It was all Mavis’ idea. The challenge to live six months on a remote lighthouse perched on an island in the middle of the ocean seemed like a good idea at the time.
Added to that was the prospect of our time there being recorded for a reality TV show. “Remote Living.”
I was sceptical about the whole deal as I knew they would edit the footage they took and who knew what light we might be presented in. But Mavis was so keen and despite my reservations off we went. Dropped on to the island with a set of instructions on how to light the lighthouse each night and food to last a month, so they said.
Mavis and I got along well most of the time as there was always somewhere for us both to escape to while we were at home. But on a small island the lighthouse structure taking all the space there wasn’t a lot of places to go to have some alone time.
For the first week it was the novelty of it all. The romance of being alone on an island, the lighthouse itself and the magnificent sea that surrounded us.
On the third day there a storm blew up and the waves crashed in onto the lighthouse itself. It was scary standing at the top of the building with the sea crashing around you, powerless to do anything but pray they built it strong enough to remain standing after the sea had finished playing with it.
This freaked Mavis and I out. We’d not been prepared for a storm and for a while we forgot about the remote cameras positioned around us recording everything we did and said. When Mavis was wound up she could swear like a wharfie and on that particular morning she did just that. Even my subtle reminder that we were being filmed made little impact on her.
It took her several days to settle down and once calmer days arrived she back to her old enthusiastic self.
But being stuck in the one place with nowhere to go other than where you were standing, did start to play on our minds.
The term stir crazy comes to mind. We grew on each other’s nerves. We fought. We argued. We tried to limit the time we were near each other.
Mavis took to spending a lot of time when it was fine outside on a small portable seat just to have space for herself.
All the while the cameras were rolling. At four weeks the crew and director appeared to do a one on one interview. For us it was such a relief to see another face. The only contact we had was with the coast guard with whom we would check in with each night to say the light was on and functioning. By five months we were not talking and when we did it was forced civility. Mavis by now hated everything about me and I was not overly fond of her.
The last month with the end in sight was torture. Neither of us could wait to be away from the other. We actually celebrated our final night. We decided to go our separate ways after we left to give ourselves time to readjust to life in the real world.
After two weeks of that we met again and realised what we had been through was unreal.
Despite the deprivation we’d put ourselves and each other through, being together was better than being apart. After all I did love her and she me.
Tonight we are sitting down to watch the first episode of “Remote Living – The Lighthouse edition” it should be fun. Its good we can laugh about it now and I can remind her it was all her idea.