Last night while engaged in my favorite pastime of blog-hopping, I came across a blog called Life on a Small Island. Wow! Did I ever hit the jackpot where my fascination with isolated lifestyles is concerned...
Sian Thomas lives in an old house with Button the cat on the north shore of a tiny island in the Orkneys called Graemsay, which at last count had a population of 27. The house/farm is called Sandside, the largest house on the island and which had served as the post office in the years before it was left empty and slowly falling into disrepair. She bought it in 2000 and saw it through extensive renovation and remodeling. She has lived there the past 13 years, raising chickens, cutting peat, gardening, photographing her surroundings, making soups, breads and cakes, and working for the University of York from home.
Her blog entries are about long winters, fleeting, precious sunshine, electrical and gas outages and water shortages, parties in the community hall with the others who call Graemsay home, seals and other wildlife, gale-force winds and lashing rain, weekly boat trips across the sea to the small town of Stromness to buy food, see the doctor or the vet and maybe enjoy a latte and chat with friends, and deliveries of mail and ordered supplies to the small pier.
I so admire and respect rugged individuals like her and as much as I would love to live her kind of lifestyle, I know that I could not. When I daydream about kitting up in parka and wellies, I usually imagine mself walking through a formal garden overseeing the work being done there. I've never been what my mother termed as "work brittle" where physical labor is concerned. My health has never been that robust. But perhaps that's why I love learning about people like this.
It will take some time, but I intend to pore over each and every post Sian Thomas has written. I'm sure I'm already appearing on her stats as some sort of lurker!
"The essence of Orkney's magic is silence,
loneliness and the deep marvellous rhythms
of sea and land, darkness and light."
Blog title from George Mackay Brown's poem, New Child.