A year ago tonight we were at friends in Sheffield. We parked outside their house many nights over the years – first in fuel paid company cars, then in Willow the campervan and finally in our Pajero and horse box. When we arrived in their cul de sac with the horse box we messed up the reversing with a trailer thing and had to un-hitch and re-hitch and drag it around by hand. A year ago today we were doing a big supermarket food shop trying to think of what we’d need and not be able to get on Rum. We were buying jerry cans ready to send off island regularly to get filled with red diesel or petrol. It all seemed such a novelty prospect back then, now it’s just a fact of our lives.
A year ago tomorrow we got up super early and drove from Sheffield to Fort William, collected Bonnie, drove back slightly south and stayed in a camping pod for our last night on the mainland. A new puppy, all our lives packed up in our horsebox behind us and the adventure of a lifetime all ahead of us. In some ways I can’t believe it’s already a year ago, in others it feels like a whole lifetime ago, almost as though that happened to different people rather than us. In many ways I guess it did – we are not the people who once lived in a house and had regular jobs. We’re not even the people who spent a year WWOOFing and living in a campervan. When you live somewhere like Rum, where the longest serving resident has still only been here a decade or so you are merely the person you are today – who you have been since you got here. It’s the shared experiences with the rest of the community and what you do right here, right now, today that make you who you are. It doesn’t matter what you used to do, who you used to be, what you once had. It’s a face value existence here where you can reinvent yourself and decide afresh what you want to do and how you want to play it.
We quite literally started with nothing a year ago, arriving to a bare field. On Saturday we celebrate a year since we arrived. For tonight I’m looking backwards to a year ago, come Saturday we’ll be looking forward and deciding what the next year will bring, where we’re going and which direction to head off in next.