Tuesday, 8 February 2011
I'm not talking about islands so big someone can spend their whole life on them without appreciating the separation. These are small islands - places where you can walk to the edge, look out over the water and see the divide, the water that makes you particular.
The character of the island seeps into the spirit of those living there - always an aloofness, an isolation. But otherwise the island's nature sets the tone. Folk are argumentative, muddy-booted and contrary - ready to defend another islander (albeit a mortal enemy) from mainlander barbs. Some are rugged, windswept and self-reliant while another set seem welcoming but in a way that gives nothing to the visitor beyond bodily needs plus maybe a smile.
Whether it is Sheppey, Wight, the Scillys, Ynys Mon or some rainspattered Hebridean place, the island character will out - that sense of being apart, of being other than grand folk in cities on the mainland. Isolated, cut off, independent.
I like that.