell and Co in England. It was erected in order to shorten the distance sheep needed to be driven from Southern Lafonia to the shearing sheds in Goose Green. The bridge itself was erected without cranes, earthmovers or trucks. The only skilled labour on the project was Charles Peters who was the engineer and a stone mason. The rest were all unskilled farm labourers and locals. There is a very interesting account of the bridge building and some superb photos on this site . He is actually related to Charles Peter and tells some very interesting stories about the construction and local life.

The bridge itself now is unpassable to both motor vehicles and supposedly pedestrians. Of course we decided to head over it and have a nosey about!

Euan was rather apprehensive at first but after a few yards found that his fear of heights had not kicked in on this occasion. Maddie however was a different story and after this picture was taken headed straight back where we had come from and stood on safe ground waiting for us to return.

Mummy of course found loads of wonderful texture and macro shots to take and the rest soon buggered off leaving me at the other end on my own.

Many of the boards are still in good nick but you do have to watch your step as several of them have rotted through. They are almost all covered in this wonderful lichen that just shone when the sun was out.

The support railings are incredibly rusted and in places nonexistant. I am not sure how long the bridge will last before parts of it start to collapse into the water. With the advent of the motor vehicle and easier access to Lafonia the cost implications of repairing the bridge have become to expensive and it will eventually decay away. I find this rather said as there are very little in the way of bridges on the island and certainly none that look as spectacular as this one.

The family had all walked back by this stage leaving me to enjoy the play of shadows and textures in peace. Or so I thought, J had put Fergus on the lead while we were on the bridge as he was being particular silly. When he got back to the other side he let him off but true to form being my dog he made a beeline back to me.

He did oblige me with this photo before once again leaping about and giving me heart palpitations. Someone seriously needs to remind him of his age and that old dogs really don't go hairing around like he does.

Safely back to the other side with no wet feet or paws I let J take a rare photo of me and have control of the camera for five minutes. That was of course once he had his hero shot taken in front of the bridge.

And posing with his beloved car. This shot had me nearly peeing my pants with laughter and I knew straight away it would have to be blogged.

J did manage to get a few good shots of Ellie who is always happy to pose in front of the camera especially when she doesn't have to share the lime light with her siblings.

She had by this stage rounded up the completely disobedient dog and was walking back to meet us in her own little world as only Ellie can. Can you tell J took this shot as well as it had his baby in the background.

While we were busy posing for photos we completely missed this fellow sat above us on the cable ties. After looking in our guide book I think he is a red backed buzzard. Unfortunately I only had my wide angle lense with me and by the time J got back from the car with it he had flown away. There were also numerous turkey vultures lurking about the site which makes you wonder if they are used to getting some morsels when visiters arrive!

This is a view looking back towards Goose Green over the track we were taking home. Looks fairly flat and an easy drive but there were places where pallets had been wedged to try to get vehicles out that had been stuck in the peat and some rather large dips filled with indistinguishable levels of water. I am definitely not built for off roading. I enjoy it when the unknown element has been taken out. In other words put another car in front of me and if that makes it through I will follow :)

J of course has no such fear and will merrily bump, bang and launch the car over most obstacles and have me take a photo while he is doing it.

If it contains water all the better, today the vehicles occupants were dissappointed as it hasn't rained much recently so no big splashes to squeal about.

My faithful rear gunner as always keeping a look out for me (or should that be birds) as I close the gate. Smiling as usual after a good run out.
And a boy who is as happy as a pig in s... that he now has a filthy car to prove he has been doing manly activities, can't you tell!

The rest of the day was spent recovering from a dining in night at the mess the night before and preparing for a neighbour coming around for dinner.
Tomorrow I am off in a Sea King to apparently be winched up and then winched back down later on to a remote hillside. I have warned J that even though I am insured it doesn't mean he can leave me in a remote hillside to die!

Children's Activities

On Friday Afternoon I headed into the kids school to see the results of their bridge building week. They had to develop their design ideas and undertake building their chosen design. They would need to test and evualuate how it went and see what adjustments they needed to make. Mr Sam Allin who is a consulting engineer for Gifford will return again tomorrow and judge the bridges. The junior class bridges are going to be tested by pushing a model car weighing 1lb over them and the infant class are to be judge on design alone.

