This time two years ago I was spending hours pacing up and down the beach on Eigg pondering just which direction our lives should go next. In the background, lit against the most stunning sunset skies I’d ever seen (and believe me I’ve seen a lot, we spent a year traveling the UK and saw a lot of sunsets against a lot of backdrops) loomed Rum. At times forbidding, daunting, dark and slightly dangerous at others beautiful, inviting, calling.
We’d seen a lot of places, felt a calling in lots of different locations and were confused and unsure as to what to do next. Was the island life really right for us or were we caught up in the romance of our last WWOOF hosts, the end of our adventure and a craving for somewhere to call home?
Bonfire Night on Eigg will forever be one of my most magical memories, it was like a film. There were people laughing, joking, sharing with each other. Someone brought round mulled wine, the bonfire was built by various people from the community. After the fireworks the kids all ran in a pack, the adults played music, drank beer, chatted and there was the strongest sense of belonging, of community, of peeking in the window at something special that I think I have ever felt. We were not properly part of it but for that moment we were there and included and embraced. It was that night which made up my mind that if not on Eigg then I certainly felt this was the part of the world and the lifestyle that was calling us.
Three days later we visited Rum for the first time and the rest, to coin a phrase, is history. I know I celebrate a lot of anniversaries – the anniversary of our interview for the croft in February, the anniversary of moving to Rum in April but I think this anniversary – the week including Bonfire Night and the first time we stepped foot on Rum will be forever special as a turning point – a realisation that we had come to the end of the traveling not just because that was the end of our planned WWOOF hosts but because we had found place we were supposed to be.
This week we have talked about Hallloween parties and Firework nights of the past. Halloween parties at our home, at big hired halls, a week long youth hostel camp we hired for a Halloween camp, special events we attended at museums, RSPB reserves, theme parks, organised firework displays with hundreds of people, our annual get together with cousins in their back garden, the big firework barbecue event at the pub opposite where we used to live. We’ve remembered them all fondly and with affection. We’ve talked about costumes of the past from the expensive shop bought to the creatively home made.
We went to two Halloween parties here on Rum – one at the school complete with (educational!) games and organised activities, the other at the hall with riotous games and semi organised activities – both were a lot of fun and meant Davies and Scarlett came home with massive amounts of sugar in their bloodstreams and a sack full of sweets to keep it topped up for days to come! We’ll be going to two firework events too – the community one held on a weekend night for those who have to go to work or school the next day (and allowing the mainland school going children to attend aswell) complete with bonfire build by the crofters, lovely food from various quarters including Rum venison burgers, pumpkin soup and bonfire toffee and lots and lots of fireworks. We took along a steaming flask of mulled wine for us and hot chocolate for the kids which did a fine job of warming from within while the rain continued to drizzle. We’ll attend the ‘proper’ Guy Fawkes night one on the 5th aswell.
There may not be a lot of people living here but we don’t do bad for social opportunities!
Hopefully that might explain some of the pictures below.