Warm, wet and windy. That’s what we’ve been promised here on Rum. Frankly I’d prefer dry, crisp and still – a bloody good frost or eight would harden the ground up beautifully, we could do without the drama of high winds and if it would only stop raining then maybe the croft would stop being more of an agricultural 8 acres of land and less of a large water feature.
But it is, what it is. Without the water I would not be moved to taking daily photographs of the river – sometimes it runs so low I can wade across in ankle height wellies and pick out individual rocks on the river bed, just hours later it can be running so fiercely and high that I’m calling Bonnie and the kids away from the edges for fear they will be washed away. It stopped raining for five full days last week by day three I was actually doing sneaky little raindances behind the static when no one was looking because actually I’d rather put a coat and waterproof trousers on that walk across the croft to gather rainwater and carry it back in 20 litre containers. Plus my hair can carry off greasy and unwashed far better when everyone else also looks bedraggled thanks to the rain!
It’s still far too early to be starting to think about what we’re finding hard, mostly because as yet we are not really struggling with anything but whenever we try and say that there is always someone ready to tell us how we’ve not even *started* with the tough times yet, so we tend not to say it now. We’ll just wait til February and we can either start being smug then, or leave!
We’ve all spent a large amount of today outside. The sun shone pretty much all day and we had all the doors and windows open on the static to give it a good airing. The kids spent hours playing down beside the river including a game which involved making the car really muddy and then cleaning it off again. At one point Star was pointing some odd shaped cloud out to us and said ‘over there, by that eagle…’ It made me realise once again how we must never take this forgranted – kids playing down beside the river, spotting eagles flying overhead. We are living our dream and must savor every moment.
Ady and I have been moving wood about. We were lucky enough to have some leftover wood scraps donated from the builders who have just finished working on Kinloch Castle and spent a couple of hours on Friday bringing it up as far as the river and then another few hours today loading it in to the car, bringing it across the river, up as far as we could get it and then unloading it. Lots of walking up and down a very muddy hill carrying heavy loads of wood – rather like WWOOFing again! My knees are telling me I have worked today, always a satisfying feeling when curled up on the sofa by candlelight at the end of a day.
We’ve collected a punnet of the very last of the brambles for the very last few jars of jam this year. I’ve baked bread, we’ve had a lovely roast dinner. Friends came up for a cup of tea and some home made cakes and we talked about crochet club, reading group and other events to see us through the darker colder weeks ahead.
Ady and I have been projecting ahead, wondering where we’ll be this time next year, discussing the small incremental changes that always feel so monumental in terms of the difference to our day to day lives they make. After our year on the road in our van, living with people in all sorts of off-grid situations we never assume toilets will flush, taps will deliver running water, there will even be a plug socket to charge a phone let alone one that works. It’s interesting to read on facebook of how friends are turning their heating on for the first time while our nod to the changing season this year is an extra jumper and hot water bottles at night. Yet, when we arrived here not even six months ago it was a bare field and we came off the ferry with a car and a horse box towing all we owned. We sit here less than half a year on with our candles, our roast dinner, me checking facebook and the kids watching iplayer. It’s thanks to low tech, alternative technologies certainly and we still rely heavily on nature and the elements to provide but it’s living out our dreams that is keeping us warm at night, hopefully a few extra layers and the glow of being part of something fantastic here on Rum will continue to keep us cosy as winter creeps ever closer.