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Day of days

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Today has been one of our really productive days. We achieved everything we set out to do – and more. Another few steps closer to feeling like we have really arrived on the croft and are living it, doing it, making it happen. Our goose and gander were due to arrive on the late boat…
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What life looks like

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Not nearly enough pictures of late. Let’s make up for that now! A few from one of the highlights of our week each week – the Thursday trip to Soay aboard the Sheerwater. A two hour boat ride away from Rum and back again with our Rum Ranger aboard to help us spot bird and…
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being a bit whimsical

It puts one at a distinct disadvantage when someone has been reading your blog and tells you so the very first time you meet them!

I remember my first blogs way back in 2003 or so. A bunch of friends and I were experimenting with the whole idea of weblogs / online diaries, mostly to share our days with each other as Home Educators. It was all very mundane back then, way less about recounting our innermost thoughts, toying with the idea of being writers with something of interest to say, or heaven forbid create some sort of income generating business opportunity. It was very much a school gates type exchange, a coming together of parents who had in common only the fact our children were NOT going to school.

As a teenage I wrote in my diary every day, I still have a collection of various notebooks, doodled with hearts, flowers, hopes and dreams, tearstained, written in with green ink, turquoise ink, in a variety of emerging handwriting, documenting my experiments with all sorts of cusp of adulthood type stuff. Reading them now (as I sometimes do) is like witnessing a caterpillar forming it’s chrysallis and slowing emerging out – same basic DNA, totally different end result. My early blog posts are a similar sort  of thing – a fairly new parent, Home Educating still a very experimental idea, coming to terms with this new path I was walking along and learning alongside the children. I realised along the way that blogging is not quite like a diary once you put it ‘out there’ it becomes public property. You no longer have control over who reads, how they interpret it, what they do with your words. As such I do have a couple of private blogs but I did keep a public blog for Home Education on the basis that it was reading about other people raising their children in a different way to the norm that gave me the courage, inspiration, hope and strength to do what we do with Dragon and Star. I felt that I had some level of responsibility to provide similar for people walking along that path behind me. I have no idea if I lived up to it, but various lovely comments on those blogs assure me I reached out and touched people.

It’s intetesting reading back over our journey on this blog as ‘Wondering Wanderers’.I started it really keen to fully document the adventure, the highs and lows, the learning and growing. In some ways I have fallen short as I have not been here blogging every single step of the way as I’d hoped I would. There are times, both as WWOOFers and as brand new crofters on Rum when I have been aware of my potential readership and self-censored. Call it the Dooce Effect ;), call it politically astute, call it Pollyanna-itis or merely put it down to limited internet access and a care about what my family and friends are reading about us. But to be fair our adventure thus far has been amazing, soul-feeding, inspiring and everything we hoped for and more. Sure, the four of us have private memories and in jokes and things we have shared with people that never made it to the blog but in the main I think you certainly get the edited highlights here, if not the full low down.

In the last few weeks I have met a couple of people for the first time that have read this blog before meeting us. I have no idea if we live up to the blog in real life, I certainly talk enough to blast people with words if nothing else! I’ve been telling people that we are happy here, life is good, while not without challenges this beats sitting in traffic jams, worrying about fuel costs, watching crap TV and office politics any day of the week. I told a friend this week that I miss being in the van, on the road and I do. I think last year awakened within us a wanderlust that will perhaps never be satiated. I hope Dragon and Star allow it to consume them in a few years and it leads them off in search of adventure, experiences and wonderous sights, sounds and memory building. I hope it lies settled enough within Ady and I to inspire us to quirky risk taking and small scale adventures within the croft here on Rum.

Anyway. This was not what I came to blog about…. I was here for updating.

Julie, my sister in law, infact I think I am dropping the ‘in law’ and just calling her my sister from here on in. I’ve missed her so much this last year or so and a three week stay here reminded me just how much her lack of being in my life has left a big gaping hole. I have made some amazing friends here already and while I will never find replacements for the people I miss from my old life I feel very lucky that I am not friend-bereft here by any means. We are people who need people. So Julie left today after a lovely long stay and another planned for just two months away. We have now had visits from my parents, my ‘sister’ (who counts mostly as Ady’s family) and just have our adopted ‘parents’ Lynda and Stuart to come and stay until we feel we have the full family seal of approval on our new life. Our first lots of friends all arrive together in a cluster in a couple of weeks which will be lovely.

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Sharing our idyll

Very slack on the blogging front again, even with internet!

It’s been busy here on Rum and the island has a whole new feel when it is awash with tourists. A particularly busy week this week with the levels of visitors meaning the actual islanders are outnumbered about 4 to 1. While the sun continues to shine here on Kinlochv village meaning we are all sunkissed, barbecuing and enjoying the summer the rest of the UK seems to be suffering all sorts of extreme weather conditions.

We’ve almost been having a bit of a rest from the stressy side of our new life here and I think after all the angst of the static move we probably needed that downtime. It coincided nicely with the arrival of our first guests – my parents. They came for a week and stayed here in the static with us. We explored some of the island with them, they had a castle tour, met the rest of the islanders and got a real taste of our life. It was fabulous to see them and share our new home with them and to celebrate Mum’s birthday with her in person. Parting again and waving them off on the ferry was tough, as we have no plans to visit Sussex again any time soon so we knew it would only be on their next visit all the way up here we’d see them again.

Two out, six in though as we had a weekend to ourselves before our next visitors arrived – SIL Julie, her mother, Dragon & Star’s three cousins (9 yo twins J&M and 4yo L) and their dog Mable. They are here for nearly 3 weeks and it’s lovely for the kids to have playmates, Bonnie to have a rough and tumble puppy pal and us to have Julie around. More sharing our new life, showing off our island and merging the life we used to have with the one we live now. Watching Dragon and Star show their cousins the best places to swim in the river, to gather beachcombed treasure from the shore, where to spot the best nature and wildlife and introducing them to the other islanders makes me realise how very quickly this has become our home.

Life on the island for us continues alongside all of this hosting guests. We’ve been on the weekly boat trip wildlife spotting and been lucky enough to witness close encounters with minke whales and super pods of dolphins – weekly catchphrase ‘The sea is ALIVE!’ as we enjoy ever more spectacular scenery and nature spotting as the weeks go by. I’ve been selling cakes to the teashop, eggs to the shop and bartering for salad and sausages. Rum is holding a weekly Market Day on a Wednesday and I’ve been selling home baking and crafty bits aswell as enjoying the company of fellow ‘traders’ for a couple of hours in the village hall and chatting to the tourists.

Tomorrow, weather permitting we’ll be playing host to all comers to our Croft Warming Barbecue, our way of toasting our new home and saying thanks to all those who helped us finally get it here.

In the meantime we are also getting to grips with ‘infrastructure’ type stuff on the croft. Sorting out water, power, toilet and starting to think hard about what is going where and longer term plans for the land, livestock, crops and buildings. We’ve been researching, reading and just walking the land getting to grips with what we’ve got, what we could have and how we’re going to get it. Fruit bushes arrived last week and seem to be doing okay planted down at the bottom of the croft and we have geese arriving in a couple of weeks time. We’ve made a duck pond and got our first WWOOFers booked to stay. I have a whole list of projects to fit in and although our pace of life is the slowest it’s ever been I can’t ever remember being busier!