Even out here in wildest west coast inner hebrides we have technology you know! Most of the parcels that arrive for us come via amazon.co.uk (other online retailers are available!). The island has a very fantastic website – you may recognise some of the faces in the ‘news’ section. Various of our fellow islanders have blogs:
Check out Ranger Mike, fellow new arrivals from the Tattie House, and along with a blog you can look at the wonderful range of stuff available at Rum crafts on Fliss’ website.
I remember watching a TV programme as a very small girl about people who lived on a Scottish island. I wish I knew which island it was or could remember more about it but it stayed with me all these years and I can still recall the clip showing the whole population of the island turning out to greet a small rowing boat arriving with the post and some provisions on a rough, wet, windy day. I remember it looking exciting and romantic. Clearly the huge inconvenience of such a lifestyle didn’t strike me as a child, just the sense of adventure, of community and of it being a really interesting looking existance.
Funny how all these years on, with life on a remote island never factoring in my life plan at all until about 6 months ago I find myself here doing just that.
In so many ways the world is a smaller place now, internet and phone makes everything so much easier, when we want groceries or petrol or pretty much anything else you can think of we just get online or make a phonecall and order it. Sure there will be times when the ferries are disrupted and stuff doesn’t arrive (I had the very funny reply to a chased up delivery today from a company that ‘it is showing as dispatched on 10th May, please check with your neighbours incase someone else took it in for you’ – I soon put them straight!) but there is very little out of our reach with a little forethought and planning.
Having registered our address and made enquiries as to how to get on the electoral roll we have obviously alerted some sort of triggers and this mornings post brought a letter from the TV licencing people (no, we’ll not be needing a licence what with not having electricity let alone a TV!) and one from the council tax assessor team (yes we do live here, no we don’t have water, sewerage, mains electric, street lighting, refuse collection… yes we’ll probably still have to pay, which is fine, I want my right to vote and am happy to contribute to secure it). We’re in an odd sort of middle ground of spending £40 to renew our driving licences with our new address but running a car on red diesel with no tax, insurance or MOT because we’re on private roads so don’t need them. As fairly upstanding citizens we have full intentions of paying whatever we should be whilst saving loads of money by not needing other things. An odd sort of halfway house really.
We’ve had some really interesting converations between the four of us as to just what ‘community’ is – what does it mean, who is the community, what are our responsibilities collectively and individually? What are our priorities? Should we support each other, take advantage, lead or follow. What is ‘the greater good’? It’s a fascinating place to be as observers, as participants and as community members. Our opinions are constantly being reformed, shaken up and tipped upside down. We are thriving on the challenges, the learning and the opportunities it presents.