Island Blog 55 – Islands

Island Blog 55

This bank holiday whilst the whole world basked in barbecued sunshine, we took on the rain.  We’re nice like that up here on the west coast.  Our coats are shinier and fluffier than everyone else’s and our skins softer, more luminous.

It’s the rain what does it; that, and the lack of hectic streets and hypermarkets and flat-down pavements so you don’t trip over.  Our pavements are all wonky, because the land is wonky, although in the nicest possible way. We know how to get around things up here like big rocks and slip-down cliffs and difficult situations.

There is something lost in a life where all is perfect.  Wifi connections flow effortless as water and buses arrive on time. Supermarkets never run out of chicken legs on a Friday afternoon and the papers are delivered on time.  The smallest thing can throw a person, almost over backwards.  I’ve seen it with my own eyes.  A door is left unlocked, a school bag forgotten and you would find yourself looking round for an Apocalyptic Horseman.

I watch, in astonishment, this organised, orderly, efficient, calm person turn into a firework display….. and I want to say:

What on EARTH is the fuss about?  But I don’t.  It might be dangerous.

Instead, I go back to the people who make little fuss about anything much.  I don’t mean to imply we all live here under the lowest possible standards, oh no indeed!  Quite the opposite, in fact. But the approach to miniature disasters, such as catching the snake-winding bus into town and discovering on arrival that one is without purse, never seems to bring on a hissy fit, but, instead, a way round it.  There will be someone in town who will lend a tenner with a smile to go with it and a chuckle at how daft one is becoming as one ages, and someone else, again, to buy a frothy coffee.  Then, lighter laden that we thought we would be, we pop onto the returning bus, some hours later, to share the merry tale all over again with the other passengers. By the time we arrive back in the village, we are short on groceries and long on laughter.

Perhaps that’s the key.  Perhaps, although we live on an island, we are not islands ourselves. And before you say it, this has diddlysquat to do with location.  I remember finding just such teamwork in a block of flats in Glasgow.  Downstairs baked pancakes, brought them upstairs, and upstairs helped carry heavy shopping in and made a cuppa.  Mid-stairs was a bit distant, but we could hear her, all of us, upstairs and down, in her high-heeled boots as she marched over her wooden floors with many miles to go before sleep.

It isn’t that things come too easy that make us over-react when they go wrong.  It’s the fear we will be alone in facing it.

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