1st Ascension Island
Making the front page this week are our Scouts who have submitted their second report from Portstewart in Northern Ireland where they are having a brilliant adventure. Their report makes excellent reading and has some very good colour photographs. You can read about what they've been up to on the Ascension Island Scouts web site at: http://www.scouts.org.ac .
(P.S. don't forget to leave a message on the Scout's Visitor's Book!).
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One of my treasures is a little book about 4 inches square, just 50 pages long. It is called "The Practice of the Presence of God". I bought it secondhand for a mere 20p long before I became a priest. It contains the writings and letters of a 17th century monk, Brother Lawrence. He was convinced that because he was big and clumsy and always breaking things he ought to be punished, and that God could do this by the harsh routine of monastic life.
To Brother Lawrence's surprise he found he liked his new, harsh life. It rather suited him.
But there were things he did not particularly like, such as working in the monastery kitchen. He found the secret of making unpleasant tasks endurable was to do them "for God". And so he was able to write "I turn my little omelet in the pan for love of God."
Two hundred years later Horatius Bonar wrote the words
"Fill thou my life O Lord my God, in every part with praise
Praise in the common things of life
It's goings out and in
Praise in each duty and each deed
However small and mean."
A similar sentiment. I'm no saint like Brother Lawrence, but I'm not one to think that things are beneath me either. That's why I share Jules MaQuin's sentiments about litter on the Island. No good moaning about it or arguing who put it there. Pick it up.
I've been doing a bit of that these past four weeks. I'm not telling you this for any credit, but just so that you know that I've discovered that most of what lies about has been there for some time, and the amount of "new" rubbish each week is in fact very small.
So with very little real effort we really could "Clean up Ascension Island"
By the way, if you must throw your drink cans out of the car window, please don't throw them into the thorn bushes.
It makes them a damn sight harder to get at, even if I am doing it 'for the love of God'!
God Bless you and keep you,
Fr Keith & Ginny.
|From the Editors:- Penny
Firstly I would just like to thank my editing friends for thinking about me, when they decided to up and leave and go on holiday!!! Not! Adrian did say something about helping out with the Scouts, but that's no excuse!
On the subject of our Ascension Scouts, great pictures and write up in
this issue on what the boys have been getting up to. They are obviously
having a brillent time in
Anyway that's all folks! It's been a long day, so my brain isn't quite functioning right at this moment
Credit where it is due! I probably gave the impression in my 'Copy of
a letter to the Acting Administrator letter' published in The Islander
last week that the meeting between AIS employees and Government Representatives
was called by the latter. I have since learned that the initiative came
from AIS Management and that they should have the credit for arranging
what was an informative and useful meeting.
I've spent seven and a half years on Ascension altogether; in fact I've
spent most of my life here. And in that time I've come to know a lot of
people. And now the time has come for me to say goodbye to them. There
are a lot of very special people on this island and before I go I wanted
to tell them how much they all mean to me. I'm going to miss them all
very very much.
From: Ann Sellars
I thought it might be interesting to locate all the original group who
started the Islander and hearing their memories .
Sincerely Ann Sellars ( formally Bascombe)
Bungalow No. 5,
Georgetown, Ascension Island.
10 August 2000.
Mr. W. Dickson
Dear Mr. Dickson,
As you are aware, I do not agree that the absence of views on the Fiscal & Economic Report is due to lack of interest on Ascension Island. I certainly believe that primarily this is due to the non-existence of a proper dissemination programme, something we were led to believe would occur by the Portsmouth Team. Publishing the type of report we are talking about is not in my view dissemination. If it is then it has failed! Bearing in mind that we do not have a full media infrastructure and debating forums here, then a lack of reaction is not in the least surprising.
I've read the Governor's article in last week's Islander and although he said at that Tuesday's meeting that he would write a paper to stimulate discussion, it does appear that the article was actually written before the meeting. I have the following comments on the article.
