Coming off the island after a few weeks working on is a strange affair. When on a small island your horizons narrow despite being able to see so far, and you become used to the limited but rich landscape around. When some visitors arrive they wrinkle their noses to the smell of the island, so many birds pooing copiously does generate quite an aroma but for the island residents the smell is undetectable (as are our unwashed island cohabitants) with all of the fresh sea air around us. So taking the boat off the island is always a shock to the system and a transition time is required before you become acclimatised to normal life. On Anstruther harbour front there are often a mass of people and vehicles in an enclosed space that takes some getting used to. The fresh air of the island is replaced by a cocktail of smelly chemicals like car fumes, farm chemicals, perfumes, and air fresheners that can be over powering. The lush plant life in Anstruther seems like a tropical jungle after the thin skin of green over rock on the island. And perhaps most difficult to deal with is the sudden distance between you and the wildlife. On the island it completely surrounds you and is everywhere, on the mainland there are farm-sized, man-made sterile gaps in the cover of biodiversity across the land and you immediately miss that constant contact with nature.
Of course being back in real life, the good things are many, back home with the family, showers, water out of a tap, having a social life, eating out etc, but they all take a few days to get used to and just when you are approaching being normalised……it is time to go back to the island again.