3884. M32 Cycle path (136)

When I saw this piece for the first time, I was instantly drawn to it – there was something about the form and colours and of course the penguin. It had been painted alongside work from LRS artists Eman and 3F fino, but I didn’t know who the artist was. I got lucky a week or two later when I met the artist, Apex_aloy, during a paint jam at Cumberland Basin and was able to put a name to the piece.

Apex_aloy, M32 Cycle path, Bristol, July 2021
Apex_aloy, M32 Cycle path, Bristol, July 2021

I believe Apex_aloy comes from a town near Bristol and visits from time to time, which is something I’ll have to look out for. I had difficulty making out the letters initially, but they spell out STIKA, and have been worked nicely to complement the colours of the penguin. The piece was painted freehand and has turned out rather well. A few more minutes working on the backwash would have taken it up a level… small details. Looking forward to seeing more from Apex_aloy.

23. Marking time

For those reading this blog for the first time, please read the first entry called ‘An ill wind‘ which sets the context for an adventure I had as a 24 year old in 1988. I am taking the time to digitise my journal from 1988 in the Falkland Islands and am remaining faithful to my original text – this post ‘Marking time’ is a particularly drab entry, recording what was a rather boring few days. My apologies.

Sunday 22 May 1988, Port Stanley, Emma’s Guest House

The KSJ dinner/buffet was a complete success for me.

Squid and tuna sushi, cold beef, rice, squid, chicken and free drinks – it was brilliant.

Today was a lovely day although we had a couple of rain showers. Jim and Pete L and I went went to Penguin Walk and the lighthouse. I took loads of slides of penguins etc. I was happy, as I listened to ‘Smells of Summer’ on my Walkman. Sometimes this place can be such a joy – getting away from pressures. But it doesn’t last. The loneliness and tedium get get to one eventually. I want to go home so badly, to see Deb and my family. I will never be the same after this experience. I’m sure they will see a certain change in me. I feel so remote.

Penguin Walk, Falkland Islands, May 1988
Penguin Walk, Falkland Islands, May 1988

Monday 23 May 1988, Port Stanley, Emma’s Guest House

I spent most of the day pretending (once again) to work at FIPASS. Not much has really happened. I felt really good having had an early and sensible night last night, but disgusted that I smoked again today. Got a letter from Pat and Roy – quite why I got it today I don’t know.

Pete and Steve left for volunteer point, in this weather I didn’t envy them. Roll on Summer time.

Went to have a meal at John’s (John and Alison went out) with Jim and Sean. Later Anna came round and we watched ‘La Bamba’ on video. Shitty film but with good music.

Tuesday 24 May 1988, Port Stanley, Emma’s Guest House

Worked again on my drawings.

The Koei Maru 30 came in. I saw the crew and all they could say was “girls, girls – jiggy-jiggy” it is very sad and depressing. I went into the galley to say hello to Nananuma. It was awful, like rekindling the flames of awful memories. Quite terrible.

In the evening Drin, Jim, Phil, Liz and I went to Monty’s and for some reason I ended up paying for the lot. We then went to the Goose and I got pretty merry. Ended up writing a drunken letter to Deb.

Wednesday 25 May 1988, Port Stanley, Emma’s Guest House

Today I have a lot of work to do. I must also buy supplies, since I expect to leave for Montevideo tomorrow.

Lost at cards. Phil won and is the champion.

Phoned Deb – it was great. She was in Edinburgh with her granny. She is revising for her exams on Wednesday.

Melanie was at the Cable & Wireless office – she is so sweet and I think it is fitting that when I telephone Deb, she is there.

I don’t want to go to sea, despite the fact that Jim is able to come. Went to the fish and chip shop with Phil and then the Globe – became a little merry. Power cut at midnight.

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Penguin Walk, Falkland Islands, May 1988
Penguin Walk, Falkland Islands, May 1988

8. Sleeplessness and a Penguin

Just to recap, this blog is about an incredible adventure I had in 1988 when I was a young man. It is a faithful transposition of my written journal into a digital format. I had trained as a marine biologist and fisheries scientist, and was offered a contract to work in the Falkland Islands. I am now about three weeks into my trip, and have been at sea for some 12 days.

Sunday 27 March 1988, Koei Maru 30.

Good ol’ Masamitsu gave me his business card today. Unfortunately I was unable to reciprocate this kind gesture.

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I couldn’t get to sleep for ages – my mind was active – thinking about some most obscure things.

– Like when Adam died and R&C came over and I hid in the garden, because I was ashamed of grief. I didn’t want to see R so unhappy.

– And the time I was to walk down Muswell Hill Broadway in my pyjamas and dressing gown…the ultimate humiliation.

There were other thoughts too. I couldn’t sleep. The result of this is that I have slept until 5.30pm and shall probably forego my stroll around deck. Needless to say is is another clear blue sky – the albatross patrol the boat in their usual manner – I suppose they are waiting for scraps.

My pen is running out – I fear I use more ink here than ever I did at Bangor on Newcastle University. it is just as well I brought plenty of spare cartridges. What a clever boy!

It is strange to think that for each entry or most entries in my diary for each day, I have slept between the beginning and the end somewhere. Eh?

Monday 28 March 1988, Koei Maru 30

Well, only one sample last evening. There were no squid in the early part of the evening and there seemed little point in sampling from so few squid.

Quite an evening for wildlife though – at about 1am I saw, in addition to the black browed albatross, the black/grey birds – ugly little things, and the fast flying swift-like which flit over ther waves (Storm Peterel). I also saw a penguin and a seal which was frolicking about.

The jigs picked up another hake and also a penguin. The poor thing was in shock, and was not enjoying the bright lights or my orange suit. It even looked a little sea sick. I was unaware of how large penguin feet are. It seemed to be uninjured though, and was released when jigging was over.

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I asked (rather naively and perhaps insultingly) if it was going to be eaten – Abe said certainly not and looked astonished at my question. I was always led to believe that the Japanese ate everything there was to be had from the sea.

Tuesday 29 March 1988, Koei Maru 30.

I could not, but could not sleep. I set down at 4am and lay for four or five hours without sleep. Radioed Port Stanley and spoke with Crag – it was good, and tried to sleep again but couldn’t for at least an hour. Then I slept until 6pm. Completely bonkers.

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I am a little annoyed. It seems I have made little or no impression yet with the work I am doing and also with the Department itself. I don’t know, but I don’t feel as though they really care much about me, only the project I am working on. I can’t see that I’m an unlikable chap, I try maybe too hard.

I seem to be going through a bit of a bad patch – perhaps it is too much Dickens. I didn’t write any letters yesterday, in fact I didn’t do much. I am in a slump again and must act on it. I miss Deb and want to see her, or at least read her letters. I am now half way through this voyage, and nearly 10% through my contract.

I am keeping my earring hole open by daily putting a paperclip through it. Unhygienic but effective. I left all my earrings at home.

I wrote again to Mum and Ad. It’s funny, but I never seem to be able to express myself as well on paper (especially in letters), as when I compose things in my head. Perhaps I should make use of my tape recorder.