Fire and Ice: a winter on North Ronaldsay at Better Food Cafe
Tel: +44 (0)7842233085
"Could I survive an Orkney winter, let alone a North Ronaldsay one? moving from southern England to a tiny windswept isle in October for 6 months felt like jumping in at the deep end, but I was curious to find out.
Keeping warm in a cottage heated solely by a coal stove was a satisfying challenge, rewarded by cosy nights snuggled by the flames as the wind howled a banshee round the eaves. My lullaby was the wild waves crashing on the rocks, yards from my pillow.
Living so close to the elements was deeply pleasurable. I lingered often by the window, drawn by the ever-changing drama of sky hues and light quality through the short hours of day. One of the most exciting times was the two days of snow we had in January, a brief thin blanketing that transformed landscape sound, texture, shape and colour into an unfamiliar other world.
And every night, my pre-bedtime ritual was to peek through the front door to check the lighthouse beam and its endless 10-second circlings. No matter how thick the cloud, how black or wild the night, there it swung, unfailingly - the comforting lantern of the night-watch.
In the end, it wasn't just about survival - more a thriving, on light, wind, wave, fire, and the warmth, kindness and company of people."
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