ALL THE FUN OF THE FAIR
'Jonny' Hobson Announcer extraordianaire.
The best man on the Island for painless extractions,
this time of money at the Ascension Day Fair
From Revd Fr Keith James,
St Mary's Vicarage,
Tel/Fax 00 247 6431
Congratulations to Fr Keith and the hard working members of the organising committee for the splendid Ascension Day Fair held last Saturday in Georgetown. Despite the competing attraction of the FA Cup Final, there was an excellent turnout. Everyone appeared to enjoy themselves immensely. There were lots of games, bargains to be found, excellent catering and, to my mind the highlights of the afternoon were:
- the fashion show in the Saints Club admired by a very large, enthusiastic audience.
- the tug-of-war won by the AIS team) the team I "managed" - the police sextet - came in a very creditable third place).
- and the concrete donkey presented to me by Noddy Lawrence. It will have pride of place in the Residency garden.
Moving to a less salubrious subject, effy water! At the last Forum meeting a member asked if it is safe to eat fruit/vegetables irrigated with effy water. The question has been referred to the UK. In the interim Dr Shub's advice is that veg that grows above ground (cucumbers, tomatoes, beans etc) should be safe if properly washed. But that sub-ground veg (carrots, potatoes etc) may not be. Brian Benfield (whom many of you will remember was here in 1991-94 and who was very active in the Gardening Club) has dropped me an E-mail. It contains the following:
".......Effy water was used for everything from green beans to potatoes and sweet corn to cucumbers. I suffered no ill effects from eating this produce including the fruit from the orchard and know of no one else who did either."
So there you have it! So, until we hear back from the UK, if in doubt leave alone.
Two old friends of the islands, Dr and Mrs Philip Ashmole, have now completed the manuscript of a very interesting sounding book on the natural history of St Helena and Ascension. It is claimed to be the first comprehensive book about St Helena since that of Melliss in 1865 and will be the first of its kind about Ascension (being a "full" book rather than John Packer's excellent "concise" guide). The problem at the moment is finding the "seed-money" to encourage the publisher, Anthony Nelson Ltd, to invest the considerable sum needed to cover production costs. If anyone would like to help they can contact the Ashmole's direct at: Kidston Mill, Peebles, Scotland EH45 8P11, Scotland.
By the time you read this, Professor Harvey Armstrong and Dr Robert Read will be here gathering background information to enable them to draft the terms of reference for the main economic survey of Ascension - the Fiscal Study referred to in the island's Consultation Paper. I have arranged for them both to meet the AIMG and the Forum along with others resident here. They want to meet as many people as possible. So, if you see them around, please do not be backward in giving them your views.
Baroness Symons, the British minister responsible for Overseas Territories made an important speech to the Royal Commonwealth Society last Friday. I have sent a copy to each organisation here asking that it is put on your company notice boards (it is too long to publish in the Islander). It made several references to White Paper "Partnership for Progress and Prosperity". One especially important part of the speech of significant interest to the Saints should help to lay to rest some misconceptions now doing the rounds. It is as follows:
"We have strengthened our commitment to the people of the territories by offering British citizenship to those who qualify and who wish to have it. We have not attached any conditions to this offer. It is not linked to other provisions in the White Paper." [My underlining].
Finally there has been another clue to the dead fish mystery. The scientists aboard the British Antarctic Survey ship the "James Clark Ross " who were sailing around the coast last week making all sorts of observations, say that there has been some minor volcanic activity in the area. The manifestation of this is that great columns of boiling water and toxic fumes have been released from the seabed which, the scientists say, is a very likely cause of our fish morbidity. The mystery deepens.
R C Huxley
24 May 1999
So that's it for another year! The ADF buttoned up well almost, with some money still to come in a final reckoning up and Then the distribution of the proceeds. It has been quite an experience. almost as frustrating as running a church fete back in the UK, but at least that experience had taught me the probable snags and sure enough they surfaced. However, in spite of warning everyone that I am likely to blow my top when the pressure gets too great, I think I managed to stay reasonably calm.
