It isn't rare, if you have the propagation ! The US and south America are experiencing the best conditions for many years, unfortunately the same good conditions are not being experienced in Europe. Its been a very long time since anyone in the Falkland Islands will have had a contact with the UK
No offence but have you checked to see if your antenna is plugged in? Band conditions have been excellent over the last few months in G... I have 254 dxcc this year, 208 on 10m.
VP8/LU are an easy path to G even when the solar cycle is at it's lowest. I worked Bob on 10w and a dipole on 17m in 2008 when the SFI was about as low as it can get... I've worked Bob 20-10m in 2009,2010,2011. I'm certainly not alone, thousands of G's have done the same year in year out.
As to those looking for VP8 cw, VP8NO is your man... active and a strong signal.