Adventures in cob

And so they begin 🙂 When we first moved to Rum it was our intention to live in our static caravan for a short while until we built a house. We’d always felt it was really important to get to know the location properly before actually committing to building so planned a full year –…
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Optimism as a curse

Friends have pointed out to me before that my optimism can be dangerous. Only ever seeing the good side of things and approaching the world with an unshakable belief that everything will be fine can be setting yourself up for a fall. The fact is that sometimes bad things do happen and no amount of positive thinking is going to make everything ok.

I have in the past been guilty of sticking my fingers in my ears and ‘la-la-la not listening’ over the voices in my own head telling me to sort stuff out, deal with things, read the warning signs that everything is not ok. Not often and never with any really dire consequences. In the main my tendency towards an airy ‘it’ll al be fine’ response is proved right, but there are times when I have had to stop, face facts and deal with things like a grown up. Not often, obviously, or I’d not be where I am right now, but just sometimes.

Right at the moment we are still enough in the tough winter bit of the year for living conditions to be hard, have just forked out spare funds for this month, next month and the month after on booking a trip off to visit friends and attend a cob course, are in the limbo period between winkle picking and the tourist season / honesty larder income of eggs, jams and crafts. And then the car goes and dies.A week before our biggest ever animal feed bills come in (we have an account so are paying now for the deliveries we had pre Christmas when we were worried about ferries being cancelled and still had six pigs all hungry). Ouch.

We are reminded that even here, in our chosen life away from consumerism and credit card bills there are still times when finances catch up with us and everything just feels a little bit like a house of cards.

So, natural optimism needs to be mixed with a healthy dose of realism and a side order of practicality and some serious consideration as to how to make it all work out. We have some ideas, I’ll let you know how they pan out.

In other news today we spent a couple of hours helping a friend pack up a van ready to start moving him and his stuff off Rum. We are excited for him starting a new life but it’s been a tough day to keep smiling.


Happy Second Yes-iversary!

IIt’s been a gorgeous day today, as the photos above show – some stunning shots of the view from the sporran as Ady and I enjoyed morning coffee out there today, of Kinloch Bay, the rocky shore and the sea looking towards the snowy peaks on the mainland. We celebrated today with a beer on…
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Lifelong Learning

This week I joined a new facebook group on freedom in education. It popped up as a suggested group for me and as I miss hanging out with other Home Educators in real life I thought I’d hang out with some online. Some of my best friends are fellow Home Educators but we have all been friends a long time, some of them have chosen school, pretty much all of us are secure in our educational choices and it tends to not be something we talk about any more – just the common factor which brought us together in the first place but long since lost as shared memories and years of friendship take over as the reason we are in contact.

Interestingly I have not really contributed to any discussions about Home Education but have had several chats about island life, WWOOFing, traveling and our general lifestyle. Also this week I answered some FAQs about Life On Rum for a website and I spent some real life time with one of our newest residents so have been doing lots of talking about what it’s like to live here rather than anything to do with Home Education.

I actually often forget we Home Educate as it has long since ceased to be the interesting thing about our family to outsiders and it has faded into one of the many things we do as a family which makes us us rather than the single defining thing. Davies and Scarlett are constantly learning but in the same way as Ady and I are rather than any contrived, planned manner.

This week I have been learning more about cob house building, I had my first go on a spinning wheel and I learnt how to knit a sock. Ady has been researching how to provide heating, hot water and cooking for a small cob dwelling using wood rather than bottled gas or other fossil fuels. All self directed and driven by a need or a desire to learn. Davies and Scarlett’s learning is driven by the same motivators – a need or a desire. I can’t list everything they have learnt this week or even all the methods by which they have learned in just the same way as I would struggle to do so for myself – I know there have been external inputs such as radio, books, the internet – some accidental stumbling upon, some deliberate research. There has been chance encounters with people, conversation, incidents and happenings. Our children learn in the same way that we do, by living alongside us and dealing with things as they come up. There will be gaps certainly, but they will be filled as and when necessary by either necessity or curiosity.

I do know that this week Davies completed a book for Scarlett as a valentines gift (we ignored the romantic love association and all gave each other gifts on St Valentines Day – a mix of handmade and shop bought) and a comic strip to go in the island newsletter, he made a birthday card and used his initiative when the wind turbine was spinning so fast it overloaded the battery and he had to work out what to do as we were all out.

I know that Scarlett spent time coming up with ideas for gifts for everyone and then set about making them – Davies got chocolates, I got a handcarved dibber complete with Mummy carved into the handle and Ady got a catapault for shooting at crows, again handcarved and decorated. She also made treats for Bonnie and Humphrey (her hamster), worked out how old Humphrey is in hamster years, came to work with me and insisted on working out all of the change to give people from the till in her head. She also struck a deal with the shop owner to earn a little walnut deer head badge that she had been coveting.

If necessity is the mother of invention then maybe curiosity should be the mother of education…