Many years ago when I was a church warden we were awaiting the official arrival of a new clergyman for our country church. He was to arrive one Saturday, and the annual Church fete was to be the following weekend. We had to move some tables and chairs from where they were stored down to the village green for this event, and I knew that our new Vicar had a large trailer, so when he was moving some bits and pieces into the Vicarage a few days before his 'installation' I asked if he would help out, and he said he would. The church was packed for the Saturday evening service, everyone had turned out to see what this new vicar was like. Eventually the Archdeacon stood up in the pulpit to give his address. I shall always remember his opening remarks. "I am very pleased to introduce Martin as your new Vicar. He is here to preach the gospel - not to move chairs and tables around!!"
I often thought of that as I drove round my six parishes in the UK doing menial little jobs like pinning up notices or sweeping leaves from the porch. Thought about it too picking up litter last Sunday afternoon and taking the chairs back to the Junior Church. I could almost hear the Archdeacon saying 'you shouldn't be doing that!' But why ever not?
To my mind whatever we do in the service of others, if we do it to the best of our ability and to the glory of God, is preaching the gospel.
God Bless You and Keep You,
Fr Keith & Ginny.
Bit of a slimline edition this week, again.
Congratulations go to Father Keith, Ginny and all involved in the organisation and the facilitating of this years ADF. I think that Ascension Islanders have done their part in the destruction of the worlds Hamburger mountain, and contributed no end to the greening of our island, judging from the amount of plants sold.
The day was enjoyed and supported by most of the populous, as can be seen on the picture board of the day. The younger members of the community appeared to have the most fun: that is until the tug-of-war competition. Congratulations to the winning team of Wilson Scipio, Ian Thomas, Gary Joshua, Neil Joshua, Mervyn Leo and Tris Moyce, ably coached by Errol Herne.
|As Caz reminded everyone
last week, the view of Ascension Islanders is requested
on the future of this Island. Your views are important.
Please contribute your ideas to the consultation
procedure. I f devolution can happen in Scotland, who
knows what may be in store for the people of Ascension
Island. Make your views known now. Its no use after
the event. T.J
Unfortunately, I must beat the dead horse again and address problems at the Volcano Club. On Friday, May 15th, someone maliciously broke a water line in the mens bathroom. The resulting water leak flooded the entrance, office, and gift shop. Thus, the club had to be closed early. It is my personal theory this damage was caused by someone here temporarily. If anyone has any knowledge of these events, I would appreciate them reporting them to myself or our Security. Secondly, several underage children were recently expelled from the club. The Volcano Club is an adult facility and unsuitable for children. Children are only allowed on the premises with an adult who is directly supervising the children. No one under the age of 18 is allowed in the bar. I realize these rules may be different than those of some other similar facilities on the island, but those are the rules we must comply with. Lastly, since we can no longer exchange British sterling or Falklands currency on the island, we can no longer accept these methods of payment at the Volcano Club or anywhere else on the base. Only US dollars or St Helenian/Ascension currency will be accepted.
Soon, we will be replacing several lengths of the floating fuel pipeline moored in Clarence Bay. Once this work commences, the pierhead will be closed as open fuel maintenance will be performed. The date and time of this operation will be deconflicted with ship arrivals.
You may have noticed our windfarm was turned off for several days about a week ago. Unfortunately, we had to perform a temporary repair on a transformer and some electrical equipment. The windfarm creates about $1,200 worth of free electrical power daily.
The Base softball season continues to progress well, and we continue to make up games rescheduled as the result of launch and aircraft operations. The standings thusfar are as follows:
Georgetown 9-2 Dodgers 5-6 Fire/Security 7-2 SerCo 3-6 Admin 8-3 Hot Shots 1-9 Bad Boyz 9-4 Airheads 1-11
After the regular season concludes on June 11th, a double elimination knockout tournament will begin.
Base employees have been working very hard to remove the engines from the old powerplant. These engines, once removed and cleaned, will be shipped to Patrick Air Force Base where the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office (DRMO) will take possession of these assets. At this time, they will most probably be resold in an auction. Some other items we are currently discussing disposal plans on include the old asphalt batch plant, the old desalinization plant units, and the old fuel pipeline. Once all of the old powerplant area equipment is removed, several plans are being discussed on what to do with the facility. One conceptual plan includes creating an auto hobby shop. In the interim, this area is a hard hat area off-limits to all personnel. The roof is very unstable and unsafe to any occupants.
