Michael Theobalds

Michael Theobalds

Michael Theobalds

Working in St Helena April 2012 to April 2013

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Saint Helena March 29th 2013

Dark Sky Week Well, how long is a year? We know all the numbers, don’t we but there is something miraculous and strange that from our own point of view, time is not constant. A year away from family, friends and hometown has been longer than I imagined it to be. My geriatric gap year has been as full of fun, challenge, interest and difference as I imagined it to be – I know that it will stand out to be one of the best years of my life – but a year is still a jolly long time. Reflecting back, there is a year of public events in the UK and the rest of the world that scarcely rippled the quiet surface of life on St Helena. The South Atlantic Media Services (SAMS) news which ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Saint Helena March 10th 2013

Sticky Knickers Well, a whiff of cordite in the air this week. A few weeks ago a very glossy prospectus was produced by Enterprise St Helena (a NGO, publically funded, charged with regenerating the island’s economy alongside the airport project) featuring some very comprehensive changes suggested for Jamestown. Now, the island’s capital (think Much Wenlock rather than London or New York) will no longer be the entry point to the island once the airport opens, the RMS is decommissioned and goods are taken to the wharf at neighboring Rupert’s Bay. So, as with all communities preparing themselves for a tourist-based economy, changes do need to be made. Jamestown is, apparently, the best example of a Georgian town in the southern hemisphere (yes, I’m sure that there must be another one somewhere) but, if truth be told ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Saint Helena February 12th 2013

Road Closures Congratulations to our friend Richard who started his job as Senior Editor for the St Helena Broadcasting (guarantee) Corporation Ltd (SHBC) yesterday. You will notice the title ‘Senior’, not ‘Junior’ nor ‘Chief’ not even “foreign’ or ‘Sport’. ‘Senior’ sounds pretty impressive, a post of some status within a complex hierarchy of editors that might make up this arm of the ‘Corporation Ltd.’ I spoke with Richard today (off the record, of course) about his new post and it was a little disappointing to read that he might, in fact, be the only editor within the organization. On the other hand, his title extends beyond the world of newsprint and on-line journalism (I will of course be keeping up to date with the stories, fictions and reports that make up the weekly potpourris that makes ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Saint Helena January 20th 2013

As I would say to the Governor …. It’s amazing what a spot of sunshine can do! I have been following the trials and tribulations of folk in the UK suffering (or, sometimes enjoying) the first few winter flakes of snow and have felt just a tinge of regret that I can’t be there to witness it. Then I look out of my window and see the impact that the summer sun has on the colours of the landscape and sea around me. One thing that I have only just realized (and I’m sure that it’s one of those things that everyone in the whole wide world realized when they were only knee high to a grasshopper) is that the sun doesn’t set in the same place the whole year round. When I first arrived on ... read more
From Diana'S Peak

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Saint Helena January 13th 2013

Broadcasting Exchange The grey cloud that hung over St Helena as the RMS anchored in James Bay rather reflected my mood returning to the island after a short but lovely Christmas trip to Blighty. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to return to the island that has been host to my geriatric gap-year but, rather, mixed feelings about returning only for a few weeks to the truncated project that I have led since August 2011. The professional project I have led has been (so far) a great success with school colleagues working so hard to change and improve their practice. The improvement has been so remarkable that we are expecting 70% of pupils to be level 4 and above in English and mathematics (Level 4 being the age related expectation) compared to 50% in 2012 and ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Saint Helena December 16th 2012

Where’s Che Guevara? My last 2012 blog from St Helena so I need to keep you up to date with events on the South Atlantic isle. Well, the weather reminds me very much of summer in England. A glorious, blue-sky day with a wonderfully comfortable temperature brings us out in our summer best – both clothing and temperamentally. We look forward to the summer and have a notion of what the next few months are going to be like. Only to be confounded by the reality of tomorrow – cloud, a very gentle shower and only the merest glimpse of blue sky. ‘This is the worst summer since, well I don’t know when…’ – sound familiar. Truth be told, the summer has been a bit of a disappointment so far – at least its warm but ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Saint Helena November 24th 2012

….. and all from the comfort of your own home. November in St Helena has been warmer with some strong winds. Just as in England, the early summer starts with some beautiful weather – blue skies with high white cloud and good comfortable temperatures. This early summer promise though has been blown away with the south-easterly winds that seem to have anchored low cloud with rain over the island. The locals say that this has been the worst weather in living memory; some say it reflects a change in the climate. The success of the airport project hinges on wealthy and discerning tourists coming to the island. Some typical English summer weather is not what the doctor ordered. One of the sunny days encouraged a walk to the highest point on the island, Diana’s Peak. At ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Saint Helena November 4th 2012

Sumer is a cumin in Here on New Ground, three miles from, and a thousand feet higher, than Jamestown the weather is suggesting that a gloomy and damp spring is moving into summer. Plenty of high white cloud and the odd spattering of clear blue – enough to make a – I don’t recall the end of this saying – a sailor’s handkerchief, perhaps. Someone out there let me know – these small things can worry away! Well, news from St Helena – last weekend was overfull with public celebration. On Friday the Halloween event moved to High Knoll Fort, a British fortification that looms over a large part of the island. ‘New Horizons’ – a very active group that organizes events and activities for youngsters had converted one of the tower areas of the fort ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Saint Helena October 7th 2012

With all due respect, Ma’am If you have given any thought to your South Atlantic correspondent, you might have imagined him sitting in the shade of a banyan tree, wearing a strong fedora and sipping long gin and tonics to keep cool. Well, it hasn’t been quite like that – the weather has been damp, cloudy and cool for the past three months and, looking out of my window this Sunday morning, today doesn’t look set to be the first day of spring. Apparently there is a distinction to be made between a ‘tropical island’ and ‘an island in the tropics’. You will undoubted know which of these categories Saint Helena comfortably sits in. When I write ‘damp, cloudy and cool’ I might have written ‘wet, foggy and cold’ for, during the last couple of weeks, ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Saint Helena September 3rd 2012

I have mentioned, but haven’t yet fully shared, my curiosity with ‘names’ on the island. It all started at Donny’s (as usual) with a conversation about the challenging road systems here. Mention was made of ‘Capt. Wright’s Turning’. “Was this the real name?” I enquired. “Oh yes” came the reply. “Why so called?” “Well in the 1800’s poor Capt. Wright was said to have ridden in a horse and carriage at too great a speed to take the said corner safely and consequently both he and the carriage came off the road and his death ensued.” Now whether this is fact or island legend I do not know but what I have gleaned is that Capt. Wright was commander of one of the squadrons that escorted Napoleon to St Helena and was a respected officer on ... read more
Napoleon's Wine Cooler at the Lodge
Heart - Shaped Waterfall Saint Helena
Rupert's Bay Saint Helena

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