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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 October 2005, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
Life's a dream on fantasy island
Nick Parry
BBC Wales News Website

Dave Milborrow and Jo Havard
I think the thing I will miss most is just getting up and going for a walk around and seeing what different birds are here
Jo Havard
There's no electricity or running water - and supplies arrive depending on the weather - but for Jo Havard and Dave Milborrow life on Skokholm is ideal.

They are just completing their first season as the only two permanent summer residents on the Pembrokeshire island.

Hosts and caterers to the 300 plus people who made boat crossing to stay on the nature reserve this year.

Equally important they maintain and manage the island and monitor its plants and wildlife.

"Last year we were both out here for three months as assistant wardens," said Dave.

"It's not an easy way of life but it's a very simple way of life. It's very uncomplicated.

"Yes it's a bit isolated but there are different people as there is a new group coming through each week.

"It's a good laugh when there's a nice group of people here, when you are sat around the table in the evening it's good fun.

The supply boat arriving at Skokholm
Supplies are brought to Skokholm by boat (weather permitting)

"I was brought up in the countryside and it's different wildlife here but I think to learn about something different is a good thing."

Dave's job title is visitor services officer which means he looks after the guests that stay each week. They can be families, bird watchers, artists or single people looking to get away from it all for a few days.

He cooks the three main meals of the day, acts as general handyman and helps Jo, who is the warden, with the day to day management of the island.

Jo, who studied as marine biologist, said her post on Skokholm - three miles off Milford Haven - was her ideal job.

'Miss the quiet'

Apart from a few days off in the summer neither has been back to the mainland.

An aerial view of Skokholm Island, off Pembrokeshire. Photograph: Sid Howells

Jo said the only time they had seen television was when repairmen visited the lighthouse for a week on the other side of the island.

"We watched the Pope being inaugurated in the lighthouse which was a bit surreal," she said.

"We have everything we need to get by so I guess we have become use to it.

"I was brought on a farm and Dave was brought up in a very rural part of Kent so I guess we are used to not being in a town, not having cinemas and pubs nearby."

They will both leave the island for the winter but are returning to the same jobs in the spring.

"I think the thing I will miss most is just getting up and going for a walk around and seeing what different birds are here. And I'll miss the quiet and just being out in such a beautiful place."


SEE ALSO
Trust's 750,000 bid for Skokholm
05 Oct 05 |  South West Wales
'Oldest' sea bird alive and well
02 Jul 04 |  North West Wales



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