Being Posted To The Falkland Islands (Part Two)
So you read part one, if you haven’t here is the link...
You’ve been met at the airport, you’re pretty tired and you’re bundled into the back of a car to get to your new home for the next year or two. It’s only a short drive from the airport to the family patch though, so don’t get too comfy...
Your spouses predecessor will probably have already taken over the house for you so you can literally just drop your bags, have a brew (providing someone fetched some brew kit in for you!) and then head to bed, don’t forget though you’ll still have your official march in to do within the first 2 weeks of being in the house.
First impressions of the house... I’ll leave that up to you, but for me it was cosy and very standard military interior... lovely magnolia coloured walls (I’m sure you’re used to them) and a beautiful beige/brown carpet that masks everything you can spill on it. You’ll have the usual top spec sofas, some may come with a mouse or two living inside them (if you’re lucky), and the oven of course will be spotless, well in the eyes of the contracted cleaner it’s spotless. Your house here will also have a conservatory too... I know right, how posh! This will quickly be transformed into a greenhouse though, to make up for the lack of fresh fruit and vegetables down here.
There is a family officer who will be there to assist you throughout your stay here in the falklands, this person will send out regular emails about stuff that will affect you, both good things and bad. They should notify you when the heating or power is being turned off, but sometimes this is at fairly short notice (after they get turned off).. They’ll also feature on the Forces Radio BFBS Breakfast show with a weekly update, I’ve recently become a road rep which comes with HUGE responsibilities like delivering the penguin patch (the monthly news letter) and that’s about it really... At least it takes me back to my paperboy days.
Yep as a family we get our very own store! Not really sure why we do but hey ho, it’s something to get very excited about because it’s an interesting experience!
There's fresh fruit and veg delivered to the store twice a week (as long as the airbridge has room and is on time) and when that happens it’s every man/woman for themselves, your neighbour who you thought was your best mate would soon enough smash you into a shelf full of rice crispies to get their hands on the last few carrots...don’t forget to sharpen your elbows!
It’s not a very big store either so when all of the families decend on the little place it can get quite crowded, and there will also tend to be between 5-10 young children wandering around, almost tripping you up.
There are a few un written rules to follow for example... if there is one cauliflower you have to offer this it out to see if anybody would like to split it with you... All eyes will be on you when you’re at the till, counting how many peppers you have, to make sure you only have your fair share... You will be constantly judged for whatever you’re buying..
The only other option to this is to shop in the local shop in Stanley, but this is an hours drive away, and the price mark up to get the fresh fruit and vegetables down there is eye-watering!
Families Happy Hour
These come along every few weeks and alternate between the Officers Mess or the Senior Ranks Mess. It’s sometimes a theme night which gives the chefs the opportunity to cook something they wouldn’t normally cook. It also gives the children a chance to socialise with other children but more importantly for their parents, the bar is open!
There is a very well equipped school, I can’t tell you much about the school because I don’t have children but from what I’ve heard it’s very nice and has everything a school needs
The cinema is provided by SSVC Forces Cinemas and run by BFBS Radio and the ATC guys. It’s recently had a refurbishment and looks slick. There’s a film on every evening (two on Saturday and Sunday) and has all of the latest movies. You can check what’s coming up by going online to www.forcescinemas.com
The gym is massive and has everything a good gym needs, the PTI’s look after the place well and are always on hand to help you out. There are weekly circuits and classes to suit everybody's needs, the only dodgy thing is the choice of music they play...
There is also a very nice swimming pool which can be used by everybody, they have different types of swims weekly including a family swim. Look out for the bored lifeguard who just loves his music!
There is also a hidden gem which from my experience not a lot of people know about, so I’m going to tell you... There is a SAUNA! It’s just upstairs from the pool. I thought it was common knowledge but every time I tell somebody, they look surprised.
Obviously the library is full of books so If you like reading, you’re in luck. However in my eyes it’s Blockbuster Video! It’s a trip down memory lane because they have loads of DVD’s for you to rent, to be honest that’s all we use it for, beware of the fines though! The staff are lovely but they do love to remind you that you have 15 MINUTES LEFT until they close...
You would be a fool to come to the Falklands and not want to travel about to see everything the Islands have to offer... There is soooo much to see and do!
Deciding where to go though could be quite tricky... That’s where MP Travel come in, the lovely staff there will point you in the right direction and give recommendations on where to go and how to get there.
Don’t forget we’re entitled to travel via helicopter for day trips out once a month, we get a ferry trip over to the West Island once every 3 months, and a flight up to South America once per year. In addition to this, MP travel can help by booking you flights with FIGAS (Falkland Island Government Air Service), which costs approximately £136 per return trip, but this can get you out to most of the beautiful islands, where you can often book overnight stays (either full board or self catering) depending on where you go.
Some of my favourite trips are Sea Lion Island, Pebble Island, Kidney Island, Walker Creek, Darwin house, the list goes on and I’ll write a separate blog about them soon...
I think that’s about it, obviously there is so much to do here but I think I’ve listed the most important ones, hope you enjoyed reading it if you think anything else needs adding, let me know!