Masterplan revisited

The masterplan to build a nissen hut this year has not come to fruition. This has not been the only part of this years plans which has not quite panned out.

However, the measure of a person is not whether they make all their plans work out, but how they adapt and react when their plans go awry. So here we are adapting, rethinking and making new plans.

This year we have learned even more about the best possible location to build on our croft. We have acquired plenty of new skills in a building method which perfectly meets our needs – low impact, green, using very local materials, creating opportunities to learn and offer others the chance to learn alongside us, cheap, sustainable, within our reach. We have spent the last few weeks practising and testing with our small scale build of a pizza oven and we can now spend the winter observing how that copes with the Rum climate and conditions.

We have also had hours of discussions, stacks of research, plenty of reading and lots of sketches and agreed on a design that all four of us are delighted with. We have done some really interesting exercises based on some of the self build books we have about how you use the space you live in and thought really hard about what works for us in the various spaces and places we have lived and stayed and worked in, including our static, our campervan, various homes we have lived in and visited. We have created lists of essential and desireable features, thought about our relationship with indoor and outdoor and bridging the two, functions of different areas and what works specifically for the four of us – the people who have to live and work in a space.

We mapped out patterns of our days, times we are all together, times we are apart, worked out where the sun rises and sets in relation to our activities, which spaces need to feel cosy and be easy to keep warm, which need to feel light and airy and spacious. Places to snuggle up, places to spread out, places to relax, places to get privacy, places to be sociable. We talked about the sort of quirky, specific to us areas we need – somewhere for Bonnie’s dog crate (not too far from the front door so she can be put straight in there if she comes in to the house wet or muddy), the Christmas tree (it is up for approx. 1/12 of the year so deserves a logical space rather than being simply in the way for a whole month every year), Ady to have his morning coffee, me to have my hour or so after everyone else has gone to bed. How we don’t want the bath in with the loo, how open plan works well for us so the person cooking is still hanging out with the rest of the family in the evening, how we want the oven close enough to the table that I can nip across to check the bread I almost always cook after our dinner is served. How the radio needs to be kept near a window to get signal and we need to gather round it for Popmaster every weekday morning. This will be our space and it needs to feel as comfortable and tailor made as the perfect pair of boots.

So, we have our design. We have our location. We have our test model. Next we need to start working out timescales and putting together a masterplan as to how it will all work, when it needs to happen and what order everything will go in.

I love it when a plan comes together. Or falls apart totally and gets superceded by a brand new plan!


Blog Hop – my writing process and three other writers you want to meet

Long ago, in the olden days of social media I used to read a fair few blogs every day. Back then I either actually knew the bloggers in real life or knew them well enough online that they felt like actual friends anyway. These days the internet is awash with blogs and my own online time is seriously curtailed so my blog reading is rationed.

I have been tagged by Kirsty at Untrapped Life in this blog hop about writing styles and she rather greedily already tagged two people I would probably have tagged – Jax and Merry so I can’t tag them.

I have mentioned Kirsty and her traveling adventures with her family and coaching podcasts before – if you have not already checked out her travel blog and untrapped life website please do so – Kirsty and I have definitely supported, encouraged and inspired each other over the years and continue to do so.

I will tag another three writers at the end of this post, but first to the questions…

1. What am I working on?
Writing wise, obviously, not all the other things I am working on! Along with writing this blog I have also written for various other magazines and publications including Scottish Islands Explorer, The Barefoot Diaries, WWOOF UK newsletter. Currently I am working on a couple of articles I hope to submit to some magazines in the permaculture, small holding, self sufficiency area. I write bits and pieces for various local newsletters, magazines and websites too.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I am not sure I really have a genre – I write about my life, my hopes and dreams and plans, share a little (with permission) about the rest of our family (husband and our two children). As such it varies from our Home Education adventures, our WWOOFing experiences, life on a remote Scottish Island, crofting, self sufficiency, animal breeding, rearing and processing, crop growing, permaculture, off grid low impact living, dream building, a bit alternative craziness! I hope my writing reflects who I am – humorous, adventurous, passionate, individual.

3. Why do I write what I do?
I’d like to reply to this in a really worthy way and say that I keep the blog so that friends and family can keep up with what we are doing, living so far away in such a remote place. Or that I hope to inspire and educate and inform others of the things I am passionate about – family, low impact living, chasing dreams, living life to the full. The truth is that although I do write for all of these reasons the main drive behind my writing is that I have always written and simply can’t help myself. If I am not actually writing or typing I am mentally compiling what I will write or type when I am next sitting down with pen and paper or a laptop keyboard. From a very young age I kept a diary, I have always written stories and poems and spewed words out. If I am not talking I am writing.

4. How does my writing process work?
As above – a constant round of words whirling around desperate to get out and either be spoken aloud, typed onto a blog post or written on a page. I write best at night, alone, with silence and candlelight. I struggle with noise or distractions, rarely edit and generally exhaust myself with committing all I wanted to say to a space outside of me before I am ready to go to bed knowing I have concluded my day.

 Writers I think are really rather amazing
I started this post talking about how I only used to read blogs of people I knew in real life. Actually now I have thought about the three writers I am going to mention it turns out I do know all of them in real life anyway.
Ali is a fellow Home Educator, a very good friend and someone I miss a lot from my old life in Sussex where we would often sit, drinking tea (made with nasty soya milk but I put up with it for Ali’s company) while our (then) small children would play and we would have surreal conversations, sing Don McLean songs and generally make each other laugh. She is quite my favourite poet and reading her words on the internet is a small consolation for not sitting drinking bad tea with her.  Find Ali’s poems here (although I notice that her most recent and very good poems are not there yet.)
Allie another used-to-be-local-to-me Home Educator. Allie is one of the most talented writers I know of both fact and fiction. Her rousing blog posts on a variety of topics from parenting to politics to Home Education used to make me want to paint a banner on an old sheet and march along behind her chanting. Allie shares some of her fantastic (and prize winning!) fiction here.
Aida is, you guessed it, another wonderful woman I met through Home Ed down in Sussex. She has a huge family of the most gorgeous and super talented children, runs an inspirational and very successful business and is a screamingly funny writer and teller of great truths. Her writings are all grouped together under her business website at Whipped and Baked where all of the content is worth reading (and the cakes worth traveling to taste if you are ever anywhere near close to Chichester!).


September so far…

We are enjoying the indian summer – anything which prolongs the sunshine is good by me. Tomatoes are ripening daily and I made my first batch of chutney today, brambles are still being picking although I have now used up all my jars so am freezing them for later use (I have over 50 jars…
Continue reading »


A lover, not a fighter

Don’t worry, the blog is not about to go X rated.. I’m talking about nature. We are often asked what bought us here to Rum. Infact Ady and I have been asked at least three times just this week. We have varying answers to the question depending on how long the person has available to…
Continue reading »


Cob pizza oven

I have wanted to build a cob or earth oven ever since we went WWOOFing – no less than three of our WWOOF hosts had one in various guises and building our own has been on our to do list pretty much since we arrived here on Rum. After we went on our cob course…
Continue reading »


So far this September…

We’ve been all about the friends and family staying, the foraging and preserving, the drying and storing, the harvesting and celebrating. a gathering of Goddards (fairly sure that is the collective term) raised beds covered with grass cutting (scythed) mulch Rum’s third annual Blasda local food festival drying flowers to make pot pourri flower mix…
Continue reading »