I do not think that the St. Helena Government should get involved in the day to day running of Ascension Island. They have more than they can cope with on St. Helena so I fail to see how they could do justice to problems and situations some seven hundred miles away! I need to qualify this by saying that I do believe there is far greater scope for an Ascension Government to co-operate with St. Helena, and not only the Government there. For example in seconding staff and, on repayment, the use of other 'expertise'. These two situations are though fundamentally very different.
I was disappointed to see the Governor's reference to AIS possibly breaking up and parts being privatised after the first year. I don't disagreed that this is likely but I would have thought that dealing with how we are going to manage the interim period is what is important now rather than creating unease to those who will read into that statement what they want, which might not be in the long term interests of Ascension.
As to the School and Hospital, I would see these being part of Government but the Ascension Government and not SHG. As I said above, this would not stop co-operation between the two Governments to the hilt but the responsibility needs to be here on Ascension.
On the fiscal regime, I think using knowledge and experience available from St. Helena is a good idea but I would have thought that you would still need your expert to come in and set it up. Running a system successfully is different to setting one up.
I too hold strong views about the democratic deficit on Ascension but I totally disagree with the Governor. Our own Island Council or whatever, has to be the way forward because it would be a complete disaster to combine the two Islands' Councils as the Governor suggested. It won't work.
I am nevertheless pleased to read that it will be up to the people of Ascension Island to choose their own form of Government. How are you going to gauge the wishes of the people - by referendum?
On a more general note, I would like to reiterate what I mentioned at the Foreign Office last month. Firstly, there has to be that interim period of at least two years, which should be set up quite distinct from the arrangements for considering the big changes. That second phase I believe needs to be tackled by a Project Team, preferably local, with a team leader. The second phase, on which work could hopefully start soon, would be one where all recommendations, proposals and related questions are thoroughly examined, discussed, agreed and prepared in detail for implementation say on 1 April 2003.
Secondly, there is a desperate need now for the nettle to be grasped (plans for interim stage) and be seen to be grasped so that the concerns of those on Ascension, particularly the employees of AIS, can feel confident that these very important issues are being addressed.
These are my personal views.
'a fundamental principle should be the continuation of
infrastructure provision to service a stable community'
The BBC and the FCO recently met in London to discuss the findings set out in the Fiscal and Economic Report, commissioned by the FCO, which recommended the introduction of wide ranging changes to modernise the way Ascension Island is run.
Following this meeting the BBC and Cable & Wireless are pleased to be able to state that they will remain on Ascension for the foreseeable future, although they will cease to run AISJV from April 2001.
The meeting is intended to be the first in a series involving the FCO, the BBC and Cable and Wireless (as operators of Ascension Island Services) and the Ascension Administration to safeguard the provision of infrastructure, services and employment after April 2001 and until any new arrangements which emerge from the public debate on the longer term future of Ascension are established and brought into effect.
The series of discussions between the FCO, BBC and Cable and Wireless are intended to form only one element of the debate that we wish to encourage amongst the people of Ascension. We would like to hear everyone's views on the recommendations in the Fiscal and Economic Report. We hope that as many Islanders as possible will comment on them and contribute to shaping the future of Ascension Island.
The FCO, the BBC and Cable and Wireless are taking the following approach in devising interim arrangements for the period from next April :
The interim arrangements will be made public once they have been settled.
The FCO, the BBC and Cable and Wireless are confident in the future of Ascension. They hope that you will join them in developing the potential of this unique island to the mutual benefit of both Ascension and St Helena.
2nd Annual Beano Cook Chili Cookoff/Texas Scramble
Where: One Boats Gold Club
Please bring in a crock pot if possible.
Raffle for prizes - Computer, Stereo, Train Set, Camera, and others.
All proceeds will go to the
There will be plenty of food, music and fun. See ya-there. Any info call Don or Dudley at 2353
On Monday, 14 August, the Post Office will release for sale a set of four stamps featuring early fortifications of Ascension Island.