I have to admit I have been really impressed with all the children's work. This is Euan's bridge that he built with his partner. It looks strong and there is a good space for the car to move across it.

Ellie has gone for a completely different technique with her partner and was busy tying on the supporting rope work when I arrived. It wa funny looking around as some of the childrens work was swamped in glue. Some looked very impressive and you could just about tell which children had engineers as parents!

Maddie was adamant that she was going to build the millenium bridge and no amount of persuasion to go for a more basic design would work. She was very pleased that the bridge could flip from side to side. I hope there aren't to many dissapointed children on Thursday when the winners are announced as I know all of the kids have got rather fired up over this competition.

Due in today were the kids eggs for the Easter Egg Competition. Ellie decided very early on that she want to make a sheep. We used pipe cleaners for the legs and copious amounts of cotton wool for his wonderful coat.

I think he has got rather a cute and slightly innocent face here. Maddie had a search on google images and decided to attempt a ladybird for her entry. She happily painted up her ladybird design on the egg and only had a very small amount of help shaping some leaves for the ladybird to sit on. Martha Stewart I love you and I so wish you would bring back your kids magazines.

She very successfully managed to paint the floor, cupboards and table! She had dropped some on the floor and then walked through it all with bare feet traipsing black paint absolutely everywhere. I guess that will teach me not to supervise!!

We had planned to try and recreate R2D2 for Euan unfortunately no white paint could be found for sale on the island and our plans had to change rather last minute. A bunny seemed the easy option and we decided to make him a rather fancy basket to live in, along with some yummy snacks in case he got hungry waiting for the judging on Thursday afternoon.

I think he is definitely one of the cheekiest Easter Bunnies I have met in a long time. Thankfully they all behaved themselves and made it to school this morning without cracking, (Mothers worst nightmare). Again I hope all the kids who are participating don't get upset if they don't win as there was some competitive remarks from quite a few of them at drop off this morning. Some of the entries were very clever plays on the word egg and others were incredibly fancy.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mix Match

It has been a mixed matched week. I had hoped to blog each day but as usual life sort of ran away with me. Up until this morning I had been out for a swim by 6am, completed 32 lengths and home for 7am to wake the kids. Today however I was just to tired and I am sick again. For the last fortnight I have had bad headaches at night but just on one side around my left eye. The sinus tubs under my eye and across my nose have been sore. I am fed up now with whatever is making me sick in this house. I have seen the doc again and he has now given me a nasal spray to try but it will take a week at least to kick in.

I did manage some sewing yesterday along with my little helper above. Her brother and sister were at cubs and she kept me company whilst drawing an easter card. She never stops chatting which I shouldn't complain about as I am sure will not always get that level of conversation from her.

Thursday morning saw me finish off 5 more pen rolls. The Pink Gallery have said they will take them once I have made some tags for them. She has asked me to make some wall hangings as well so I will need to have a think about how I will compose them. It is a bit late now in the season and I think there is only one more cruise ship to come in before the main tourist trade shuts down for winter but at least it will give me a chance to get some stock together.

I find on Thursdays I am tired after a day long trip out to Stanley for coffee with the ex pat girls and then shopping. Dinner usually ends up being a simple affair. Tonight it was tuna and pasta bake which is a house hold favourite and for dessert, well what else but chick butterscotch. I gave the kids each two choc mini eggs and one space hopper (do you remember those from your childhood?) and this is what I got. It makes me smile and it definitely made them smile!

Another sunset tonight and this photo doesn't do it justice, it was alot redder in person. Right I think a cup of tea and a sit down with full control of the remote for 5 minutes (J is out at a John Smith lecture) is in order.
Goodnight to all Love Helen x

Monday, March 22, 2010

Today I have spent the whole day cleaning. The windows have been scrubbed inside and out. They were in desperate need of being done, the combination of wind and dust here makes for a grubby lookout. I have dusted, hoovered and scrubbed everything to within an inch of its life. 6 loads of laundry have been processed and put away. Even the kids rooms have been cleared properly, wardrobes emptied and put back, clothes drawers sorted through. Plants repotted nd grow bags cleared away that were dying. Why might you ask? not sure really but I seem to have to put my house in order before I can sit down and get on with work these days. I love the feeling a clean and tidy house gives you, the family might not agree as I become anal about them keeping it tidy following them around and yelling every time something is not put back right. I am flagging now and would dearly love to sit down and curl up with a chick flick tonight on the sofa. Alas I have already commited to go to a pot luck supper tonight, hadn't remembered until lunch time and still not sure what to wear!

