The next thing I know Sam is knocking on my door, its 8 o’clock, we are waiting for you. I rushed downstairs, with that light headed feeling when you are woken and suddenly you get up.
After Champagne or 2 surprisingly I felt a bit better and had a lovely meal of mushroom soup with port syrup and some foam. Next some squid and smoked fish, delicious, loved it. My main was roasted lamb cutlets, with roasted lamb underneath and a sort of stew, okay, but a tad dry. The lamb has a wonderful flavor here though, so it pulled it off.
Dessert was a trio of mini baked Alaska, ice cream with a Toblerone sauce and a chocolate cake, nice combination and not too sweet. This was the first time Matt had eaten his own food in a party and the ‘boys’ had to cook. I think they did a good job, and I know exactly how he felt.
After port I hit the sack and hurrah a slight lay in, as Sam went off to get some ariel footage for the films from the telly station. I then got some souvenirs for the family and then went to the Governors house so Andy could drop off a signed portrait of Margaret Thatcher.
We met Rick Nye, deputy governor and had a whistle stop tour including the famous snooker table signed underneath by all visitors, office and fabulous garden complete with nectarine and peach house. The grapes are superb also.
Off to the military camp now, to meet some of the boys and girls, as we were staying there overnight to save an hours travel in the morning. We arrive, check in get passes and meet Tom Hall, accompanied buy Paul official photographer.
We go straight to meet Guy who informs us that the typhoons are taking off any minute. Up in the tower we meet all the staff, do pics and shake hands. We move outside as the 2 Typhoons are taxiing out onto the runway, one has a problem, so returns, the second one gets ready. It starts very slowly then increases speed and bingo, off it goes with frightening speed until it gets level with us and literally goes straight up. By the time my camera has taken a pic and re focused he’s gone, the roar is breath taking and with full afterburners, he’s out of sight in a few seconds. Wow, that’s pretty serious stuff, I could feel the hairs standing up on the back of my neck.
Stunned and pretty speechless I take a ride in the huge fire engine with driver Vinny and the flight lieutenant.
We arrive at the Typhoon briefing centre and are met but Jamie one of the crack force. We have a full briefing with him and he explains the full roll and aircraft.
He’s charming, funny and eloquent, a former Harrier pilot, turned real life Top Gun. The strange thing is he looks about 19, and here he is flying 110 million quid aircraft. We meet another guy ‘Bondy’ he looks mid 20’s relaxed, looks like Steve McQueen easy going non plussed by the whole thing. He takes us into the hanger to see one of these beasts close up. This is big boy stuff, what a job! We say our goodbyes, and arrange to meet them later in the officer’s mess for a beer.
Next stop Rapier site, no joy all locked up, them on to the mess halls to meet the chefs.
This is a huge operation, feeding on a grand scale; from junior ranks to officers all very good food indeed. We have a snack in the junior ranks mess, its pretty damn good.
I meet the guys, shake hands and have a chat, then its on to our rooms and back to cook Crepes Suzette for desert in the officers mess.
Quick Spitfire beer first (my favourite) hooking up with the Typoon guys again. Along with Jamie and Bondy where Mark, Andy & Pablo, the guy who was frankly showing off earlier, its bloody cool though!
Even having a beer they have their special flying gear on, just letting you know exactly who they are, and when I was younger I thought cooking was cool!!!!
Back to the mess hall and knocking up pancakes and sauce to a long queue, with the help from the lads and head chef Mick, cheers lads, appreciated that very much. Lots of photos and hand shaking later back to the bar for a drink and relax.
As the evening progresses Tom becomes more and more concerned about Sam and I getting up at 6.15 to check in, especially when the guys want to take us to a helicopter bar then onto the legendary Goose Bar.
Off we go, great fun, meeting lots of people and finally leaving to them about 1 ish and into bed.
Up and at ‘em early we check in, back to the officers mess for breakfast and on the plane via, VIP again, very nice.
As I write this I’m 3 hours from Ascension, yes lots of squash, resisted the lure of a cheese wrap thing and looking forward to a nice roast beef and Yorkshire pudding in flight meal……….
I hope the chef at Ascension remembers our conversation last week; I really don’t think I could have another wrap.
This has been a fascinating trip, not only for the food and travel but also to be able to put places now to the names of all that news footage so many years ago. From my trip I can certainly say that the Falklander’s want to remain part of the UK, and love having the protection and security. The roar of the jet engines Falklander’s call the sound of freedom and I can never see them giving up on them. These now peaceful islands, the nature, the people, the beautiful baron landscapes and scenery are truly magnificent.
I just wonder for how long with the oil and gas companies gathering on the horizon.
My personal thanks to:
- All the staff in the tower MPA
- The Typhoon guys
- Phil, Tom, & Guy MPA
- Mick head chef and chefs in the officers mess
- John Ferguson, Falklands Meat Co
- Gary Clement and all the vets
- All staff at Liberty Lodge
- Alex Reid, squid man
- Kevin & Hattie Kilmartin
- Oliver Reid and all the staff at the Malvina Hotel
- Matt Clarke, top man
- Ros & Andy Giddon
- And anyone I have forgotten…