I don’t know how the Innuit deal with it, but there comes a stage during a stormy winter on Islay when even the islanders get cabin fever …now, in late December, we’ve reached that stage. We’ve had our third storm in three weeks; lost slates in all of them – even lost a door in one. Yesterday I ducked to avoid being knocked over, as I thought, by an RAF jet flying too low – yet when I straightened myself, I found it had only been the screaming of a particularly angry squall as it sung through the winter branches of a tree close by.
‘Two nights in Braehead, would do me…’ you hear people say, hopelessly, referring to a retail park just on the outskirts of Glasgow, a hundred miles away; ‘and mebbe a wee nozzy round IKEA.’ They don’t ask for much – which is perhaps why there is just a five-aisle Co-Op to serve the needs of 3,500 people. And when the ferry doesn’t run for a day or two because of the wind, and the plane doesn’t fly, the shelves get lonely.
We moved here from Cornwall five years ago, and love it, but this time of year is when we are closest to becoming unglued to the place. We dread receiving calls from friends back in the west country who have phoned to tell us that they’re having the mildest weather for 800 years, and that the daffs are already out.
It’s at this time of year that we have to count our blessings, like priests thumbing rosary beads. Everyday I look at my weather station to see by how much longer the sun will be above the horizon than it was yesterday.
Have I got cabin fever?