Back in the day

My friend Jan wrote a very lovely blogpost today on her birthday about what her grandparents and parents would have been doing in their lives as they celebrated that particular birthday.

Coupled with a thought provoking comment on my last post about life before freezers and how life would have been on Rum in our parents’ day I’ve been reflecting on just that.

Ady and I both have landmark birthdays this year – 40 for me and 50 for him. Certainly not the time of life to be considering starting to build a house going back a generation or two ago. We get many a comment (on here and in real life) about being a bit pioneering living without mains power, water, gas, access to 24 hours supermarkets and mobile phone signal. Frankly we are still something of a curiosity for not having a telly and knowing who is in the jungle for ‘I’m a Celebrity’ or appearing on ‘Strictly’.

But the fact is our life here is still more ‘switched on’ than when our parents were Davies and Scarlett’s age. My Dad grew up in a remote village in North Wales, probably similar in size population wise to Rum. During months of the winter it was cut off from the bigger towns nearby. There was no electricity, certainly no phones and I imagine many of the dilemmas and issues we face here were very similar then in their community. Dad went to school but the rest of his childhood was spent in similar pursuits to our children now; swimming in rivers, building dens, avoiding bath time, chasing chickens, fishing, exploring, getting muddy and ripping clothing.

Progress is mostly good though. Leaps forward in healthcare and medical science, technology for communication, labour saving appliances, new thinking in education and breakthroughs in delivering information all mean that choosing to live a slightly different life as we have done is achievable and doable and we have the option of taking the best bits of the 21st century and leaving behind only the bits which don’t appeal.

It’s been a low impact week with Ady and I having to walk to the pier and the village several times with our little cart to collect things, including an epic trip on Friday afternoon to collect 10 9foot posts. Four mile round trip, tied onto our little cart with Ady pulling and me pushing / steadying, then carrying them the final half mile as the path is too stoney to drag the cart. It took a couple of hours to do something which a vehicle would have managed in about 10 minutes but it was a lovely walk and we laughed and talked all the way. It’s been a high tech week though with the wind turbine running everything in the static for four out of the seven days. I like that balance – low impact, high tech. Grab the best bits, leave the rest.

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