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Lyppards online dating

He could really sing." For centuries, Englishwomen beyond child-bearing age who lived alone would arouse suspicion.

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In her old life, back in what she calls "that England", she had become disillusioned by politics, by society as a whole.Lawrence Durrell once called us a nation of islomanes who are drawn instinctively towards islands.With the hermit a human island, it makes sense that the English find something inherently admirable about them.Historically, our understanding of what is eccentric or threatening has been articulated by masculine elites threatened by female non-conformity."There's no way I could have done this 100 years ago," Woodcock says.Before leaving London he had 99.2 per cent of his flesh tattooed with leopard spots, projecting his acute sense of apartness on to his skin. Tom is 73 now and – when we finally meet, after I track him down in his remote lair with the help of a local fisherman – he is wearing a woolly hat, a fleece with a flap that covers his groin, and very little else. Most of his daily chores are aimed at keeping it that way.

At the heart of his encampment is a cave made from the remains of a sheep pen and bits of timber from nearby beaches.

Video and audio clips are available at uk/englisheccentric British hermits: a history Richard Rolle, 1290-1349 A Christian recluse who lived in isolation in Yorkshire and wrote The Fire of Love, including descriptions of the music he'd hear in his head when he sang psalms.

Roger Crab, 1621-1680 After being sentenced to death by Cromwell for being an "agitator", Crab was reprieved.

He survives on tins of food he buys with the pension he picks up when he kayaks over to the mainland. "Haven't spoken to anyone in a while, see," he explains. I've got all this," he nods at the view that sweeps past a flank of Scottish scarp. I don't want to share it with anybody." As well as reminding us that it's possible to live without material possessions, by their example Woodcock and Leppard remind us not to confuse the words "alone" and "lonely".

Leppard says he was lonely in London but never gets lonely now. Companionship is not always a prerequisite to fulfilment.

Hermits are embodiments of doing your own thing, knowing your rights, minding your own business, my house is my castle; 18th-century landowners would even employ "ornamental hermits" to live in grottoes on their estates.