My Mid Life Orkney Crisis
by Steve Bray
(St Margaret’s Hope)
So I was 50. I thought my life was settled and then, bam! Redundancy struck.
What to do?
I could have stayed in Somerset and tried to get another job, or I could bite the bullet and do something completely random and out of my comfort zone.
Moving to Orkney had always been a dream, way in the back of my mind - something I would love to do when I retired. But there I was in August of 2017 with no job.
I sat down and wrote a list - pros and cons.
Pros were easy: I had no ties, no partner or children. I rented my flat, so no big sale to arrange. I had some money in the bank.
The cons: Well, that was hard. The removal fee would be huge.
I had a great life, and even more importantly some amazing and close life long friends. I couldn’t just up and leave them. I had a fantastic social life. How could I just move to the other end of the country?
I sat down with my close friends Lorraine and Darren, and we talked. It soon became clear that they wanted me to at least give it a try even though they would miss me. They didn’t want me to look back in a few years and have regrets about not doing it.
So I did it.
I found a house to rent and booked a local removal firm from Orkney. I handed in my notice on my flat, and in November 2017 I moved to Orkney.
Now it’s Feb 2019.
So the Verdict!
Well, the removal fee was huge but then I did move all the way from Somerset. They were amazing.
I still miss my friends like crazy but we speak all the time. Planning trips to go and visit or have them come here is fun.
I now have a lovely, old two bedroom house overlooking the Pentland Firth. I am so lucky and happy with this house.
I'm working and have made some really nice friends. And I have a social life, but it’s more than that.
The way of life here is so different.
You have to plan things well in advance and I love that.
The pace of life is slower.
People are so friendly and willing to help with anything.
The stunning scenery and all the history of the islands are just amazing.
It’s very easy to get to the mainland with discounts for islanders on ferries and Loganair flights.
You can get most anything delivered here via Amazon and other carriers.
No traffic jams.
And the amazing weather in winter. I’ve just done my second winter. You have to love wild, windy, stormy days.
But the summers. Warm and balmy, long nights do happen and are magical. Thank God for blackout blinds, though, when we reach the summer equinox. It just doesn’t get dark.
As I am typing this the Northern Lights are streaming above my head!
It was worth it.
And yes, I’ve never been happier.
Mermaid image (Rhonda's pages) and storyteller image (Tom's pages), and all other illustrations except where noted are here by the courtesy of our dear friend - Stromness author, artist and historian, Bryce Wilson MBE, who owns all copyrights. Thanks, Bryce!