The Berkeley Lecce
On March 27 the incessant winds of the South Atlantic shook us out of our gray season. Nick and Alana Arculus took us to the Falkland Islands and told us of other everyday concerns than finding a parking slot in our small city brimful of motorized humanity. Their arrival for a two-year stay in the capital Stanley in 2015 was a step like Alice’s through the Looking Glass. Population in this Wonderland outnumbered trees only because none at all grew there. Just under three thousand human beings lord it, in a manner of speaking, over 4,699 square miles. They are outnumbered by resident sheep in a proportion of a hundred-and-fifty to one. Penguins thrive but have never been counted, perhaps because they stink to high heaven quite unlike their cute cousins we have all seen on film. Because this British Overseas Territory, (as stale crumbs of Empire are called), is 7,864 miles from Westminster and lies in the lee of a hulking giant (South America), the mechanics of existence there are different from ours in endless fascinating ways.
Nick, with his appropriately British deadpan, spurred on by Alana’s bursts of savory detail, painted a memorable picture. They were aided and kept in line by George, Maddie and Charlie, ages 4, 7, and 9, who for our delight shared the podium with their patient parents. There emerged a portrait of Falklanders as untroubled by their want of what we consider modern necessities. They seem a hospitable people, free of bustle, devourers of distance and leery of constraint, who are quite happy to be half a world away from the heavy hand of Her Majesty’s Government.