Round up of 2014

January

We saw 2013 out and 2014 with a visit from friends.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year


Then it was my birthday – 40.
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We killed and processed the first piglet, rather unplanned at short notice as we were about to go off island and could not leave it as it was being attacked by Tom.

We had an epic trip back to MainlandLand, all the way down to the Eden Project for the Big Lunch Extras weekend, via friends and family. Finally met my new nephew, saw cousins and returned to Rum glad to be home and topped up on community spirit and lack of desire to live on the mainland!

Our second Burns Night which Rum always does so well – there were poems, singing, dancing, music, food and laughter.
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We finally installed and got working a washing machine up on the croft, which was life changing!

February

I had a go at a spinning wheel and knitted my first sock!
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We began testing the ground here for suitability for cob building with various holes dug, sausage shapes made, bricks left to harden, shake in a jar tests and more.
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We had a big tidy up in the polytunnel and I built some more raised beds.

We celebrated our ‘yesiversary’ – the day we were offered Croft 3, two years.
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We had a cockerel cull, killing and processing some of the previous years hatchlings who were now fully grown and ready for the pot.
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We had a quick 24 hour trip to the mainland for a dentist trip – 24 hours away from Rum always feels like you have been away for at least a week!

We finally got our first glimpse of the northern lights – very excitingly the kids could see it from their beds and I could see it from the sofa, the stuff dreams are made of!

Our long ailing car finally gave up the ghost and died, marking the start of a really long period of being without a vehicle.

March

Chickens started laying eggs again, we lost a goose. Spring sprung. The polytunnel and raised beds started to wake up and things began sprouting. Barbara Pig was definitely pregnant and we killed the final pig of the 2013 litter and had a first go at curing bacon.

It was Mothers Day, daffodils and primroses were out everywhere.
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Two geese went broody, turkeys started getting fiesty and displaying and mating. Nature awoke.

The cast members on Rum shifted and changed with people leaving, moving on, new characters coming to if not fill their place at least carve a new space for themselves.
march

Clocks go forward day

Clocks go forward day

April

Our anniversary – two years here on Rum.

New life on the croft with Barbara Pig having her litter of piglets, the geese hatching a massive clutch of goslings.
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Easter and the arrival of family to stay and the first influx of tourists to the island.
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A friend gave us a car! The Rangerover which drinks petrol but is reliable, huge and gold! We love it.

May

The return of the midges. And the 10pm sunsets. And the weekly Sheerwater boat trips.

We lost all of the goslings to the ravens and the crows. The piglets thrived though.

Ady was 50 and we celebrated with a barbecue on the beach, without the sausages – Ady forgot to pack them! We blamed his increasing age!
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We had a 10 day trip off island and for the first time since moving here felt ready to go off. We managed to squeeze in a weekend with loads of friends at a party, time with my parents and a cob building course.

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june

June

Was a month of feet not touching the ground – our first ever WWOOFer, who overlapped with our second ever WWOOFer, another trip off Rum, this time to stay with friends and go to all four days of the Royal Highland Show which was fantastic and will definitely become a fixture of our year from now on. Ady and Scarlett returned north to Rum with a fairly epic car journey and night slept in the car while Davies and I had an even more epic journey south, via train, plane, tram and car, then back up again all the way home. It was a road trip with attitude! And netted us our second vehicle, a jeep from my parents.

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Somehow the summer solstice and the chance to put on a Big Lunch utterly passed us by in the chaos!

July

More birds arrived – turkeys and ducks. These will be the last birds we buy in as we are hoping to increase future flock size by breeding and rearing here.

Weekly Market Days did well for us on the jam front and Scarlett’s new candle business.

Weekly Sheerwater boat trips gave us many plenty of minke whale sightings, we celebrated various Rum folks birthdays. We had a week of amazing Shearwater experiences with an evening boat trip to watch the massive numbers of them rafting on the sea around the coastline of Rum before coming in to land for the night, a day time walk up the hill to do some volunteering burrow checking which involved sticking your arm into tagged burrows and pulling out the chick inside. Finally we had a night time trip up the hill, climbing way up to the burrows and then sitting in silence in the darkness as the shearwaters come in all around you, shrieking, landing, wings beating right next to you.
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August

We had a friend staying for the whole of August. We met Clara on our cob course and she came to spend a month here with us and became part of our family.
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We had a weekend on the neighbouring isle of Muck for the annual Small Isles games which they were hosting this year. Our first visit to Muck and we were very impressed. It is a tiny island, much smaller than Rum but with a similar number of residents. They were fantastic hosts and the games were a great mix of fun, sports, competitions and pure craziness. The food was delicious with plate after plate of fish farm salmon, home grown lamb burgers, salads and savouries followed by lashings of cake. Two ceilidh bands which had us all dancing til way into the next morning. And our first time back in a tent overnight since we stopped WWOOFing!
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More Market Days and the odd few castle tours for Ady and I.