The stamps also featuring uniforms are as follows:-
|15p||Early Fortification 1815. This powder magazine is the remains of a temporary gun emplacement which was mounted at the end of Long Beach by the Ascension Island garrison when it was first established in 1815. This is one of the oldest man-made structures on the island.|
|35p||Fort Thornton 1817. This fort, built on a small hill north of the harbour was completed in 1817 and named Fort Cockburn. It was the main centre of defence during the time Napoleon was imprisoned on St Helena and it is likely that the guns were removed from it shortly after his death in 1821. From 1830 it was rebuilt and renamed Fort Thornton.|
|40p||Fort Hayes 1860. This fort situated on the southern side of the harbour, just below the hospital was constructed much later and completed in the 1860's. It was built into a hill previously called Goat Hill and became the island's main line of defence as Fort Thornton was allowed to decline.|
|50p||Fort Bedford. On Cross Hill is Fort Bedford, which was originally built around the turn of the 20th Century but re-built in 1941 to house two large 5.5-inch guns taken from HMS Hood. This was to provide the island's first line of defence during World War II.|
The First Day Cover design is the Royal Marines Badge and the cachet is the Royal Naval Badge.Sets of stamps at £1.40 and First Day Covers at £1.90 will be on sale at the Georgetown Post Office for a period of three months from the date of issue. They will still be available to collectors from the Philatelic Bureau for a further twelve months provided stocks last.Please visit http://www.ascension-island.gov.ac for purchasing instructions.
A R Francis, Postmistress
Post Office, Georgetown
12 August 2000
The Met Office Weather Report
Statistics for the week ending 14th August 2000.
|Max (deg C)||Min (deg C)||Rainfall (mm)|
ASCENSION SEA SWELL FORECAST: I don't think that this section has changed at all in the time that I've been here! 'Mainly southerly at around one metre' could be left here permamently. Shipwreck and I did have a look at the swell by Deadman's beach - and it did show some promise, only to disappoint once again the next day. It's not easy being a surfer in Ascension... Sea temperature around Ascension Island: 26 deg C.
ASCENSION ISLAND: The weather has just about held up over the last week. There's certainly a good deal of cloud to the east and south of us, and that has given us some cloudy and rainy days. Chances are that that's how things will be for a while yet.
ST HELENA: Gary Thomas writes: A rather wet/chilly week with a fresh breeze becoming strong during mid-week. Conditions settle on Saturday and we were treated to a rain-free, relatively pleasant, weekend.
UK: Actually it's not been a bad week. Mostly dry with some sunshine and Saturday turned out to be the warmest day of the week at a scorching 26 Celsius. Phew!
FALKLAND ISLANDS: It's Winter and the weather has been changeable. The nights are long and the days are short, albeit that the sun now stays above the horizon for a little bit longer nowadays.
It was reasonably quiet last week at the Met Office, but that has given us all a chance to recharge our batteries and prepare ourselves for the current onslaught of aircraft. There will be movements here, there, and every where, and not a single one will leave the island without a brief from our good selves. Of course, many of us at the Airhead will be involved, so the next week or two promises to keep us all on our toes.
I mentioned last week a little bit about hurricanes. Hurricanes have been given names for many years now, and once upon a time they were only given women's names. Now heaven knows why they thought that something so stormy should be given a female name, but they did. That was in the dark days before political correctness came barging in, and of course hurricanes now get both male and female names, given alternatively in alphabetical order throughout the season. All very proper...
Actually, there is an awful lot of research that goes into studying tropical storms. The first weather satellites were put into orbit back in the early 1960's simply to look for these revolving storms as they approached the States. Nowadays we have much more scientific data collected about each storm as it develops, and there are complex computer models that try and predict the movement and behaviour of these systems.
These storms gather their energy from the warm sea surface as they cross the Atlantic. As they approach the Caribbean they tend to turn right and head up the coast, staying over the realtively warm sea. Sometimes they head back across the atlantic towards Europe, and that is just what hurricane Alberto is expected to do. That's quite a journey, isn't it? I reckon, from the African coast it's a journey of something approaching 6,000 miles. Well, I'm impressed anyway!
