Tha Seo Math Dhuibh

Social isolation, music, the brain and ageing – guest blog by Francis Mitchell

By 11 May, 2018 No Comments

Francis Mitchell of Skye Reading Room has been attending creative writing workshops as part of Tha Seo Math Dhuibh – Good for You and has shared this piece with us:-


Soggy Island Discs

by Francis Mitchell

When Kirsty asks how they would cope the guests usually say they like their own company but…

Loneliness by Horslips (shamrock shaped green vinyl in transparent plastic sleeve bought from Parrot Records, Ipswich 1979

I cannot be alone in moving to Skye and luxuriating in the solitude for a few years before crawling up the walls due to aonranachd. And I have a great set of neighbours as well as a reasonable social life beyond the Glen. There are many far more isolated than me and things could get worse as our lives are affected by issues such as lack of public transport, caring responsibilities, poverty and ill health.

From Rags to Riches – Lau vs Karine Polwart (from 2010’s ‘Evergreen’ CDEP)

So the events held at Aros last October as part of Luminate, interested me – it’s a Scotland-wide festival which celebrates creativity as we age, sadly now biennial so we have to wait until 2019 for a return. It inspired me to sign up for the FutureLearn course ‘Strategies for Successful Ageing’ available free and online from Trinity College, Dublin ( to register for the next opportunity) which in turn led me to an intriguing website for those in need of ideas to keep going:

An online toolkit that prompts the user to take physical exercise and engage socially as well as providing mental challenges, lifestyle tips and stress strategies on a daily basis.

The Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding (on Top of the Pops, remembered and sung/ whistled to myself as I cycled to Grammar school, north side of Ipswich, 1968)

We are fortunate on Skye to have plenty of clubs, cafés and other facilities that are sustained beyond the likely level of a sparsely populated island. Whilst appreciating reticence should joining in lead you to being enjoined beyond a comfortable level, it is a shame when they are not always fully utilised, especially if people are sat at home downcast and lonely. Shyness is understandable, use it to give yourself a bit of space but avoid being imprisoned by it.

Theme from Hill Street Blues – Mike Post (I spent the ’70s in the pub but in the ’80s I started watching the telly again).

Francis will host an informal open mic at Aros on Saturday, 2nd June at 2pm. This will feature readings by Maoilios Caimbeul, Rody Gorman and other local writers who have been attending the creative writing workshops as part of the programme.  All are welcome to attend, whether you have attended workshops or not. 

For more information, contact Iseabail on 01478 613 649 or