We finished the month by realising that if it was Back To School week in Scotland then it meant Scarlett would have been starting secondary school – so neither of the children had ever been nor ever would now go to primary school.

September

Davies’ 14th birthday, Ady and I celebrating our wedding anniversary, a lovely visit from the Southern branch of the Goddard clan, us finally building our cob pizza oven. The start of jam making, chutney making, drying flowers to make pot pouri, finalising house designs, the third Rum Blasda food bring and share communal meal. The final Sheerwater trips of 2014.
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October

The red deer rut,
rutvisits from more family and friends, a hop off island to visit the dentist, a trip to Canna, a really really rough rollercoaster-equse trip back home to Rum.
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Loads more house planning and masterplan creating. More jam making and final foraging of the year.
Davies and Scarlett both learnt to ride bikes.

The annual Halloween party at the school, followed by further Halloween-ness at the hall. Ady was Death, I was Hell Girl, Scarlett was a vampire, Davies was a cowboy. The kids won the pumpkin carving competition.
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A swan appeared on Croft 3, slightly lost on it’s migration route. It ended up staying with us on the croft and even started to come down with the other birds for feeding time. It sadly didn’t make it through the winter but was quite a novelty for the time it was with us.

November

Was a triumphant month of pig slaughter, processing, butchering and curing. Our first experience of doing the whole thing ourselves, my own personal first kill, adventures in dry curing, brine soaking, sausage making, salami making and eating pig in a massive variety of ways.
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We did a lot of firewood processing – from chopping down trees, carting wood around the croft, chopping and stacking and dealing with a load of old rotten wood we have been given from restoration work happening on the island.

It was Bonfire night with fireworks down in the village. The weather was amazingly kind to us with blue skies, dry days, stunning clear starry starry nights, coat free days.

We began digging the houseplot and although progress has been slow with various other distractions taking us from that task it is fabulous to know we have broken ground.

Things were happening elsewhere on Rum with our neighbouring Croft having a friend working on the wee cabin over there and we assisted in getting not just water but hot water to the cabin which was a momentous feeling. I do love being a pioneer!

Davies and Scarlett had an adventure with a woodcock they saved, photographed and released.

December

We did lots of house plot digging, had the Christmas Fayre and mince pie contest. We celebrated Scarlett’s twelfth birthday. Both Davies and Scarlett felled their first tree (Davies’ is our Christmas tree, Scarlett’s is the tree in the village hall).
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We had various Rum festive celebrations including nativity play. kids Christmas party, Christmas Eve mulled wine and mince pies, Christmas Day fizz with Rum folk, Boxing Day leftovers bring and share meal. We had cancelled ferries and milk shortages and needed to share parsnips around.

We end the year tucked up against the elements in our static caravan atop our muddy croft hill. The year in which I turned 40, Ady turned 50, we celebrated 21 years as a couple, 15 as Mr & Mrs Goddard, 14 as parents. A year filled with love, laughter, learning, friends, celebrations and plenty of singing and dancing. We love our lives, thanks for sharing a slice of it with us.

hny

3 thoughts on “Round up of 2014

  1. Hi Nic,

    Happy new year! As always, it’s a pleasure to read about everything you have been doing on Rum.

    In some exciting news, my partner David and I will be coming to Scotland in April 2015, and Rum is definitely on our itinerary, probably for an overnight stay. I would love to catch up with you if you’re on the island at the time — we haven’t finalised the dates for our tour of the highlands, but I think it’s likely to be somewhere around 13-14 April.

    I remember a while back you had a fundraiser on your blog, where potential visitors to Rum could donate to your crofting dream and receive a meal/afternoon tea/etc when they came to the island. Is this something you’re still doing? I couldn’t see it on your new site.

    Also probably of interest to you — in preparation for our trip, I was looking through an old book about the Highlands from 1936, and I found a photo of Rum and the Scuir of Eigg from that time, taken from Morar Bay. Would you like me to email you a scan of it?

    Anyway, I hope this email finds you and your family well, and hopefully in a few short months we will pay a visit to your croft!

    Best Regards,
    Beppie.

    • Hi Beppie,

      That is really exciting news – will look forward to meeting you. Thanks for the heads-up, the donate for rewards button has not made it across to the new blog, will get on it!
      Yes, would love to see the photo – you can email me at nic@isleofrum.com

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