Because I’m not done with 2012 just yet…

The last blog was a fitting reminder of all we achieved in pictures. We’ve been doing the usual looking back and looking ahead stuff that this time of year inspires and so here is our Bad, Good and Learnt of 2012.

Bad – leaving belongings behind when we moved to Rum. I miss the books, toys and other stuff that is in storage because we don’t have enough room for it here. I miss my Granny and Grandad.

Good – Getting the croft and moving to Rum was the best thing of last year. Getting Bonnie. Having my first birthday and Christmas here. All the wildlife and ranger events we have been to this year and encounters with wildlife like the superpod, minke whales, seeing sea eagles. The Sheerwater boat trips were epic!

Learnt – loads about animals and wildlife, about bird ringing -how to do it and why we do it. How to live in a small community and on an island.

Summary – This year has been epic, awesome, totally wicked and cool. Did I mention epic?

Bad – Leaving stuff behind to move to Rum, not having as much space in my bedroom as I’d like. Missing family and friends. Moving the static.

Good – I loved Midgefest – it was perfect weather and lots of people came and it made me think there is so much to look forward to here in the future seeing what can happen from a small idea. It was the best Christmas ever! All of my presents were something I’ll actually use instead of needing to find a home for but never using.

Learnt – I have loved watching the seasons change looking at the view out of our windows and seeing how nature changing through the year. I learnt lots about teamwork and what community means and how it works, particularly when we were moving the static. I have learnt lots from Ranger Mike, especially bird ringing.

Summary – Everything we do in our life now has a meaning and makes me feel content. I understand the feeling of climbing a mountain or carrying home something heavy and then sitting down and feeling really happy and content and knowing I deserve my sit down which I never really understood before.

Bad – Moving the static was very stressful and living in it is pretty hard in the winter. Coping with the mud is a challenge.

Good – I love our new lifestyle, it is so rewarding. I like that we can choose solitude when we want it and decide to see no one when we like. The summer was lovely. The help and support and unity of the community is a real high point for me about being on Rum.

Learnt – It would have been better not to have chosen the static as a home I think. I have learnt that you cannot change the island, you have to work with it both in terms of the land and the physical island and the people here too. I learn something every single day which I don’t think was true in my previous life. I am slowly learning that material things really are not important although that is a tough and ongoing lesson. I am learning that people do not actually judge you on what you have but on who you are.

Summary – I’ve never been more fit and healthy – or knackered! Daily bringing everything we need up the croft hill.  I like being part of the community. It could be a massive test of our relationship being together all day every day as a couple but we’re really happy. I couldn’t live without the internet and radio – for all our off grid lifestyle I need these lines of communication to the outside world. 2012 has been a success, not as much as I had hoped, with us probably only achieving about 50% of what I expected but that is not a measure of our failure, more a learning experience for me about the pace of island life and island timings.

Bad – There have been very few low points for me this year personally, although I have found it hard seeing Ady, Dragon and Star struggle with the times when life has been tough and I tend to feel very responsible as the leader in taking us along this path. It was hard at the start of this year being in limbo without a home and a clear idea of what was going to happen next. The static move was incredibly challenging and had me seriously questionning what we had done and whether it would indeed all be fine in the end. I had a period during the summer of ill health which scared me a bit and I am very aware that our current living conditions of damp and cold are far from idea for our health. Although I do miss family and friends I am usually able to balance that with being so happy here that it makes up for it but when my brother became a father for the first time I found it very hard to not be around to help and support him and of course to meet and have a cuddle with my new nephew.

Good – Getting the croft in February was a massive highlight, as was finally moving here in April and finally getting the static onto the croftland in June. Sharing the island with family and friends was a huge buzz particularly as I had walked around the village when we came for our interview and pictured myself walking round with people showing them everything so to have that come true with some of our most beloved people was lovely. Celebrating various occassions with fellow islanders has been great – the jubilee, both my childrens’ birthdays, the Blasda festival and Christmas. Finally having a home again. It’s not perfect by any means but actually having a proper space to cook food, relax and spend time together again means the world. Becoming a real part of the community and having friends here is another good – hanging out sharing a cup of tea, a chat or a beer with fellow islanders and feeling a real connection and the start of shared memories and things in common is fab. Seeing my children so happy and settled – running with Bonnie, making camps on the croftland, paddling in the rivers, finding treasure on the beaches,engaging and building relationships with fellow islanders is all heartwarming. I’ll also mention the wildlife encounters and ranger events. The Sheerwater boat trips with the dolphins, whales and seabirds were weekly treats that I felt constantly privileged to be experiencing. The red deer rut, seeing eagles glide overhead, spotting deer from my bedroom window are all the sort of encounters I used to travel distances and pay money to experience, now I can have them from the comfort of my own home or a short stroll away.

Learnt – Oh so much! I have increased my wildlife knowledge tenfold. I am getting better all the time at understanding the weather and spotting it coming in. I have learnt about power and off grid living. I am continually learning about people and community and relationships. I have learnt about myself.

Summary – It’s hard to summarise something when it still feels very much like you’re in the middle of the first chapter. In years to come I will be able to put 2012 into perspective with the luxury of knowing what happened next  but for now it still feels like we’re just setting the scene, getting to know the characters and deciding what crazy direction this could all head off in next. I feel rather like a newly hatched chick – it’s already been a huge adventure just getting to this stage but all of the big stuff is still ahead. I think we’ve got the right location and the right set of characters but quite where the plotline is headed is still all very uncertain. I’m hoping I still hold the pen to carry on writing it but I suspect I no longer have all the rights to creative control! But I know I want to stick around to see what happens next!

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