Page 4 of Michael Theobalds Travel Blog Posts

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Saint Helena August 25th 2011

Saturday 14th August A very warm send-off this afternoon. Awash with gifts and generous farewells we boarded RMS St Helena and left the island with very mixed feelings. Of course, I am looking forward to being back home and have missed Di and family very much. However, the visit has been a real adventure and most probably a trip of a lifetime. Professionally the visit has been an enormous success and I am very pleased with the quality of the work carried out – as I informed the Governor yesterday. We had a most interesting meeting. First and foremost you call him ‘Governor’ but without the intonation used by Dennis Waterman when addressing his superior (John Thaw) in the ‘Sweeney’. He was visibly shocked by the content of our report and he has apparently (as we ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Saint Helena August 12th 2011

Friday 12th August Have you noticed an absence of blogs from the South Atlantic recently? Well, I sometimes have to remind myself that this is a working trip and not a holiday. This week has been pretty full and has required most of my day time which rather got in the way of further adventures or excursions. However, one thing I have managed to squeeze in a couple of times is an evening meal (much like a restaurant) but taken in someone’s home. The home is used as a place of business when groups book a meal. I thought that I might find it a little uncomfortable doing this but, of course, it’s absolutely fine. But, crikey, they do like to eat in quantity out here. Usually three main courses – but with the expectation that ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Saint Helena August 5th 2011

Friday 5th August Greetings from a wet and windy St Helena! I have just returned from Donny’s bar on the seafront after a very busy and productive professional week. Not many opportunities have been taken to enjoy the specialness of the island. At Donny’s there was a music and video display and that made me reflect on ‘Top Threes’ – a most important but sometimes misunderstood notion. Whatever is most important to you – music, events, books – is crystalised into the top three – this isn’t a commitment for life – it’s as it is at that/this particular time. The only rule is that you must not laugh at another person’s choice – unless top three songs includes Dancing Queen by Abba – which, unfortunately featured in Mike Laycock from Homer’s selection one evening. We ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Saint Helena August 2nd 2011

Tuesday 2nd August I really can’t get the hang of the seasons out here. The Saints claim that it is winter although it many respects most days are like a decent English summer. However, each successive morning seems a little bit darker and gloomier and the midges are well and truly about. It would almost seem like autumn, which the locals claim not to have and being in the southern hemisphere shouldn’t we be moving towards spring? And how come the stars are different here – what is it with there being a Southern Cross but no Plough? As I get older I am constantly surprised about how little I know about so many things. I must go and check what direction the water takes going down the plughole! I will let you know … Talking ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Ascension Island July 31st 2011

Sunday 31st July …. an idiot driver overseas! Have you ever had that kind of day when one wrong decision is compounded by several more leading to a mishap or even disaster? Well, yesterday was one such day for your correspondent. Having put aside a day for quiet adventure unsullied by the time demands of other folk, I set out for an afternoon of exploration. Having seen the giant tortoises at Plantation – but which one is the very aged Jonathon – there was no one there to ask and the two venerable creatures that I came across were not giving away their secrets – I ventured to the Boer cemetery. This is when I made my first error. The road being a little narrow and windy I decided to drive through the gates and into ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Saint Helena July 31st 2011

Just as in the spy novels, a gentleman sidled up to me at the Curry Night and passed on to me, as agreed, a well secured package. On opening I found it contained a pot of genuine St Helena honey - an increasingly uncommon product. Suddenly, I found myself surrounded by a group of envious on-lookers. One of them, Lauren, suggested that I must have sold my soul to acquire such a precious commodity! As she is the wife of the senior immigration officer I am anticipating an incident at customs when I leave the island - this will result in the opening of cases and the confiscation of said item - leading to wife finding that there is honey still for tea and your correspondent's case leaving the island a few ounces lighter - I'm ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Saint Helena July 27th 2011

Wednesday 27th July Have you ever noticed that some places have a musical backdrop? Well, here in St Helena it is country and western music of the 1970’s. True there are some discs on the juke box and on their interesting radio channel that date from the 1950’s but most of it is from that ‘twang’ era that hasn’t been touched by Gram Parsons and his new-country (for those not acquainted with him, he was a member of the Byrds (remember them?) and the Flying Burrito Brothers who transformed the sound of C&W music before he was found dead at Joshua Tree). I know, that’s too much trivia information when all you want to know is ‘where is this going?’ Well, because of this intense St Helenian love of C&W music of a certain era I ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Saint Helena July 25th 2011

Sunrise early on Sunday as your intrepid explorer goes hunting for his fish supper. Actually, vinegar can be in short supply on the island at certain times.... read more

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Saint Helena July 24th 2011

Saturday July 23rd You will of course wish to know about the Tea Dance and how well I disported myself – my laptop Thesaurus suggests ‘posed swaggered and flaunted’ as appropriate alternative words but, I’m afraid, I failed to live up to any of these suggestions. Perhaps ‘loitered’ might be a better description as I found that tripping the two-step or a waltz was a challenge too far for this explorer of the South Atlantic. Needless to say the dance was as charming as everything else found so far on the island. I rejected the occasional suggestion that I might take to the dance floor with the usual unspecific wound and injury collected at a previous time. I know – what a wimp! Saturday was a busy and interesting day that took us to new parts ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Saint Helena July 22nd 2011

Friday July 22nd The end of an interesting work-week. The people I have been working with are absolutely charming and seem extremely interested in what I am recommending. It would be interesting to return next year and see what impact the project is having. It seems typical to me – five colleagues working in the secondary schools and me, working on my own, in the three primary schools. One of my tasks today was to lead a professional development day for all the staff who work in primary schools – one of the topics was the Early Years Framework – in other words what and how to teach the very youngest children. I couldn’t but help think about a song written and performed by the wonderful Canadian singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn who sang ‘Woke up thinking about ... read more

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