Major Jeff Lowdermilk
The Met Office Weather Report
Statistics for the week ending Sunday 2nd May 1999.
|Max (deg C)||Min (deg C)||Rainfall (mm)|
ASCENSION SEA SWELL FORECAST ( based on
data available on Monday afternoon) :South to southwesterly 1.5m
but reaching 2.2m at times over the weekend.
Sea temperature around Ascension Island : 28 C.
ASCENSION ISLAND: As you will see from the figures, Airhead had a mostly dry week with only a few showers on Friday. Other parts of the island though, had more frequent showers and these were mostly in a line from Green Mountain to Georgetown. In spite of it now being well into winter here the afternoon temperatures are still reaching respectable values.
ST HELENA: Mr Gary Thomas reports:- A week most noted for some moderate/heavy showers, falling mainly at night and with generally sunny days. The rain also held off and the sun shone for the crowds attending the St Helena Day celebrations on Longwood Green on Friday 21st, but a heavy shower around 11pm ended the diso provided by K.J. Whit Monday 24th however, was rather overcast and wet under foot but this did not deter a good support of the Fun-day at the Sandy Bay Environmental Centre grounds. A pleasant week.
U.K: A ridge of high pressure brought mostly fine weather at the start of the week but by the middle of the week it became unsettled again with plenty of rain over Southern Britain on Wednesday. After a cool start temperatures rose above normal on Wednesday and on Thursday reached 22C in London.
FALKLAND ISLANDS:An area of high pressure brought fine weather after some rain on Monday , although it was rather cloudy. North to northwesterly winds became strong on Thursday ahead of a band of rain which brought rain on Friday. The weekend was then cloudy with showers.
David Gill was a professor of astronomy, who came to Ascension Island in 1877 to observe the opposition of Mars using a heliometer by which he could measure the angular distances of the planet from the neighbouring stars. Next week I would like to describe something of this expedition, but first let me tell you a little about the man and the work in which he was involved. As a scientist, his work was generally heavy stuff with complex mathematics, but don't worry we won't get involved in that - I probably wouldn't understand it myself anyway!
David Gill was born in Aberdeen on 12 June 1843 and educated in the same city. He took up astronomy at an early age and went with Lord Lindsay's expedition to the Indian Ocean. By the age of 34 he was a Professor in Astronomy and making a name in his own right and it was at this stage that the trip to Ascension island was made.
The relative distances of the planets from the sun are known from the Laws of Gravitation and tables of their positions and movements use the distance of the Earth from the Sun as a unit of length. To find accurately the value of this unit it is neccessary first to obtain the parallax value of each of the planets at a time when it is nearest to the Earth. To do this you have to take measurements in the evening and again in the early morning, when the planet is on opposite sides of the sky. Gill had already obtained figures for Venus during the 1874 transit, now he had the chance to do the same thing for Mars, and Ascension Island was the ideal place to make the observations.
After his work here was successfully completed Gill went on to become Astronomer at the Cape of Good Hope, where he did a lot of work in improving observatories but one of his main contributions was making a start in producing star photographs of the heavens.
The heliometer is an instrument originally designed for measing the variation of the sun's diameter at different seasons of the year. By subsequent improvements it became one of the most accurate astronomical instruments for measuring angular distances between the stars. This work however, was very tedious, great accuracy was required and the job was eventually taken over by photography. Gill was the last great heliometer observer, his measurements of the parallax of the southern stars were the standard for a very long time so it is all the more ironic that the work he did at the Cape was to cause the demise of the instrument in favour of photography.
At the Cape Gill had a photgraph taken of the comet of 1882, using a camera strapped to the great equatorial telescope of the Royal Observatory. The resulting plate showed many stars as well as the comet and gave Gill the ida of mapping the whole sky photographically.