Of course, by the time Alberto gets to Europe it will be an ex-hurricane. The sea gets colder and the storm runs out of steam quite quickly. Having said that, it may well bring a lot of wet and windy weather with it. Current indications are that it will affect the UK from around Friday of this week. There may be a little bit of hysteria back home, and people might feel tempted to write to Michael Fish and ask if he can see any hurricanes coming...
Well, I'm glad I'm here in Ascension! The media here is a different kettle of fish to the UK. Here the media is responsible and informative. Definitely.
One thing in last week's Islander that deserves a mention is the bumper crop of e-mails from Italy. I was most impressed with the standard of English, certainly better than my Italian. In fact Metchat would just like to say, 'Hi', to any Italians who may be reading this...
NEWS FROM THE ARMOURER
So far as the adoption of shell guns went, experiments were performed, and experimental guns in 8 inch, 10 inch and 12 inch calibre, were built and installed in various ships for trial purposes but no decisions were made. By this time the carronade had fallen from favour; for, as much as anything else, various engagements between British ships, and American ships, during the war of 1812 had discredited it.
The Americans had developed a gun of their own, the "Columbiad" which has been described as "a hybrid weapon of proportions intermediate between the carronade, and a long gun", and armed with this weapon, a 50 pounder of 7.4 inch calibre, American privateers could happily stand away, and out range any British ship relying upon carronades. The Columbiad is a weapon with a confused and incompletely known history, for, even the origin of the name is in doubt, some claiming that it was derived from a patriotic poem of the day, 'The Columbiad' by Barlow. Others, that it was due to being manufactured at the Columbian foundry of Georgetown, District of Columbia. It was developed in about 1810 by George Bomford, who was later to become the US Army's chief of ordnance, and was designed to fire either shot, or shell, as the situation demanded.
Unfortunately the matter is confused by the fact that the name, Columbaid, was also applied, fairly indiscriminately, to smaller guns, made at the Columbian Foundry, as early as 1809! It was also used much more widely after 1840 in relation to coastal defence guns in American service, when Colonel Bomford was responsible for me design and provision of armament.
It would be interesting, if any of our American friends on the island, can throw some light on the subject of "Armament and Weaponry", used around the early 1800's, as my library of American arms is somewhat limited around that period. It was known that America took the best of ideas and developed them, both on land and at sea, so any help would be most welcome. My thanks in advance people, for any unwanted books etc. on the subject matter, of armament, from any period.
Cheers for now, keep safe
Bryn the SERCO armourer
GOLF NEWS WITH SANDBAGGER
Sandbagger's back after non-popular demand I have returned to these hallowed pages. After a short break touring the U.K & Europe for a course made of oil, sand, rock & imaginary water. I was disappointed & so have returned to One Boat "The home of golf" for a greater challenge.
All you golfers out there seem to have had a little break yourselves it seems! Well that will soon change.
The July monthly medal was played, funny enough in July. Fiona Bennett apparently played a blinder breaking her own Ladies course record by one. Fiona's new record stands at 68 after shooting a nett 64, Well done again until the next time!
So the golf is about to start again so those of you that have used your clubs for unblocking the drains or back scratchers lately dig them out for a little fun & leisure down at One Boat your friendly out of town golf complex.
Two person Texas Scramble
This Sunday 20th August 2pm shotgun start.
Part of the August sports & in aid of Ascension sports fund
£2 a player cash entry.
Names on the board please
August medal 3rd September (there's a contradiction there somewhere) due to the sports day.8.30 tee off.
Ray Beano Texas Scramble Chili Cookoff
September 10th get your spices ready details to follow.
So no excuses get involved in one two or all of above Sandbagger has spoken.
EDITOR - Penny Peters
The New Islander Office, Fort Hayes, Georgetown, Ascension Island.
Tel/Fax 00 + 247 6327
Internet compilers - Paul Bennett, Nathan Prince & Gavin Yon
Deadline for all contributions is 6.00pm on Monday