“This is the Lodge, “ said my guide and host, Wayne Brewer, after I touched down on a hilltop in an eight-seater plane on West Falklands. He was pointing at a small two-story whitewashed house straight out of Northern Scotland. A few small buildings surrounded it.
“And this is the school,” he said, nodding in the direction of another squat building. “We have four pupils. As you can imagine, the teacher is run off her feet.”
A sense of irony, or fun, is commonplace in the Falklands. One oncoming vehicle is referred to as the “rush hour” or “traffic jam” because there is simply so little mechanical footwear on the network of roads built to link settlements after the 1982 Falklands war that ended a brief Argentine occupation. Most of the traffic has hooves.
One of the little houses in Port Howard – population “28, sometimes 30” says Wayne, contains the War Museum he put together from debris left behind after the conflict. There are guns and airplane ejector seats, medical kit and mortar tubes and much more. It’s a tiny display of immense impact if you have the imagination to imagine being a newly conscripted Argentine soldier dropped into this wilderness of white grass and mountain crags and told this is now part of your homeland, defend it against one of the best equipped modern armies – and air forces in the world. Wayne, his museum, the Lodge and school are below.