It’s ten days since we were sitting on the ferry heading away from Rum. We had our cat, our dog, as many possessions as we could pack in and a whole load of hopes, wishes, frets and crossed fingers in the car on the car deck.
Ten days later we’re back in the caravan on Rum again for a few nights. On the day we left 1000 trees arrived for us, so we’re back to plant those, to check on our livestock and to collect a few more belongings.
It’s been a busy week and a half. We’ve got no mobile phone signal at the house and our landline and internet is not due to be up and running until next week so we are ironically more cut off there than we have been here at the moment. So we’ve been driving or walking out each day to get signal to check emails and messages, make contact with family and friends, keep on top of all of the arrangements that come with a house move, ensure Davies does not fall behind with his studying, stay in touch with Rum to make sure everything is OK here and start the process of setting up our new lives too.
Most of this has been done sitting in a car park about 5 miles from our house. We are almost directly between two villages, the larger of the two has two shops, a post office, fuel, a couple of craft shops, cafe, hotels, B&Bs, tourist office, school, library and community centre. By mainland standards we are still pretty remote, by Rum standards this is a sprawling metropolis! The car park is in this larger village and we can pick up 4G mobile phone signal which allows us to hook up the laptop and use our car as a sort of mobile office / classroom.
Ady and Scarlett had already found work and started earning. They have a couple of cleaning jobs which is perfect. They both enjoy the work, work well together and will be looking for more of the same. Ady has registered with an online agency for more work along those lines and is hoping he can pick up enough part time hours locally to bring in the fairly modest amount we need to cover our monthly bills.
Davies has been studying lots, his course is nearly 3/4 of the way through this first module and he has had his fourth assessment back with another very high grade and good, useful feedback from his tutor. He only has one more assessment left before his final end of year assessment and is enjoying the current block of study very much. He will then have the whole summer off studying and has various plans for things he wants to do with his time.
I have been using the limited online time I’ve had so far to build up a list of possible contacts and places to sell my crafts and jams. I’ve got a list of the various craft fayres in the area and the dates that they run with a plan to visit all of them over the coming few weeks as they start up to get a feel for the pricing, the range of items and see what is selling and how people set up their tables, make some contacts and then set about attending them myself. I’ve also got a list of various places that may be interested in selling my items and will be taking a selection of what I make and do around with me over the next few weeks to see if there is any interest and if so on what terms. I also have an eye on any part time work that might be suitable for me too.
We have joined the library, met some of the neighbours, joined some of the local online groups and explored the very local area on foot and by car. We’ve been into Fort William a couple of times. FW has been our nearest town here on Rum for the last seven years and is already where we visit the dentist, optician, hospital, our nearest supermarkets and so on so is somewhere we already know well. It’s just that on Rum it is a ferry trip *and* an hour’s drive away, now Fort William is just an hour’s drive! We have a choice of three routes to town, two by road and one by road and a very short ferry trip. We have done all three and will be investing in a book of ferry tickets as that will save about 20 miles of driving each way. We will plan to make the trip to town every ten days or so once we are settled.
I’m still looking for a daily hill, although the walk up and down the track from our house to the road is nearly a mile and is fairly steep so for now walking down to put rubbish and recycling in the bins and check for post will keep me going!
It’s very early days but we’ve settled in very quickly and it feels like we can certainly build the next stage of our lives here.