It's hard to explain how far away and foreign and cut off the island feels in winter. It's just a little island at the far edge of Europe -- in summer with boats every day and tourists it doesn't feel that way, but now when the boats are scheduled to arrive only 5 days a week, and in practice so far have only come twice a week, and so few people are here it does feel far away.
The isolation strengthens the community, though -- there is so much darkness around the (few) houses. I've mostly been here when the days were so long that I was asleep by the time it got dark -- but now it's dark early and dark here really IS dark. There aren't even any street lights on the island. In fact it is the only official "dark sky" island in Britain!
When I look out my kitchen (I call it "my kitchen," but this really means the counter and sink) window at night, I know every light -- whose house it is, I mean -- and everyone else does too and I think we all take comfort in seeing each others' lights. Several people, at least, have said how nice it is to see mine again -- and *I* like looking across at the other two hills above the village and thinking things like, "Heather and Tom are still up."
And you can not imagine how quiet it is. That's nice, too -- but again, it feels strange, to feel that there is nothing around you for miles and miles but the Atlantic. Sometimes -- on really windy nights -- I can hear the Atlantic; and the hut shudders and shakes as though it's on it. The other night when I came in from my byre (as I perhaps somewhat pretentiously call the stone shed) I saw a shooting star.
But then in the morning the twenty-somethings in the Manse next door walk to their ride at the foot of the hill, and the kids start arriving at school -- and I make tea and, sometimes, morning eggs.
The easiest (no pots to get out and wash and put away) in a tiny house is to boil the eggs in the electric kettle. This method of cooking them keeps the whites light and fluffy, too.
2 fresh, free-range eggs (can you taste the difference? Yes, I can! And in Stonington, the eggs are not only free-range but forage for their own food ''pasture-fed" is what the farmers call it, which means they get no grain and eat mainly bugs and have more protein and less bad cholesterol than grain-fed eggs)
1. Fill your kettle with as much cold water as you think you will need to completely cover the eggs, and then put them in gently.
2. Close the lid, let the water come to the boil and the kettle shut itself off.
3. Leave the lid closed. After 6 minutes, if you like your whites solid and set but your yolks just in-between hard and soft, the eggs are ready to eat. If you like the yolks firm, wait 8 minutes -- you may need to fiddle with this a few times to see how long your eggs take.