Before we moved to Rum we had experienced groups of co-dependent people living in close conditions with each other in several places. We WWOOFed for a couple of intentional communities on large-ish scales, several places where three generations of families or extended families lived together through choice, situations where family house shares were working and more. We have also long been part of our own community of Home Educating friends where a group of 10 or so families from all different backgrounds have spent several weeks a year together living communally, sharing budgets, food preparation, childcare and entertainment, transport and so on.
Although I knew that every set of circumstances is unique and every set of people will always come with a totally different set of rules, dreams and set ups I thought we were pretty well prepared for moving to a place like Rum with a small community of around 40 people. Everyone living their lives but all interwoven and connected and with certain common aims and shared priorities. In many ways we were very well prepared and feel we have fitted in well here on Rum, have made friends, forged connections and while we miss family and long standing friends a lot and look forward to the times ahead where we are better set up to have visitors to stay we are rarely short of company. We are sociable people and need to know there is a world outside our family unit and people on hand to mix with, socialise and share with.
In the main Rum supplies that and while getting to know people properly in such intimate circumstances can sometimes be a challenge I feel we have made friends here who are true and close and very important to us. The slightly transient nature of island living however can hit hard at times. Since we arrived just over a year ago we have waved goodbye to several people and there are a few more about to head off in the coming weeks. There are more new people coming too – the headmaster of the school and his wife arrive next week – they lived here long before we came and have spent a few years away so are actually coming home. There is a new manager at the castle and her partner is due to arrive here soon for good. A new Reserve Manager is currently being recruited and will be arriving at some fairly imminent point with the old one due to leave. Seasonal ghillies who were here for 6 months last year are both coming back, the older kids who go away to the mainland for high school are home for the summer. Added to all these comings and goings the influx of seasonal visitors – tourists, researchers, film crews, visiting family and friends of islanders, people going off on their own summer holidays and you end up rocking our boat quite violently with new faces and a different vibe around the place constantly changing. This is at times exciting and at others slightly unsettling.
We have a lot to keep us busy though – crops are doing well, animals are thriving and we have several projects on the horizon at varying stages of research and execution. But first a short break as we reconnect with each other from the routine of me working mornings to me being home again, the onset of Market Day in the village on a Wednesday and a visit from my parents at the end of this week.