As I’ve said before, I moved to Skye to find solitude but it’s been the people here that have really surprised me.
Of course, not everyone’s an angel but I’ve come across more kind and generous people here than I have anywhere else. Plus, it’s the little acts of kindness that can lift a dismal mood on a rainy day.
A couple of weeks ago I had an evening that really proved this point…
It was games night (the evening of celebrations after Portree Highland Games) and I was out for the evening with some new girlfriends.
After a few drinks we headed to the official after-games ceilidh party at the community centre.
The community centre is a funny place; a big village hall where all kinds of celebrations are held, from black-tie charity functions to dance music nights (mostly attended by barely-dressed youngsters doing bambi impressions in Topshop platform heels).
There’s always a school disco vibe about it. It’s a million miles from the try-hard types of venue you get in the city and I kind-of love that.
Like most Skye events, the crowd was a perfect cross-section of Skye life (old crofting boys being the exception, of course). From my lovely postmistress Kenina to the girls from downstairs at the Baking Co, there were lots of familiar faces.
Midway through the night, after much swinging and twirling on the dancefloor, I went to the bar for drinks and realised my purse was no longer in my bag.
I did a thorough check. I asked at the bar, asked at the entrance desk, asked at the food van outside and asked the policeman standing next to it. Still nothing.
Buffered by the wine I wasn’t too upset about it but it’s always a pain to sort out new cards etc.
I’d been chatting to one of the stewards earlier, a friendly-faced man with an impressive moustache. When he saw me looking through my bag for the fifth time he asked if I was okay and I explained my predicament.
Without hesitation he pulled out his wallet and insisted on me taking a £20 note so that I could still go to the bar.
He wanted nothing in return, just for this rather tipsy, wobbly stranger to continue enjoying her evening with her friends. It was a really thoughtful thing to do.
All good nights finish too early and, with an early morning start at the forefront of my mind, I refused the offer of a few after-party drams and instead wobbled back to the hostel (my frequent home when Out On The Town).
As I went to swipe the keycard for the door I heard a car pull up behind me and a voice yell, “Hey, Katie!”
I turned round to see two policemen looking at me through the open window of a squad car.
“Here’s your purse…”
The policeman in the passenger side leaned out and chucked it to me.
I thanked them profusely and as they began to leave one of them called back,
“We’ve been following your Twitter feed this week, we’ve really enjoyed it!”
That’s another thing about Skye, everybody knows your name (I suppose I’d better be good if the police here know who I am!)
But this familiarity is probably part of why people are so kind here; a proper old-fashioned community spirit.
The lack of anonymity here does take a bit of getting used to (I think that’s definitely a post for another day) but it’s worth it when you know that there are always people here who can look out for you.
Whilst on the subject of acts of kindness I’d like to say a huge thank you to Lynne & Simon for my ‘Emergency Yummy Bag’…
For those of you who won’t know, L&S were the first people on Skye to introduce themselves to me after reading this blog. They’re regular faces at the Skye Baking Co and they also live in the Trotternish part of the island (I often drive past them walking or jogging around the Quiraing which totally puts me to shame!)
It was about a week after the whale rescue and I was feeling drained and poorly when they dropped this lovely little bag of chocolate goodies into the gallery for me. It was totally out of the blue and was such a kind thought that it was kind of overwhelming.
Yet another example of the kindness of people on Skye. So, if you’re reading this, Lynne & Simon, thank you!