Visitors often ask us what we do for entertainment for our stay on the island and as we have no TV then some are bemused as to what we can find to fill our time. Despite working long hours we do still have some time off and it is all about improvisation and making use of opportunities.
So when Paula, one of our volunteers, let slip that she did a lot of dancing when at home and this coincided with Iain English, the Isle of May bird recorder and well known dance teacher being on the island staying at the Lowlight, it was too good an opportunity to miss and we put two and two together (literally) and had a Saturday dance night. Normally grubby researchers actually had a scrub, dresses appeared and hair washed. The Mousehouse visitor centre suddenly became a dance hall and the island residents gathered for a few lessons in meringue and salsa.
After talking us through the basics Iain took us through the steps individually, whisked a lady or two around before he and Paula sizzled the dance floor doing moves the rest of us could only dream about. We then partnered up and mayhem was unleashed. I am not sure if the Mousehouse or even the island has ever seen anything like it before and the Latin beats had the walls dripping with sweat in contrast to the cold wind outside.
After giving it our best for over an hour we went freestyle before things degenerated to more conventional Bee Gees, Soft Cell and more bizarrely AC DC and Electric Six.
Another popular activity for after tea is cricket. Football has been banned by the management because of the dangers of injury. This is not due to any care for the island staff but more a concern about what effect injuries might have on collecting data in the field season. So a form of cricket is played with a distinctively local bat and one of the many tennis balls that are washed up on Pilgrims Haven during the year. The rules are unfathomable and some of the hazards needed to be avoided include water tanks, cobbled stones, dead rabbits and nesting eiders. So who needs TV ?