THE LIGHTHOUSE CHILDREN'S MOTHER by Jeanette Aplin
..... (Cape Catley, pb, $29.99 back to The Lighthouse Children's Mother
RECORD OF A LIFE IN ISOLATION by Gillian Vine, The Star, 5 July 2007

Manned lighthouses have disappeared from our coastlines, leaving a romantic notion of what it was like to live in splendid isolation.

Telling it as it really was is Jeanette Aplin, who lived on Stephens Island, in the Marlborough Sounds, and Dog Island, in Foveaux Strait, during the stints her husband, Pip, served as lighthouse keeper.

Her first book, The Lighthouse Keeper's Wife, now in its third printing, described life on Stephens Island.

Her second, The Lighthouse Children's Mother (Cape Catley, $29.99) covers the years 1967 to 1970 when the Aplins and their two children, Helen and Fred, lived on Dog Island. A third book will

complete the series with an account of the Aplins' second period on Stephens Island.

"My parents were almost the original lifestylers," Aplin said, when asked how repared she was for island life.

"I was home-schooled, brought up with the model that Mother is the best teacher."

When it came to doing it with her children, Aplin struggled with Correspondence School lessons.

"That constant discipline is against my nature."

In her 50s, Aplin decided to write about island life.

"I don't want to make it funny of clever, or larger than life. I do believe in being frank because I think too many people see others as coping and being complete and perfect," Aplin said.

"I fel it's almost a duty to tell people it;s OK to be not OK."

Looking back, she had few regrets about her years of island life.

She left "still loving it in many ways but needing some time in the community but I realise I wouldn't like to see my grandchildren brought up in such isolatio, not for so long", Aplin said.

For her, the pull of island life remains; she lives on d'Urville Island in Marlborough Sounds, working on her third book and planning stories for children.