Not-So-Urban Dictionary

As we predicted, we’ve been having a (slightly) less adventurous time of late, bar a Landing Day trip to Bertha’s Beach and San Carlos that we’ll post about soon. This gives us time to contemplate some of the other aspects of life here on the Islands. Following a trip out to Camp recently and a message from a confused friend inquiring what exactly was meant by the Darwin Lodge offering ‘Smoko’, I was prompted to clear up a few Falklands terms and abbreviations in case I slip into using them in passing, along with some use in context:

Camp – from the Spanish Campos, referring to anywhere outside Stanley: “heading out to Camp”

Smoko – the term used to describe a traditional tea break with home cooked cakes, equivalent to afternoon tea in the UK: “pop in for smoko”

a Benny – the ambiguous term for a local Falkland Islander, usually refers to a sheep farmer or person from Camp but I’ve seen it both used as a derogatory term or a description depending on its context: “he’s a proper benny”.

Benny Bop – traditional Falkland Island country dances

Che/Chay – Used informally at the end of sentences in a similar way to ‘mate’ or ‘dude’ might be: “yes che”


Diddle Dee Telegraph in action


The Diddle Dee Telegraph – the faster, Falklands version of the grapevine as the diddle dee plant is everywhere and news travels fast along it: “heard on the diddle dee telegraph”

KC – The local name given to Port San Carlos, not appearing on any maps at all.

FIG – the abbreviation for the largest employer here: Falkland Islands Government

The Coast – found in old documents found here to refer to the South American mainland

Rockies – the Rockhopper penguin

Egging – the collection of eggs, can be penguin eggs (now licensed only) but can apply to the wild Upland Goose eggs

FIC – the abbreviation for the Falkland Islands Company, formerly the majority landowner here but now branched out into, well, everything: shipping, gift shops, insurance, hairdressing, cafés, mechanics and many other businesses

Rover – the local name for Land Rovers, the vehicle of choice (the other type of Rover more familiar with UK residents not being existent on the Islands), often coming in the form of ‘a 90’ or ‘a 110’: “got my Rover bogged, so I had to get x in their 110 to pull me out”

Marking and Gathering – sheep farming terms referring to, respectively, the tagging, tail removal and marking of lambs and the collection of sheep from across land

Lodge – fully catered hotel-type accommodation, often out on the other Islands

The Islander – the name for FIGAS, the Falkland Island Government Air Service, operating Britten-Norman BN-2B planes to airstrips around the islands

I think that’s most of the key linguistic differences covered, but we’ll be happy to clear up any others that arrive over time. Like many annoying friends who return from holiday having adopted odd habits in the week they’ve been there, we risk finding ourselves adopting some of these and can only apologise to friends and family for ending sentences with che.

Going Native

It feels odd to be blogging about blogging, but bear with me as I’m going somewhere with this. It’s no secret that this blog is Han and mine’s first foray into this lark and I never even thought I’d be narcissistic enough to write about our lives. I’ve been enjoying it so far but there is something strange going on as time goes by. The blog posts are getting fewer and further between and I’m slowly forgetting what might be of interest to our friends and family (if ever I knew to begin with). This got me thinking about the nature of what this blog means to us and to the people of the Falklands. We last lived in a sleepy village in Essex and not once did I consider our life there to be anything out of the ordinary, certainly not noteworthy enough for a website! Here in the Falkland Islands on first arrival I recognised that this is somewhere a little different. The thing is, as time has gone by, things that I never considered would do have started to become, dare I say it, ‘normal’. Looking back, my attitude to some things has definitely changed, my captions to photos might alter to some extent:

Now I don’t wish to play down life here, it’s by no means boring. I do, however, find myself becoming more and more used to some of the novelties of things like needing to drive in the low range gearbox, nipping down the road to get a penguin fix, snacking on teaberries and scurvy grass while wandering somewhere or passing shipwrecks here and there. Similarly, we never thought we’d ever have our own sheep and now it’s perfectly normal to pull up into the drive and hear Milo greet us with a “MAAA” muffled by a mouth full of grass (fat sheep!). I’ve no doubt that there will be a time when I will miss this stuff immensely, but for now it’s starting to feel somewhere uncomfortably near to usual. It’s  beginning to feel as if I’m blogging about our normal life and the normal lives of everyone we know here, which is odd! Do you, reading this, blog about your daily life and the daily lives of the people in your towns? Is it possible that I’m going native and no longer seeing our new home as out of the ordinary? If so, what will we have to blog about? The cold is closing in and the gravel roads are worsening so we’ll certainly have less to talk about, but we’ll try and keep you all updated. Just don’t be surprised if it drops off a little: it’s just our lives, after all.