Out with the old

As any regular reader will know the chances of this being the last reflective post of 2013 are pretty slim but this is the Official Round Up of the Year.

It’s been another rollercoaster  ride filled with innumerable highs, lows and everything inbetween. Many celebrations from anniversaries and birthdays to impromptu parties. Massive opportunities to learn, to grow, to spread our wings. As ever the turning of the seasons, the contrast from full on tourist season with hoardes of folk spilling off the ferry to the colder, bleaker, emptier Rum months when we barely scrape double figures of people on the island. Births, deaths, new faces, sad and tender goodbyes. Visiting friends and family, rare but always noteworthy ventures off the island. Adventures, opportunities, excitements, dramas. Another year passed, another year lived, another set of experiences added to our bank of memories.

I posted a photo from each month of 2013 recently. Here are some words to go with 2013 month by month.

January – seeing the year in with a communal meal in the village hall and fireworks on the TV round at a friends house, my birthday (39), a mainland trip to have Bonnie spayed, spend our winkle money, go shopping, indulge in baths and electricity and mostly just feel happy and relieved to be back home on Rum again, safe in the knowledge we missed Rum way more than we’ve ever missed the mainland. Our first Buns Night in Scotland, a magical evening joining in with set traditions and becoming part of Rum history. We visited the castle bar for the first – and last official – time.

February – We had some problems with Bonnie attacking ducks and then injuring a chicken to the point that she had to be killed. Harsh lessons learned. We celebrated our ‘yes-iversary’ of one year since we had traveled to Rum to be interviewed for Croft 3 and were told we’d been successful. The weather suddenly turned and we were eating lunch out on the sporran, all the birds (chicken, duck and goose) were laying eggs and I started working at Rum primary school four mornings a week.

March – We made it to Spring! I wrote a post which has made me all teary all over again just re-reading it. Our Croft 2 neighbours finally moved to Rum, I had a brief visit to Harris and Lewis and Skye. The community polytunnel got another step closer to being up and running and some fellow WWOOF hosts visited and brought us two drakes (one of whom escaped to live in the wild shortly afterwards, the other of whom is very at home here on Croft 3 and is the proud father of our newest duck). The helicopter took away a fellow SmallIslander who was here on Rum working after a heart attack which had us all feeling a little too remote and vulnerable. We plumbed ourselves into the river and had running water!

April – Our anniversary of a year on Rum. Barbara pig had piglets, chickens hatched chicks, the polytunnel went up, seeds were sown, raised beds were constructed. We joined in the community beach clean, we had our first visitors of the year – residential in the shape of my parents and two sets of day trippers.

May – Ady’s birthday, more visitors, raised beds installed, polytunnel yielding it’s first crop of the season and in full throes of sowing, transplanting and harvesting. First Sheerwater boat trip of the year, still light at 1030pm. Piglets and chicks growing well.

June – Rum’s first Big Lunch, the installation of the compost loo, the arrival of more livestock – this time goslings and (to our knowledge) the First Turkeys On Rum. Our honesty tables were installed at the top and bottom croft gates and started generating income. I created a herb spiral and we harvested our first strawberries from the polytunnel. The Battle of Nic & Ady vs the Crows commenced. The Sunday Community Teashop was born and oodles of cash raised for the Village Hall.

July – Davies launched his postcard range – he sold out and earnt enough to repay his start up business loan in full, restock and keep back money for investing in Christmas cards later in the year and spend some on frivilous things too. The birth of Davies Designs. Another visit from my parents, Rum played host to the Small Isles Games which we won every single round of the Tug of War in, Scarlett came second in the hill race and a generally fab time was had by all.  Weekly Market Days were held in the hall on a Wednesday and Davies did really well on postcard sales while my Moods Of Rum scarves sold well, as did my home baked flatbreads and jars of foraged fruits jam. Our duck hatched ducklings and one of the brood made it all the way to adulthood. We had a visit from an islander bearing fish to open up and inspect the contents of it’s stomach – 12 newts! We then ate it for tea. We swapped eggs for a freshly caught crab and had that for dinner later in the month. Scarlett and Davies got to lead the new Rum pony foal and it’s mother from one field to another.

August – We built a wood store and set about filling it, carrying wood up the hill and chopping and stacking it. The media spotlight was on Rum for the castle, a BBC documentary filmed here including a bit here on Croft 3, bramble picking and jam making. A brief mainland visit to the dentist and lots more visitors.

September – More visitors, family and friends. Davies had a big birthday and turned 13. We had the second Blasda food festival on Rum. We walked up to the source of our water. The stags began roaring and the 2013 red deer rut commenced.

October – We installed a wind turbine, went to Kilmory to watch the rut, celebrated Halloween and I embarked on my most ambitious upcycling project yet – an Honesty Larder made from an old freezer.

November – Bonfire night, snow! Nights drawing in. Fruit cage finally stocked. Not leaving the house without a torch. Life slowing down.

December – Scarlett’s birthday, more friends to visit, the very sad loss of two pigs and a cockerel. The despatch and processing of two turkeys for Christmas dinners. Christmas, carols, games, nativity, mince pies and mulled wine. The wind turbine being blown out and replaced, the installation of a washing machine, more friends visiting to see out 2013 with us and welcome in 2014.

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