November has been the trickiest month for us here every single year so far. Sometimes due to outside of Rum factors, family reasons and the reality of being so far away from where we started (I hesitate to say ‘home’ because for the four of us, this is home), sometimes it has been our own ill health – nothing sinister but just a cold can be tough to get over living as we do. Sometimes it is Rum specific stuff like the change of the ferry timetable, the lack of tourists, the closing down of the place for another year, some people who don’t live here year round heading off. It can be the cold, the damp, the rain, the mud, the wind. The lack of daylight hours. Yep, November can be a challenge and the hardest part can be that the whole of winter is all still ahead of you, weeks and months of it to come before the promise of spring.
Ironically it was November that we very first set foot on Rum, fell in love and made the decision that we wanted to move here though.
We have developed various methods of coping with November as we head into our fourth winter here. We try to get outside every day wherever possible. Sometimes that is literally just to dash and feed the animals twice a day but if we can we aim for some proper outside time, exercise, fresh air, finding the beauty even when it is hidden under grey clouds and big puddles. We make plans for ‘winter projects’ things we can do indoors on days when the rain lashes the windows all day long. We stash films to watch, popcorn to eat, hot chocolates to be drunk, books to read, arts and crafts to get on with.
This November has been no different – there has been the call of Sussex, the messy Rum politics, the mud, the winds, the first loss of livestock of the season. There has also been cycling, photography, amazing sunsets, the first snowfall on the highest peaks, collecting hedgerow materials for basket making, experimental baking, candle making, a Jack Black movie marathon.
November, business as usual then.