Life here is starting to shape into what it might look like moving ahead. And it’s a whole lot of part time somethings. Which suits us perfectly. No chance to get bored or feel like we are spending too much time doing any one thing. Life on Rum was a whole lot of part time somethings; working on crops, working with the animals, home education, crafting, writing, working at various jobs including clerical at the school, post office, cleaning, castle tours, ghilly work, directors and other voluntary roles. That life style really suited us there and I think it’s going to suit us here.
Davies is studying part time. He’s about to start working on the final essay of this years module, which is due in at the end of this month. He’s enjoyed this first year and got consistently high scores in all his assessments as he’s worked through the year. He will be starting the Introduction to Psychology module in the autumn and is looking forward to the summer off studying to focus on other part time interests. He has signed up to be a volunteer with a local charity and will have some training sessions for that before he gets started. Another part time role.
Scarlett is working with Ady (and sometimes me) doing cleaning of holiday cottages part time, mostly at the weekends. She has continued her Rum past time of collecting litter, mostly plastics off the beaches here. There is thankfully not too much litter around the shores of the loch here but enough that she has never come back from one of her walks empty handed. Scarlett had her first taster session of kayaking last weekend, something she has wanted to try for a while and she loved it. We’re looking into how she can get more time out on the water doing that along with a couple of other volunteering opportunities that might be interesting for her. She will also do some short online courses over the summer, part – time of course!
Ady is still looking for more part time work. He does the cleaning with Scarlett and narrowly missed out on a cruise guide job which he applied for after we returned from holiday as we were away for a couple of weeks. The reply back was that he sounded as though he would have been perfect for the job, they would keep his details and it was a shame he’d not got in touch before we went away. Ah well. He has been thinking about what type of part time work he would like to do and come up with a few ideas. We’ve chatted to a few friends who work in a similar field, been emailing with a contact they put us in touch with and signed up for various email alerts for work in that area. Ady has also signed up to be a volunteer (with expenses) for a local initiative which is both a little income and something he will enjoy and is helping people. He has also been looking at some courses and training.
I have been helping the others with the cleaning, signed up to volunteer for the same charity as Davies, been talking to a few local retailers about stocking my crafts and been looking at part time work too. I’ve been offered a job working in youth support which I am thrilled about. It is part time, naturally, and is a sessional post (fancy way of saying I only get paid for when I work, bit like zero hour contracts) and while I’m waiting for my references and working with vulnerable groups checks to come through I am yet to start and find out just how many hours that might be before I can look for other part time things too.
Meanwhile we are still part time crofters. This week Ady and I spent a couple of days and nights on Rum. We finally finished planting this years trees, over 1000 this time, with us getting about 400 of those in this week. That brings our total so far to well over 6000 trees planted on the croft, a legacy project for sure. We topped up the stocks in the shed, which is continuing to bring in a trickle of income and Ady chatted to a visitor walking around the croft who asked if she could come in and see around, so she got a personal croft tour and met some of the creatures. The remaining croft 3 creatures are all thriving under the watchful eye of our friend David who is keeping things ticking over while we’re not there. We will be rehoming the chicken flock in the coming weeks – some are coming over here with us for a new mainland life, the rest are going to a friend on Rum, so will migrate slightly east to a beachfront location! The geese and sheep will remain, happily grazing. Sheep shearing is on the agenda for our next visit back.
We checked over the crops still on Rum – mostly orchard and soft fruit which is all doing very well and looking like it might be a good crop this year, so fruit harvesting is also part of the part time plan for the year ahead. We did do the annual thinning of the strawberry bed to allow the plants room to spread. This year though instead of increasing the space for strawberries on the croft we bought the thinned plants back here with us so that we can enjoy strawberry picking part time over here too.
It was good to be back on Rum for a couple of nights, to catch up with Rum friends, to nip up my hill one afternoon, to wake up and pull the curtains on the sunrise over the croft and go to bed after the sunset over the other side of the croft. Good also to remind ourselves of all we achieved in our time on Rum and why it will always be special and have a place in us. Rum can be such a bubble; when you are there it is as though the rest of the world doesn’t really exist and when you are not there it can feel as though Rum doesn’t carry on without you. It was quite strange to have Ady and I there while Davies and Scarlett were here, living simultaneous old and new lives in both our part time locations.
We all walk through life wearing all these part time hats, it’s these many roles and facets to our personalities that make us humans so interesting. We wear so many labels and are so many different things to so many people, all added together to make up our self and who we are. In the end our full time lives on Rum were lacking sufficient to make up a whole life for each of us. It is lovely to still have the part time versions of our Rum selves and our Rum lives to add to the mix of these new versions of us as we find all the new part time components to piece together to make the next incarnations.