Right I had best go and beautify myself and because I cannot go without posting a picture, here is something Maddie has left for the Easter Bunny. Give her, her dues at least she is optimistic about what she might recieve. I think possibly it is time to talk to her about the difference between Santa and the Easter Bunny, especially the Easter Bunnies they have in the Falklands.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Creative Impulses

Last week I missed the birthdays of two sisters who are friends with both Ellie and Maddie. I felt quilty that I hadn't had time to make anything for them. Lets face it there isn't much past the touristy stuff to buy down here. It spurred me into action to make some pen rolls with images of my new found friends. Please welcome the Gentoo Family. I absolutely adore the polka dot pink fabric they are attached to. (Who'd have guessed me and polka dots!!)

They have button eyes and my signature black thread top sewing and I think they look rather a happy bunch.

For sister number two we have the Magellanic Family. They seem slightly more aloof than the Gentoos but still seem to like the pink floral background.

I am still not sure whether to add some white sewing to the beaks to just give them a bit of a lift. Some of the photos I have taken of the Magellanic seem to have a faded white band on the end of their beaks and I might try to emulate them.

I was rather pleased how these turned out and plan to get busy with some more hopefully to sell in the next week or so. The insides were plain, I did think about adding a fish but something stopped me from going overboard. Opinions and ideas welcome.

I have been planning on taking photos of my quilt for ages as I finished it about a month ago. The weather hasn't been great and these are slightly dark but I thought I would just get on with it before it needed washing, the dog rather likes to lie on this.

I had a really steep learning curve with this quilt. I really enjoyed piecing together the top and back but hated sewing in the wadding. I had been advised to go for 6mm wading and in hind sight I think it was to thick. I made the mistake of starting at one end and not in the middle so unfortunately even with the numerous quilting pins I had in it the layers ended up shifting as I was sewing it. And boy did this take some amount of thread to quilt. I think I went through about 7 reels of cotton by the time I had finished.

I ended up having to take an inch of each side and adding a bit of fabric to the backing to make up the movement mistakes. Still for my first go I am fairly pleased. I love sewing on the binding, it is one of those theraputic things to sit and do in front of the tv. Plus it is pink polka dots again :)

I already have plans for some lap quilts for the kids for christmas. I have had Mum on the hunt for fabric already. She popped into my favourite store in Cirencester last week, Lexi Loves - I was most distraught not to be able to go myself. I have a stash of pink fat quarters from there that I bought when I was still at home and I think that will be turned into a quilt for one of the girls. Euan is going to have more of a red, white and blue flavour with you guessed it a union jack theme to match his room. As for the second girls quilt I am still waiting for inspiration to strike.

I still have about 9 cushions to sew for the back of the sofa where the quilt is so I can remove those silly back cushions on the military sofa that slide down every time you sit on it.

I did manage to make a log cabin cushion with my left over scraps from the quilt. I will be so sad to see the end of these fabrics as they as so bright and cheery plus wonderful to sew with.

Cushion number two which is hot of the press is a simple flower cushion which I have been dying to make for ages. I am thinking that these flowers might look quite good on the bathroom curtains I have planned. hmmmmm.

I need to discipline myself a bit more this week and lock myself down to the sewing machine and get things done. The two days I had last week were great but I was constantly disturbed by the telephone, door and skype. Not that I am complaining it was great to hear from some of the girls back home and my Mum. This week Jill is coming over on Tuesday for a full day of felting so hopefully I will get my groups of flowers finished off so I can move on to a new project there as well. Right must get to bed as my neck is aching from all this photo editing today. What is it they say you wait for hours for one bus to come along and then loads come in the space of ten minutes - bit like my blogging really!

Good night to all Love Helen