A friend on a neighbouring island told me about how by October everyone is fed up of tourists, the constant questions, the feeling of being ‘on show’ at all times. He said that islanders start muttering about everyone buggering off and leaving them alone. By March the islanders are sick of the sight of each other, ready for a swell in numbers to dilute the personalities and desperate to see some different faces.
Back in April last year when we were enthusing with the naive newcomers passion about spring and summer and long days of endless sunshine people went to great pains to remind us about the midges. When we seemed to be tolerating them okay they started shaking their heads at us and saying ‘of course you’ve not done a winter yet….’ with an air of doom about them. Winter, we were told, is grim. No one comes out of their houses, everyone gets depressed, the boat won’t come for weeks on end, winds and rain batter the island. The last remains of you that the midges didn’t suck the blood out of will simply get blown away.
Maybe I am exaggerating a little, perhaps we were not warned of death and destruction exactly, but we were certainly given the impression that life would be far tougher than we expected with our southern softy mainland ways. But we are made of stern stuff. We are a tight knit little family of four and have spent a lot of time over the years sitting things out, finding the humour in the grimmest of situations and reminding ourselves whenever times get tough that we are the ones in charge and at any time can change our minds, backtrack and do something different instead. Such thoughts and reassurances keep us sane when the wind blows, the boat doesn’t come and tensions run high.
We are weeks rather than months away from spring now, the days are getting longer, we have dates booked in for visitors coming once again and although the weather continues to throw a full arsenal of weapons at our little static we have almost been all the way once around the sun on this little island.
|These four pictures were all taken at the same time yesterday afternoon when I noticed that every direction had different weather / sky. This is looking out east towards the sea. The sky was greyer than it comes across in this picture.|
|This is looking west – there is snow falling on the peaks in the distance|
|Looking south towards Hallival. Snow falling and an eerie sort of light|
|meanwhile looking to the north we had blue skies|