No, this isn’t the title of my novel. Before leaving the Falklands I thought I should visit a couple of the islands and chose Bleaker and Pebble. They’re very different islands and I find that I love them both. I wrote this months ago and forgot to publish. Now publishing as a record of my time there. Can visualise the islands as I read. Will post photos later.
Bleaker is beautiful and well cared for. All fences are robust and sheep, cattle and penguins are mostly segregated into their own space. The fresh water ponds are abundant with teals and other beautiful birds. I see five penguin species on one day, thanks to a couple of Kings who travelled there a bit before me. I love the sea cabbage which grows on sandy fields creating a grey green bed of twisted leaves with occassional yellow buttercup like flowers. The island is owned by a family who live there much of the time. They run the farm and the lodge with an amazing team.
Part of my reason to visit Bleaker was to read the book Bleaker House in situ. The book, positively reviewed in UK papers, caused a stir here. When I mention the book people either roll their eyes, tut or just raise an eyebrow. I allow two days and one evening and hope it is enough time to get through it. I don’t get very far. Nell Stevens is the author and should know that docu/fiction is a great responsibility. The book is disliked on the islands and now I understand and I agree with the emotional reaction to it. In my view, Nell Stevens gets the balance between fiction and documentary very badly wrong and I will be posting a review of the book when I have time to finish it.
So why don’t I get to the end of the book? Well, I have good intentions to read the book but at dinner I realise that I am sharing the lodge with just one other visitor. A woman wearing a beautiful bright pink top and jeans. She is petite, has short dark hair and a great smile and is an amazing talker. She suggests we share some wine. I learn about her travels in South America,that this is her first time on the islands and that she is travelling on her own. We have a fun evening chatting and enjoying the hospitality of the lodge. We become great pals and promise to meet in Stanley and then London. We meet on the Friday in Stanley for dinner and I will see her again in London at the Tate. Now back in London we have been in touch but not yet met up and hope to do so when I get back from BC.
On Pebble the lodge and the farm are run by two different stakeholders and the island is owned by a third party. The island is up for sale and the future is uncertain but I hope that someone from the islands will be able to buy the land and that the various thoughts and ideas I heard will one day happen. Its a big island and has amazing scenery.
Pebble has great wildlife. It also has an interesting settlement with some old buildings and a jetty. The lodge is beautiful, well run and welcoming, Its the sort of place you can expect to have the craic and we experienced the humour and warmth of R and the team. Pebble is significant because of its role in the ’82 conflict we saw lots of memorials and crash sites. I also saw an array of penguins and birds including the beautiful Black Browed Albatross. We saw dolphins, sea lions and three sea lion kills of penguins. Well, actually, I am off having a pee when these happen but I see the aftermath. We also visit the famous Pebble beach. A Falkland island pebble is translucent and a semi-precious stone. J shows us a rich array of pebbles he’s picked up on earlier visits. I try to find some but no luck. The rule is, you can look but you can’t take so others can see them. I hope the future will be good for this amazing island and I feel so lucky to visit just before it closed for Autumn.