Island Conversation between Soobie (S) and Anne (A) from Bristol
S: Can you tell us what you think the island (UK) is most famous for or what
what you imagine the island is perhaps famous for?
A: Probably most famous for the royal family and the reason I say that is because I've been watching The Crown. [Laughter] You know the unbelievable amount of interest that there is in the British Royal Family abroad, so I think probably from an outsider's point of view, probably.
S: People can select to cut themselves off for some reason, a particular reason. Like Eyam, you know the plague village, and how they decided to make themselves an island in order to protect ... (others outside the village)
A: It’s an interesting concept as well that during COVID, you know, people's homes have become an island. You know, we are still trying to just stay at home as much as we possibly can. We don't go out unless we absolutely have to. And then our home becomes an island, and our home feels like it's the safe place to be.
I don’t think of myself as an islander at all. In fact I hesitated when you put the call out for people who were islanders, I hesitated, and then I thought well I suppose I am. I live on an island, but I don't think of myself like that at all. And I think part of my fascination with the sea is the fact that it kind of connects us to other places.
S: What kind of accents, or languages do you associate with your experience being an islander, being a UK citizen?
A: Yeah, I love the variety, a huge variety of accents and an interesting thing happened to me when I first came to Bristol I was teaching in a big, quite a rough secondary school in South Bristol, where they had a really strong Bristolian accent, and I sometimes struggled to understand them. And when I first went there I had to kind of tune into the accent. But they couldn't understand me sometimes. I was like, ‘but I sound like people off the telly, what do you mean you can't understand me!’ [Laughter] . ‘I've not got an accent, and you can't understand me. That's so weird.’ They were like ‘yeah but when someone’s on the telly they’re on the telly aren’t they, but you're ‘ere and it's really hard to understand what you're saying.’ And I was like, ‘really!’
S: What do you think of as a typical Island meal? And who would be there, what would you eat?
A: Okay, well, it's a terrible cliche but I'm going to say roast dinner on a Sunday, because we always had that when we were children, and we, we always, well almost unfailingly, do that now with our family so ... We would all be there, there's five of us, and then my mum lives in Bristol now as well so she almost always comes over for a Sunday roast. And we have ... well we would have… we are meat eaters so we eat meat and stuff to go with it – roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, some sort of green veg., carrots, gravy. Yeah, and we all sit down. I mean, we do sit down at the table and eat meals generally together. But um, but on a Sunday we definitely do and that's really nice, we all sort of connect. And then we often play a game afterwards like a card or board game or something,
which is nice.
A: One of my favourite, favourite things about living in this country is going to the woods. And we always did it a lot, as children. And we do go a lot now with our children - go romp around in the woods … and my son’s , my youngest son's birthday is in October, so, two or three times on his birthday we've had like his parties in the woods and culturally I think it's a thing that British people do, go to the woods. And interestingly one of his friends is a Sikh and although he and his parents were all born in the UK, he’s one of my son's closest friends, and, er, his Dad, when his Dad came to pick him up from the party in the woods about two or three years ago, he said, I've ever been in the woods.
(Not included in the audio extract but interestingly Anne went on to explain how UK folklore often involves fairies that live in the woods or the bottom of the garden and how children build fairy houses in the woods. She showed Soobie some felt flower fairy folk that she had bought from a craft shop which had a variety of different skin tones which she felt combined traditional British folklore with modern multi-cultural Britain.)