So my last post was about a year of living on Skye and watching the island alter with each month. When somewhere is so naturally beautiful of course you notice the changes. Life here is defined by the seasons.
Even those who don’t work out at sea or on crofts have to mould their plans to suit the shifting hours of daylight. We rush about to get things done in the short days of winter and then, in summer, it seems like the sun has forgot to set and all our hurry disappears.
When I arrived here I didn’t realise I’d gradually become more attuned to the seasons.
In fact, I didn’t realise how much moving to Skye would change me in general.
I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise considering I opted for an entirely new lifestyle…
Here’s what’s changed…
Firstly, I am now cold-proof.
By that I don’t mean that I no longer get the sniffles (although living away from the crowds does mean that you catch bugs much less frequently) -it means that I’m now well-acclimatised to the Hebridean weather.
There are many wonderful things about living in a big old house but warmth is not one of them; even with a full fire and the heating on full blast it still doesn’t always warm up fully.
95% of my skin remains covered year-round and I’m no longer bothered that I can see my breath when making a cup of tea or that I can’t feel my toes when I get up in the morning.
Now I actually prefer being cold, it makes me feel hardy (though what my guests think might be another matter!)
I no longer know what day it is.
This is a peculiar thing that affects most people I know on Skye. We run successful businesses and go about our daily lives with no issue at all but, when asked, we often can’t tell you if it’s a Tuesday or a Friday. Though it’s easy to tell when it’s a Sunday because everything’s closed.
I care less about money.
Although I sometimes enjoy the high life, I’ve never really been fussed about money (I did choose to become an artist, after all!)
I’m sure this lack of interest might come back to bite me in the bum one day (hello pension!) but right now on Skye it just doesn’t seem to matter as much. Whilst it’s nice to have enough cash to travel or eat out, the best things here are free.
That said, I’m not living the life of a monk.
As the quote goes, ‘Beware of artists as they mix with all sections of society’… So I might seem to do fancy things, but it really is all by association.
It’s lovely to be invited to swish events but at the end I always go back to the house where I put on an extra jumper on to save on bills and ball up my receipts so I don’t need firelighters. Although the cost of living here is significantly less than London it’s still nice to need less.
*On the topic of money, I thought I’d mention one of my favourite things about Skye… there’s less of a class system here. Yes, there are differences in wealth but everyone is part of the same community and generally visits most of the same places.
I always think of the jobs up here being like in a children’s story book or tv show; there’s the postman, the bus driver, the shopkeeper, the doctor… and they’re all respected in the same way. I think that this more level playing field is great.
It’s not just money, I also need less ‘stuff’.
When you don’t have many shops around it forces you to buy less stuff. The thing is, once you’re used to it you realise it’s not really a hardship.
When I went home this Christmas we went into a huge shopping centre and found it kind of gross how people were rushing around with piled-high trolleys grabbing at gifts without thought. It just felt a bit excessive; not what Christmas should be about. I think living on Skye has made me more aware of that.
Of course, I still enjoy shopping (duh!) but I do it far less and I only buy things I really love.
Perhaps, too, it’s also a stronger link to the environment that has made me more aware of the impact of limitless consumerism and the effect that has on natural resources.
I eat differently.
Living on a croft has made me look at dairy differently; when you see the connection between a mother and calf each day it becomes hard to justify drinking milk and supporting the process in which it’s made.
So I swapped to almond milk and now try to eat vegan food as much as possible, although I am happy to eat certain animal products like our neighbour’s eggs or local venison.
However, my views on food are now somewhat long and complicated so this is perhaps a whole other post for another day…
I don’t think an adult in a backwards cap is odd anymore.
In England a fully-grown, 30+ male wearing a baseball cap the wrong way round would be seen as ridiculous. Here it’s not an uncommon sight… Something to do with outdoor adventures, mountain biking and snowsports.
Maybe they’re just big kids or something.
Actually, I take all of that back, I still think it’s really weird.
So, there are still some things that have stayed the same.
As I mentioned at the end of the last post, I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of the beauty of this place, each light and season shows something new. If I ever get jaded then maybe it’s time to move on.
Here’s what hasn’t changed…
I still love sheep… And cows… And buzzards… And all the other animals that we come across each day here.
If I have to brake to a halt in the middle of the road because of a load of sheep crossing then I’ll still get my camera out to take a picture. I’m also probably just as likely as ever to post it to Facebook with the tired old caption of ‘Skye traffic’.
