(Photo taken by the lovely Dan McLachlan)
I read a post on one of my favourite blogs about the need to justify what you do as a stay at home Mum and whilst this is a subject I feel passionate about (come on ladies we all make our own decisions based on financial/ and or emotional reasons so lets give each other a break!) it got me to thinking about how I feel the need to justify living on a small island.
When people hear that I live on an island there is either one of two reactions
1) Wow that must be so idyllic
2) Doesn’t that get boring?
Well my life isn’t idyllic (although I’m pretty happy with it) but it certainly isn’t boring. In fact I would love to have enough time to get bored!
There is no doubt that there are things that I miss about the mainland.
* Family and friends. No doubt the biggest draw back about living on this rock in the Atlantic is the distance from all the other people I love. I so wish I could arrange a last minute day trip to catch up with my friends or family and there are countless reunions and events that I miss. Arranging to see people involves a boat, plane and train and is costly and time consuming.
* Costa Coffee/ Anonymity there is no such thing as a trip to Costa to flick through a magazine over a coffee. This is because there is no Costa and there is nowhere on St. Martin’s where you aren’t known. This is lovely but sometimes it’s nice just not to talk!
* Shopping. I admit it. I really miss having a wander around the shops. Internet shopping is amazing and has improved so much in the time I’ve lived here but it just isn’t quite the same…
But like any life decision there are benefits to living where I live. These ultimately outweigh the drawbacks and this is why I am now an islander.
* Walking. I do a lot of walking, even more so now I have Marcus. There is only one road but it is literally on my doorstep. I don’t have to drive anywhere, I don’t have to negotiate any main roads, it’s just there. Whilst the road is not very long, the hedgerows are always changing, different flowers are out, different light at different times of day and year, different views depending on the weather.
* Scenery. Carrying on from the above theme, the Isles of Scilly are stunning and well worth a visit if you’ve never been. St. Martin’s has some of the most amazing beaches in the country, some say if not the world.
* Community. At the heart of any village is a community and our island community is something special. Yes there is lots happening from gig rowing and cricket to bowls and badminton, charity coffee mornings to road improvement working parties. But mainly I have learnt that people on this island really care. We never have to worry about going away and finding someone to feed the cat. When we returned from our honeymoon our house had apparently flooded whilst we were away. However we would never have guessed, islanders got together and cleaned it all up. And then there was the time we came home from the mainland and our lovely neighbour had mowed our lawn! Barney and I have been through some pretty life changing stuff (happy and sad) and there has never has been a shortage of people offering to help. There is an overwhelming feeling that someone has your back.
* Friends. Aside from the wonderful community I really have made some fantastic lifelong friends. Somewhere as unique as this is likely to attract like minded people and I have been very lucky to not only get to know some very interesting people but to count them as good friends (one of them even married me).
* Lifestyle. In all honesty we couldn’t afford the lifestyle we have, our house, business, me being able to stay at home with Marcus, on the mainland. For some reason I always feel a pang of guilt about this. But mainly I feel lucky. What if I’d never applied for a 6 month seasonal job on St. Martin’s on a jet lagged whim? Goodness it doesn’t bear thinking about.