This blogger skimmed the ebook, “Call the Nurse” by Mary J. MacLeod, published in 2012. This is the career memoir of a nurse in The Hebrides, off of Scotland.
The author, her husband and two youngest kids moved from England to the island of “Papavray” (a pseudonym), about 20 miles long, on a lark in the early 1970’s. She describes the kinds of patients she treated, and the lives of the area’s inhabitants in detail.
She writes that people rarely grew gardens in the islands because difficulties such as bad weather, bad soil and hungry wildlife threatened the gardens’ existence. Potatoes were about the only crop worth growing. Tea and alcohol were drunk in large quantities.
Items of everyday living were scarce, so every few months, when she and her husband drove their Land Rover to the mainland, they had to shop on behalf of members of their community, which was like a small town. They were asked to pick up all kinds of household goods, chicken wire, appliances, a ladder, a puppy, etc.
Among other social events throughout the year, every summer, the people had a day-long sheep-shearing gathering. The culture was such that most of the men were “… sailors, fishermen, crofters, or working at the pier or the harbour.”
Enjoying the remoteness from civilization was an acquired taste. The weather was often wet and dangerous, and an airlift was necessary when MacLeod’s patients were suffering life-threatening conditions. Read the book to learn more about her experiences, good and bad.