I still find them charming and characterful and I’m pleased that that never faded away.
I still enjoy dressing up.
Of course, a glitzy party dress isn’t going to see as much of Skye as a pair of waterproof trousers and a tatty old Barbour but it doesn’t mean there’s no reason to try.
Although it’s frivolous I always try and put on a sprinkling of glitter with my perfume each day and, whilst my high heels gather dust, wellies don’t really look so bad with a sequin skirt…
Or maybe they do, I don’t know, or care really. You can’t have a bad day if you’ve put a little sparkle into it….
I’m still the same shape.
Whilst I’m not fat I’ve never been particularly svelte or skinny either; I love food and I’m happily soft and a bit squidgy. But I figured when I came to Skye I’d spend all my days out roaming the hills or battling the sea. I’d be some kind of muscular, athletic superwoman.
I didn’t reckon on the cake factor…
There’s so much good food on Skye, dammit!
If I look out of my window I can see the cafe that does the best brownies I’ve ever tasted (Single Track, by the way, it’s amazing, go there).
If I drive down the road I reach Skye Pie where Simon and Kirsty sell their little pastry-wrapped bundles of deliciousness.
Then there’s the freshly-baked artisan bread at the Skye Baking Co or the lovely afternoon tea at Kinloch Lodge…
On Skye there is no escape from good food!
With the rough weather it’s been less about burning calories and more about burning logs on the fire with a nice cup of tea. I’ve put on a whole stone in weight since I moved to Skye!
Though maybe that’s why the cold doesn’t bother me so much now…
I still love a party.
Of course, parties don’t come up very often here so when they do it’s a real treat.
My only problem is that now I get so excited that I tend to go too hard too soon and therefore render myself completely useless for the next few days!
I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to a fair few estate parties on the mainland since I arrived here. The new friends I meet think I’m a wild party girl from Skye; what they don’t know is that I’ve just been saving it up for months so I’m like some kind of human champagne cork.
There’s been some funny stories as a result, but I’ll save those for another day…
So there have been some changes and some not-quite-changes. But it’s amazing to learn what happens in a year.
I wonder what adventures there are to come in the next one…
So love reading your blog. I just want to ask Scotty to ‘Beam me Up’ to Skye from NZ and tag along on some of your adventures…even if it is simply sitting around in woolen garments looking over the rugged coastline with mug of tea in hand! For now, I will live it vicariously 25,000 miles away.
Just took the family to London for a 4 week holiday this Christmas and I can sympathise with your view on our obsession with shopping. Coming back to NZ the pressure to be buying/wearing the right stuff has melted away thank goodness as it might have sent me broke (unless of course I was just shopping at Primark!). Mind you a local fully-stocked M&S would be great here in NZ and even in Skye I would imagine. Take care and keep writing!
I’ve spent all day travelling so I second the need for a ‘Beam me up, Scottie’ invention. Why did they put Skye (and NZ) so far away from everywhere else?!
I suspect that we may be reaching a point where lots of us are beginning to feel a distaste towards crazy consumerism, we’re not the first people that I’ve heard talking about it. Well, I hope so anyway.
But, yes, there are a few modern treats I wouldn’t mind sneaking into Skye life but shh, don’t tell anyone 😉
All the best from the other side of the world!
That’s the exciting thing Katie, the possibilities of new adventures to come this coming year. Great post!! I had to laugh at your cows in the traffic photo as I was in exacting the same position today…. You can’t beat it, I love to see cows on the road. Looking forward to reading more of your adventures xx
As always your posts are an inspiration…and keep convincing me and the family to return again and again to Skye ….hopefully one day soon for good and then we too can live the daily adventures as you do….look forward to your next post as always and bumping into you when we next visit, as we always seem to do.
Thanks Elliot, I see you here so much that I always forget that you’re not a local -I think you definitely count as an honorary one at the very least!
Hope to see you soon 🙂
There are so many things about skye to love. Your post encaptures many of the things I love about the island too. Kristy and Simons vegan pies are delicious too! I don’t ever seen to love the cold though…May be I need warmer socks 🙂
I know what you mean Morag, especially that kind of cold that gets deep into your bones and won’t go away (even with a pie by the fire). Though, any excuse for a new knitwear shopping trip is always a good one! K x