One of my more recent pipedreams that I had floating about in my head is that I would make a great lighthouse keeper, well...at least I THINK I would make a great lighthouse keeper. There is something quite appealing about living on a small outcrop of rock in the middle of the ocean + I do love spiral staircases. I think it's the isolation that appeals to me the most.
Unfortunately in the modern world lighthouse keepers are no longer necessary. Have you heard of the song with the lyrics "video killed the radio star"? Well technology killed the lighthouse keeper; it was mostly a combination of electricity & automation that did it. And the addition of heliports meant that live in keepers were no longer needed. In Britain all the lighthouses have been automated by Trinity House while in the US the last manned lighthouse was automated in 1998. Jobs as lighthouse keepers are scarce, many are part-time & seasonal.
Here is a brief overview of a position available as a "volunteer" keeper that I found on a lighthouse enthusiast website (oh yes, you can find anything on the internet, it's not all porn):
- Volunteer keeper needed at Forty Mile Point lighthouse, Michigan
- Tasks include greeting visitors, act as tour guide, work in gift shop & ensure cleanliness of premises
- Bring your own RV, no TENTS allowed!!
- Oh BTW, you ain't getting paid
I probably have a romantic/unrealistic view of being a lighthouse keeper. Apparently it wasn't all that great. First of all you had to stay with three other keepers; you'd better be nice to each other because you'll be spending a long time together at close proximity. Other drawbacks included no toilets or running water, at least back in the early days. And of course being away for so long meant that you'd miss out on certain things back home (like your wife having an affair for example).
So if I was to be a lighthouse keeper a few conditions would have to be met. The most important would be that I would be the only keeper at the lighthouse. I don't mind the isolation; if I was to be stuck on a rock with two other people I'd go for a swim & hope a shark was feeling a bit peckish.
The second condition is that I would need a LCD TV with a HD DVD player & some DVD boxsets please (Who needs friends when you can watch "Friends"?). The third condition is that there would need to be decent internet connection at the lighthouse. With Skype, Twitter & Facebook you'll never be alone really.
After a few days at the lighthouse your tweets might get a little repetitive 'Turned on the light, turned off the light, turned on the light, turned off the light....' & so on. Of course on those cold lonely nights when I am missing a little...erm...female contact the internet would be REALLY important. If you know what I mean. And being alone would mean that there wouldn't be anyone to interrupt you or judge you. Except god....
I highly doubt that any potential lighthouse keeper employer would give me a call so the only other way to be a keeper is to buy my own lighthouse. On the same website I mentioned before I saw a beautiful lighthouse for sale called Pointe d'Aiguillon lighthouse which is in Saint-Marc-Sur Mer, about 8KM South West of Saint-Nazaire, France. It costs only 780,000 Euros and I think that's a bargain. So can anyone spare some change? Maybe look EXTRA hard around the couch?