Saturday, 29 October 2011
My Mum always used to say that she could never have lived on Lewis because she found island life very claustrophobic. If you consider that this is one of the most open places in the UK with huge skies where you can see the horizon on all four points of the compass in many places that can sound odd to some people. For a while it sounded odd to me.
Recently the ferry has been disrupted a lot because of the severe weather with people either being stranded in Ullapool overnight or stranded on the Island.
Therein lies the answer to the conundrum.
When my Mum used to come to the Island there was no way to get off the Island on a Sunday: no planes and no ferries. No way to get off in extreme weather. Now it is rare for there to be no way off the Island on any day. The planes and ferries travel on Sundays. When the wind is high and confines the ferry to port the planes usually fly and when the ice and fog ground the planes the ferry sails.
However the stretch of water - nearly 30 miles between the nearest points and 50 miles between ferry ports - which separates the Mainland and Lewis (The Minch) is the very barrier which makes the Island the place that it is: wonderfully free to live in because of its isolation and terribly claustrophobic to live in because of its isolation.
New Zealand is an Island group miles away from anywhere else including its neighbour Australia and the other Pacific Islands. Many people in New Zealand feel cut off and claustrophobic. Many, like me, feel liberated by its remoteness.
Australia is an Island. Perth is possibly the most remote city on earth being geographically closer to both Dili (2,785 kilometres (1,731 mi)) and Jakarta (3,002 kilometres (1,865 mi)) than Sydney (3,291 kilometres (2,045 mi)), Brisbane (3,604 kilometres (2,239 mi)) or Canberra (3,106 kilometres (1,930 mi)). I found Perth one of the most wonderful cities I've ever stayed in.
So I have come to the conclusion after that rather odd rambling post that there are two sorts of people. Those who like living on Islands (or isolated situations such as Perth) and those who don't.
I don't think I'll get any plaudits for coming to that conclusion. Sorry if I bored you!