Gwennan Rees

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You Live On An Island?

You Live On An Island?

Yes. I do, well I did. Sob.

'Ello you lovely lot! I am so happy to be here writing for you, and I decided to write a post I've had mulling around in my brain for a while. I also know that the wonderful Gwennan mentioned the Isle of Wight not long ago so thought it might be quite cool.

I grew up on the Isle of Wight, the tiny diamond shaped splodge under Portsmouth, aka the bottom of England. No, it's not the Isle of Man. Anyway, as I grew up there I never really knew anything different, so when I moved to London for Uni it was a MASSIVE shock. I thought I'd go through some of the main differences as it's something I genuinely get asked a lot. 

The pace of life.

Right now as I write this post, I'm sat on a packed rush hour Tube train (I have a weird skill for landing seats, could be worse), which I rushed for after work despite the fact I'm currently running so early for a flat viewing. Things in London just move so ridiculously fast, and it's something that forces itself on to me. It's impossible to walk at that lazy pace - well, it is for me but I ALWAYS seem to get stuck behind the slowest walkers when I'm late - or to just relax into your commute. Back home everything moves at such a leisurely pace, it's so calm and the loudest thing you're likely to hear is a boats foghorn. It's something I do really miss actually, just being in London makes me immediately so stressed, like I'm suddenly in a rush to get EVERYWHERE, even if I'm not. Gah. Although this does mean that when I'm at home I get so laid back I'm always late - sorry guys.

The language.

Yes, we still speak English. But of course like most other areas we have some words that nobody else understands. For example a Caulkhead is someone who was born on the Isle of Wight and both of their parents were also born on the Island. I am not a Caulkhead sadly, damn ya father. You lot from the mainland that come over and live on the best Island in England (actually I think we can second to Guernsey, low blow guys) are called overners and we often say somewhen, which I think is self explanatory and should be a normal word. We also have nipper, gallybagger and jammy, see what they mean here. Also, slight side note but I got laughed at once for saying Dotto Train? Does nobody else have them or...?

People have absolutely no idea where you're from.

This one still shocks me every single time. When the EU referendum results for the Island were released there was so much abuse on Twitter about how we shouldn't even get a vote. Mate, let me clear this up. I was born in England. I have a Great British Passport. Just because there is a (very expensive) mile of water between me and you guys don't make no difference. The fact that people have no idea where you're from also leads to some pretty amusing questions. No, you don't need a passport to get here, we don't have a time difference and we still use the English pound. Also, though the place is full of golden oldies it's not just a place where people go to grow old, there are schools, sprogs and even electricity there... Shocking right? All though to be fair a lot people in London still had no idea where Tooting is, so maybe it's not so different...


Travelling around London is about ten million times easier than on the Isle of Wight. If you get lost, there's not that far you can walk without seeing a Tube, Bus or Train stop (although I did get monumentally lost yesterday). But back home, it's a completely different story. I live in a village, which isn't even technically a village as it doesn't have a post office. The nearest shop is two miles away and there are absolutely no buses. I'm lucky because I can drive but it does limit my drinking abilities as a £16 taxi a week just isn't sustainable. This is one of the London things I pine for when I'm at home. One day, when I'm a millionaire, I'm gonna design a Tube or train network for the Island. And yeah, we still have steam trains, and the only other kind of trains are London Underground reject trains from the 60's. It's also ludicrously expensive to travel around and off the Island. Although I guess that's true of London too. But I mean if you travel either of the Festival weekends you're looking at £200 to take your car over 3 miles of water - it's cheaper to get to France!

People smile!

At home, people smile, they're happy and they say hello to people on the street. This particularly applies to my Grandad who seems to know every other person on the Island. I just smiled at someone on the Tube and they looked at me like I was up to something. Say hello to a stranger and they'll assume you're drunk. There is absolutely no sense of community or friendliness in London, which can make the capital seem even more lonely at times. I've been quite lucky with meeting a lot of people through Uni and living arrangements that have stuck around in London. But so many other overners (see what I did there?) have said that coming to the Isle of Wight is a) super super friendly and b) like going back in time. Which I guess can be a good thing.

So there we are, some of the main differences between island life and London living. I, of course haven't lived on the Isle of Man or the Isle of Skye so it might be quite different there...


Hope you enjoyed this post! Have you ever been to the Isle of Wight? Did you go to The Needles? (That's what everybody says they went to so I'm preempting hehehehe)

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