Surviving on the Isles II: Summer
Winter was tough and forgiving, a brutal time of sacrifice and hardship that I am, once more, glad to have survived. Each year the cold winds seep in and threaten to steal the life from right inside me. During these long, dark months I hold steadfast, gripping with iron-fist the arms of my ancient armchair – gritting my teeth and pouring steam from my mouth like a great steam engine.
So obsessed with surviving winter, do I become, that I sometimes miss the changing of the seasons altogether. This year, winter slipped into spring without my realising. The plants on my windowsill began to bud, the lambs started to mewl their dismal cries and I still lay under four layers of blankets – steadfastly gripping to the life that I feared would be ripped from mortal coil.
It took a sharp rap upon my front door and a cry of, “Timpson, Summer’s here!”, for me to awaken from my reverie and realise that I’d slept through an entire season. I was not surprised at all. I’m a hardworking man who needs his rest, like the great Brown Bear often I needs must hibernate for weeks, months on end to fully recuperate from the summer’s graft.
The summer times are a great deal easier to survive than the winter, as you might imagine. The food is plentiful, the days are hours longer – as a result I’m given the chance to both work and read, a luxury which I indulge in as much as possible. Having no electricity up here in the Shetlands, its imperative that I make the most of each summer’s day – cherishing every minute of glorious sunshine that I am given.
With the warm sun and long days, comes the tourists and weeks on end of boating around the isles. The booking schedule is already filling up for this season, tourists from all over the world have paid in advance for my guided tours of the Shetland Isles, and I absolutely adore giving them. Having the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life, and introduce them to my world, is an absolute joy; I can’t quite believe that I get paid to do it.
Onward then, to another summer – and the purchase of an alarm clock for next winter!