Birthdays, Barts, Brambles and Blasda

A busy week for us here with friends staying Monday to Friday and getting to sample a slice of our lifestyle. We’ve a busy month or so ahead with several more sets of family and friends coming to visit before it quietens down for the winter. We are already filling up with planned visitors for the spring next year though so I’m sure we won’t be lonely for friends.

It was lovely to see The Barts who are in the throes of planning an adventure of their own for next year (and maybe beyond!). It’s amazing to think it was two years ago now that we were planning our WWOOFing year and we are coming up to the anniversary of our first ever visit to Rum soon too… someone said to me just this week that they can’t imagine Rum without us already – it’s lovely to feel so at home here and helps prevent itchy feet when listening to friends talking about their travels.

We had a great week, weather aside, with them. Introducing them to our island friends, showing them some of our favourite spots on the island and sharing our new life with them. We went to a Ranger event on fungi where we walked the woodland searching for mushrooms, found some and identified them and even tried a few carefully IDd varieties.

We did some foraging, gathering blackberries, apples, rosehips and rowan berries for jam making and other squirrel-y tucking stuff away for the winter activities. We did some fishing and although we didn’t catch anything big enough to keep and eat Marcus caught his first fish which is always a moment to cherish and remember 🙂

The end of the week saw celebrations aplenty as Dragon had his twelfth birthday on Friday. It was well celebrated with a very early start in our bed along with Star and a sack of presents

note it is still dark outside the window! Dragon was born at 435am, so he was 12 when he woke up but only just!

his favourite breakfast of home made cinnamon rolls and a morning spent with friends playing with new toys. He had a visit from Ranger Mike bearing card and gift which was greatly appreciated and the afternoon ferry brought yet more cards and gifts from family.

Later we all headed down to the shop where Dragon had invited the whole island to celebrate and share his birthday cake with him. Of course a birthday cake designed to be shared with that many people needs to be pretty big…

Quadruple layer! Sadly it was just too tall for it’s own stability and shortly after this photo was taken and before anyone else saw it the top three layers slid off! The repair job meant it was nothing like as gorgeous looking by the time it came out with 12 candles lit on top but it still tasted good!

Considering we have been here only just over four months we were amazingly touched at the thoughtfulness and generosity of our fellow Rumics to Dragon. The shop was decorated with tinsel and streamers and crackers, he was given some fantastic gifts from our friends here and it made his day to have so many people turn out to sing Happy Birthday and cheer as he blew out his candles. One of his birthday wishes was to have a card signed by lots of the islanders and I know he’ll add this birthday memory to his many other good ones from previous years and consider it another fab celebration of his special day. He spent a very happy hour the following day creating thank you cards for everyone with personalised drawings of him using whatever gift he’d been given and a message inside to say why he loved his present.

Saturday saw us waving off The Barts and turning our attention to Blasda – a celebration of local food on Rum joining in with various celebrations across Scotland. The events team here had put together a great days programme with open gardens at four different homes including our croft, a market table groaning with local produce for sale or barter in the village hall and the crowning glory – a pot luck dinner in the evening.

Vikki showing us round her veg patch

meeting the animals at Croft 3
table full of produce – jams, jellies, chutneys and pickles, foraged mushrooms, home grown garlic and tatties, home brewed eldeflower fizz and freshly laid duck and chicken eggs.

The evening was wonderful – loads of people attending a three course dinner comprising of food grown, foraged, gathered, reared, produced and prepared on the island. We had a choice of soups including spicy veg, courgette & mint or garlic, chervil & turnip, all served with home made bread. Main course selections were venison stuffed marrow, marinated mackerel, veggie quiche, potato salad and vegetable curry, also on the table to sample was home made mayonnaise, pickled beetroot, gherkins and nasturtium pods. Dessert was Brumble (bramble crumble), SNHapple tart (made with apples donated from SNH reserve office garden), custard made with free range Rum eggs and a gorgeous triple layer sponge cake. I think everyone left the table absolutely stuffed full of delicious food with barely one food mile let alone hundreds or thousands!

It’s been a good week, filled to brimming with plenty of the sort of magical memories that keep you warm at night and feeling of community, home and promise of plenty more moments like this to come.

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