The Last Day of Freedom

Updated: Mar 1, 2020

Quite a dramatic title I know, but this is the last blog entry for a while. The daylight hours grow longer, we are now waking at 5 am to be out by 5:45, catch the early morning light and squeeze an extra couple of hours work in to the day. We are heading into the busiest time on the farm, our noses are to the grindstone and we literally and metaphorically make hay whilst the sun shines.

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, felt like our last chance for a proper day off for a few months. We spent the day on the uninhabited island of St Helens. It was the sort of day that children dream about, a deserted island all to yourself to become intrepid explorers, treasure hunters and foragers (albeit foraging on the crisps and hot cross buns of the picnic).

The sun was beating down, a slight breeze kept the temperature pleasant, the sky a hazy blue and the sea a mass of silver sparkles. The ebbing tide revealed rocky islands covered in seaweed.

On landing at the only beach on the south westerly side of the island, facing towards Tresco and Tean, we made our way up the steep sided hill. Past the ancient remains of the monks retreat and the pest house, along the rat run path. The children led the way, through the scratchy heather, the bouncy sea thrift and the soft spikes of the hot and tot fig. Past bushes of yellow gorse, their flowers smelt of coconut and honey in the warm air.

A bumble bee buzzed past me and I felt a great sense of us being intruders in their world, I felt I should have apologised for being on their island, where humans are interlopers, as we are in much of the world. We reached the summit and a truly breathtaking view lay before us. St Martins, Tean and a collection of tiny islands, rocks, sandy bays and sand flats to the south. Round Island with its striking white light house to the north east, Tresco and Shipman Head to the west.

Gulls soared above and below us, their effortless gliding almost hypnotic. How wonderfully tranquil it was, only the five of us there, I can only imagine how harsh and grim it must have been for those poor sailors, quarantined there during the plague ridden days of the eighteenth century.

Days of escapism like yesterday will be few and far between over the summer months. I will continue to swim and to write about life on Bryher, but time for compiling the blog feels as if it is diminishing and so I have decided to put it on hold for now. There maybe the odd entry when I feel I have the time and energy, in the meantime I hope you all have a wonderful summer.

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