Time is flying on past – Happy New Year to any of our readers that we haven’t managed to say it to yet – and we are constantly busy and on the go with things that the only way I can think to get down everything that happened in December and we were a part of so that we can them move on to what is going on at the moment is to do a bit of a timeline so here goes:
December 5th – Max’s birthday
It was a school day but with only a 5minute commute Max had time to open some presents before school (which has never happened) he picked the present from his best friend back in the UK to open first. It was also complete luxury (compared to previous years) that we could all meet up for lunch on his birthday so we went to his favourite fast food joint, Shorty’s. We are lucky to have made good friends with an excellent cake baker and so Max had a personalised cake too.
December 6th – Coffee Evening for the cubs and beavers
An annual fundraiser for the troop – 2 hours of cheap as chips games and pot luck activities with a variety of prizes and goodies. A sort of child’s dream and a parent’s nightmare apart from the excellent cake stall and the ‘water or wine’ game (not one I have seen before) where I won 3 bottles of wine but I’ll not tell you how many goes I had! The troop raised £1400 and something so it was worth the pain!
December 8th – Battle Day public holiday
A Thursday public holiday – a bit of a strange one for us but a day off work is always welcome. We were rather none the wiser as to which Battle this was commemorating but the Beaver and Cub were required at the memorial and parade and so we duly attended. This was held at a different memorial on the seafront to the remembrance parade and it was through attending that we heard about the battle of the Falkland Islands for the first time. This page gives a good brief introduction to it https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Falkland_Islands It is of particular importance to the Beavers and Cubs here as Admiral Sturdee gave his name to their troop and indeed the colours of their neckers.
December 10th – Pantomime day
The Falkland Islands amateur dramatic group puts on a pantomime every year and this year it was Aladdin. Despite having been approached to be in it (Chris more so than me as they always lack men), we repeatedly explained that every show needs an audience and so we would provide that. So we duly booked matinee tickets and went along to see what was happening. The boys, it is fair to say, absolutely loved the show although Chris and I might have found it a little more challenging to enjoy. However, it was great to be a part of something so much a part of the community.
December 12th – Beaver and Cub Christmas Party – Beach BBQ
Our first experience of a Christmas related activity on the beach. Sadly it was not a day that was exactly conducive to a BBQ and so it was much like being on a Northumbrian beach in mid August – waterproofs and warm layers at the ready. However, it was a great evening of building sandcastles and eating from the BBQ.
December 13th and 14th – School Christmas Show
The year 2 class is always responsible for the Christmas show with the other year groups acting as the choir for the whole show. This meant that Jack was part of the acting group this time around. It is performed in the Town Hall which is a very large room, much bigger than your average sports hall, school hall or village hall. It is also a bit more daunting for some of the children as it is not part of the school building, although it is part of a lot of community activities. Jack did a sterling job as the commander of a group of Roman soldiers, his delivery of the line “Right Smithers, sort them out” was my particular favourite. Max is part of the school choir and they opened the show with their own song and did a great job of that too.
December 14th – Government House
Having done our duty as parents (and myself as staff) on 13th December the next night we farmed the boys out – a colleague dropped the older two home after the show whilst a babysitter was at home with Sam. This meant that Chris and I could attend our second drinks do with The Governor. This was a much smaller affair as rather than the ‘new to the island’ grouping this was a certificate presentation from the Training Centre here. I had completed a Level 2 paediatric first aid course and so attended in order to receive my certificate, some of my colleagues had completed the same training and were there too. We were the first to arrive, had a very enjoyable evening and were the last to be ushered out after the time slot was over. As it was a smaller grouping a chat with Governor Roberts was actually possible too, we discussed tourists, school shows (as he had attended the previous evening), the barren image of the islands and more.
December 15th – Reception (or FS2 as it is termed here) Nativity
Sam was an Innkeeper and did a marvellous job of shouting – GO AWAY, THERE’S NO ROOM HERE!
December 16th – End of term and the Cathedral Challenge Concert
It was the last day of term and ‘Christmas jumper day’.
Stanley has seen its first ever Christmas Tree Festival this year and it was a fabulous spectacle
and the organisers arranged a concert for the Friday night asking anyone who had decorated a tree to sing a Christmas song. The Cubs were therefore roped in and ‘chose’ to sing Rudolf the red nosed reindeer. As it was also the 100th birthday of cubs and 1916 the took over the concert and renewed their promise as all cubs worldwide had been challenged to do.
December 17th – Sam’s birthday party and Max’s first Watch Group Camp
We dropped Max off with the Watch Group (the youth part of Falklands Conservation) first thing in the morning and he went to San Carlos to camp overnight, he returned the following day having had a great time and with a lot of undergrowth and mud in his bag!
Sam was super excited to have his first party with friends invited this year. Parties here are incredibly easy to organise, there are two halls to try and book, there are 3 bouncy castles available from one gentleman (who lives across the road) so you book them all and put on some food. He had an absolute ball (and a personalised cake!)
December 18th – Carols in the Cathedral
I sang in the choir for the service of carols and nine lessons. It was very surreal to leave the cathedral at 8pm a week before Christmas in broad daylight and sunshine.
The Christmas holidays then began and I tried to keep things low key for the first week as we were all rather tired and we needed to wind down. We had one of the warmest sunniest days to start the week and then things went downhill, in fact our summer solstice was the most miserable rainy day we have had in the whole 4 months of being here.
December 24th – Cape Pembroke and a meeting with Santa
Three times since our arrival we have attempted to get ourselves (what is apparently) a very impressive key for the Cape Pembroke Lighthouse but every attempt has been thwarted. Our plan for Christmas Eve was to try and get the key and go exploring, we even rang up before hand to check it was available but by the time we followed this up both sets had been borrowed. We decided to go out to the cape anyway for a bit of fresh air and a stomp around. We much enjoyed a little scramble around the coastline and you have already seen our photo with the Atlantic Conveyor memorial (this was a containership requisitioned by the MOD for the Falklands War, hit by tow Exocet missiles on 25th May 1982 and sunk 3 days later).
After our outing, later on in the day we remembered that Santa was making his Stanley appearance that day, I wasn’t sure what to expect to be truthful but it is put on by the emergency services and I should have had higher expectations. Santa is taken around Stanley in the BV and I wish I had got a photo of him and his helpers in there as they looked stupendous, even Sam gasped and said ‘that is the real Santa isn’t it mummy’. It culminated at the Town Hall with a long queue and a grotto to meet Santa.
December 25th – Christmas Day
We had a fabulous day full of gifts, garden play and food.
The rest of December shall come in a separate post, oh and December was the month the polytunnel began to produce tomatoes!