The stars had of course been viewed through telescopes for hundreds of years but the field of the astronomical telescope is small and an object, or group of objects, can only be viewed a piece at a time. A photgraph of the object on the other hand, can show the whole thing at one go and its full beauty can be appreciated but the great advantage as Gill saw it was that the angular distances between the stars can be made much more accurately and from the comfort of an office desk. The result of this was that during the 27 years that Gill was at the Cape, and especially in the years 1885 -89, he took photographs of the night sky from the South pole up to 18 degrees south as a first step in producing a complete star chart of the sky. However it was to be many years before the job was completed for both Northern and Southern Hemispheres and the complete star atlas published.
Gill was knighted in 1900, then returned to Britain in 1906 and became president of the British Association from 1907 to 1908. He died in London on 24 January 1914, aged 71.
See you next week,
It has been a busy week on the Gannet. We had a self-bunkering operation last Wednesday, immediately followed by the pumpover on Thursday and Friday. The pumpover went well, after some initial teething problems, which resulted in us having to spend a second night at the inner anchorage. This was the first time that the Gannet has used one of her steam turbine cargo pumps at the inner anchorage: Previously when pumping petrol ashore we have used our hydraulic deepwell pumps. On Saturday morning we discovered that Ascension breeds a larger than normal pig; isn't that so, Roy!!
The ADF seemed to go well, and hopefully lots of money was raised. Congratulations to those who won tickets, for a round the island trip, in the raffle. Commiseration's to those who suddenly found that they had spent a huge amount of money in the auction, to buy round the island tickets. Scratching ones nose or rubbing ones hair is to be avoided when in the presence of such an auctioneer. Surely Sotherbys' will be putting forward a job offer! For the lucky ticket holders the round the island trip will be on Sunday 13 June. Pick up from the pier will be 0900. We look forward to welcoming you on board. Please would all ticket holders contact the Gannet before 6 June, either via Cable & Wireless or Turtle.
Malcolm and I enjoyed our mountaineering exercise, last Sunday. We would like to thank Jeff, John and Karen, but mostly Ian for his timely intervention.
Finally, a note for Graham. See you on Sunday, at the Exiles, where we will be trying to beat all the other teams and run up your bar bills!!
"Are you back again?!" people keep asking me. "What are you doing here?", that's another one I hear. "Blimey! I thought we'd seen the last of you.." You begin to get the picture. Actually it's a delight to be back on Ascension and people have been very kind.
This is now my third tour and whilst many things may change the island itself has remained the same. There's clearly been a change in the RAF presence, but I am sure some will remember John Boyd, the previous RAF Station Commander, and his wife Sara. Well, I am pleased to pass on that their little daughter, Charlotte, now has a baby brother! Alexander John was born on 16th April this year at a very healthy 8lbs 6oz.
I had to look twice when I saw the 'Ascension Island Tourist Office', but that must be a good thing. Our lads from 'Snoopy' enjoyed their stay in the accommodation, and even hire cars are available. It's quite exciting, isn't it?
The Met Office has also moved. We now have a lovely office with much more room and we're well located and it's altogether better than before. Other changes include a full BFBS broadcast. Match of The Day is brilliant in shirt sleeves in an open-air bar, especially when Middlesbrough win. I am glad that snooker at Two Boats Club is the same as ever, that the VC still looks after us on a Friday night and that the Coffee shop and the Exiles provide a haven in Georgetown.
So what is it that brings weathermen back to the island like a proverbial bad penny? Well, I reckon it's the climate. After all we should know a good climate when we see one. Mind you, the relaxed pace of life, the friendly waves and smiles, and the sheer remoteness of the place all contribute to this weatherman's nirvana.
This is only a short stay for me, and I wish it could be longer. Still, I haven't painted the rock yet and I have no intention of painting it in the future...
You have been warned!
John Bound (aka Hugh, Metchat April - October '96)
EDITOR - Tony
The New Islander Office, Fort Hayes, Georgetown, Ascension Island.
Tel/Fax 00 + 247 6327
Deadline: 12 pm Tuesdays
Deadline: 12 PM Tuesdays
Contributors: Neil McFall, Father Keith, Sharon Andrews, Jeff Lowdermilk, Roger Huxley, Nathan Prince, John Bound, Jim Podger, and all those whose picture appears on the first instalment of the ADF photo page.
Printers: DEBBIE & CARRIE
The Islander post-box is situated in the entrance to the Administrators Office.
Deadline for all contributions as 12.00 on Tuesday