The doc airs on BBC ONE, Our Lives, on Friday, August 18 2023

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Our Lives Series 7

Living on your own on an island is a fantasy that has come real for one man. After suffering some traumatic events in his life, ex-Royal Air Force aircraft engineer Simon Parker needed a change. Now he’s leaving the mainland behind to begin a completely new life as the warden of Flatholm Island.

Four miles from the city of Cardiff, in the middle of the Bristol Channel, Flatholm Island has no mains power or water, and it’s exposed to the worst of the weather. When something breaks, there’s only Simon to fix it.

Flatholm is a site of special scientific interest because of its gull colony, which makes up 20 per cent of the Welsh gull population. Monitoring the gulls requires a squad of volunteers with hard hats and overalls as the gulls spread plenty of their ‘good luck’ around. Gulls might not be many people’s favourite birds, but they are suffering a decline in numbers, and Flatholm is a crucial breeding ground.

Summer day trippers come to the island and might enjoy a drink in the Gull and Leek, Wales’s most southerly pub. The opening hours? ‘Whatever I decide,’ says Simon.

As spring turns to summer and the months pass, Simon continues to learn all about the island and its wildlife – and perhaps more importantly, something about himself too. 


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