Here, we don’t have ….

This post has been formulating in my mind for a while as a few things have made me contemplate what we don’t have here on comparison to the UK. It is not a list of moans that we don’t have as it is not saying these things are lacking or necessarily missed just that we don’t have them. It’s been a while since I have had a post that was not about things we have done or seen so here goes:

We don’t have:

  • motorways
  • dual carriageways
  • roundabouts
  • traffic lights

This will make our return to the UK in August and driving a hire car north to south interesting I am sure but I’m hoping that much like riding a bike we won’t have forgotten! There is just no need for these here. There is one ‘set’ of zebra crossings on the junction next to school and there is a Lollipop Man there before school, lunchtimes and after school.

We don’t have:

  • traffic jams (hence the lack of need for the above!)

There is a ‘lunch time rush’ when offices and work places close for lunch but truly you’d not even notice it!

We don’t have:

  • Starbucks
  • McDonalds
  • KFC
  • Pizza Hut
  • Pizza Express
  • Wetherspoons
  • Yates
  • All Bar One

To be honest this list could go on and on, we have no international chains other than a Costa outlet at the military base of Mount Pleasant Complex. We don’t miss them, we don’t need them, there are some great independent cafes and restaurants so it is no issue.

We don’t have:

  • Free texting
  • Unlimited internet

I feel that I may have gone over this to death but there is one mobile phone and internet provider that cover the parts of the islands that have coverage. They have recently been granted (by the legislative assembly) a further ten year licence that allows only them to provide these services. This has been hugely contentious! If we have any device connected to our wifi in the house and we access the internet or the device tries to back up or update an app or download an update it uses our monthly allowance of data! Our monthly allowance of data is very costly, if we go over our monthly allowance it is very costly, if we don’t use our monthly allowance it does not  roll over to the next month, the last few days of the month often the internet connection gets very slow because everyone tries to use up their paid for allowance. On Christmas Day a video call online was really not possible as the connection was so jammed up with everyone trying to contact loved ones.

We don’t have:

  • compulsory OFSTED

The education department chooses to invite OFSTED to inspect the schools and pays for that, however there is no legal weight to this and there has to, clearly, be plenty of warning as to when they are arriving, nothing snap about these inspections.

We don’t have:

  • any bees or wasps (or I have been told so anyway and I have not seen any)
  • any butterflies (that I have seen)

We don’t have:

  • long periods of settled weather
  • accurate long range (longer that 1 or possibly 2 days) weather forecast

This is a double edged sword. When we get a beautiful clear, sunny day you have to grab a hold of it and do something with it as the next day may well not be anywhere even vaguely similar! However, being a tiny cluster of islands in a massive ocean also means that when there is a hail storm, sleet shower, massive downpour, heavy fog the chances are it may just as well have disappeared in 10 minutes time and be glorious sunshine again. Weather just does not hang around for days on end.

We don’t have:

  • channel 4
  • live pause for the TV
  • other non terrestrial TV channels unless they are forces orientated (British Forces Broadcasting Services BFBS, Forces TV etc)

I can say (with fairly strong conviction) that really we don’t miss any of this much, even though watching programmes on catch up is also not possible. We are living without Cbeebies and without CBBC and it is not killing us!! Children’s programmes are shown on weekend mornings and weekday evenings till 6.30pm – it’s like old times! And, hey, we are also living without E4, ITVBe, and goodness knows what other nonsense!

We don’t have:

  • much BBC radio

The two BFBS stations and the local Falkland Islands Radio Service do broadcast some World Service programmes, some Radio 5 live and so on but boy I do miss the Today Programme!

We don’t have:

  • Autumn

Well, not as you’d recognise it. Due to the minimal numbers of deciduous trees there is little colour change to trigger those autumnal senses. The weather has seemed to change rather more suddenly too but maybe making this sweeping statement in only our first year is a bit brash.

And the thing that probably was the biggest driver for this post, we don’t have:

  • the hour change in spring and autumn

It is particularly noticeable that the mornings are very dark till rather late on. Given that it is still over a month to our mid-winter, it is still dark at 7.45am and the sun is starting to clearly rise by 8am. It is getting dark in the evenings now at around about 5pm. I will try and note what the timings of these are on the mid-winter solstice.

I’m sure there will be other posts like this in the future but for now this is all I have noted down.

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