We had friends visiting this week. A friend I made online over a decade ago and have probably met in real life only five times or so but has shared early parenting, middle parenting, teen parenting, different phases in our lives, victories and challenges, celebrations and commiserations in a mostly virtual manner. Along the way that particular group of friends and I have had our real life get togethers, despite being scattered all across the world and have also met partners and children and some of us have become family friends too. It is connections like these which remind me that socialising can take so many forms and while there is little that can really beat sitting side by side on a comfy sofa with a bottle of wine and a bowl of crisps between you that does not take anything away from the card in the post, text, the reply to a thread on a forum, the like on a facebook photo, the comment on a blogpost. These too are important and bridge the gaps between real life meet ups, particularly when you are as scattered across the place as this group of friends are.
This was their second visit to Rum so we had already established a pattern last time of meeting around lunchtime, the children going off exploring, cooking dinners together and spending long evenings chatting and singing. We fell back into that this visit and it was lovely.
It’s been a crazy week – wild weather interspersed with gorgeous sunshine. Our usual large ferry broke down on Saturday, the relief boat could not get across due to the weather on Sunday, we’ve all been watching the updates on the ferry website and pondering deliveries for the shop, of post and parcels, we were waiting on petrol and cherries for our Christmas cake, contractors and islanders were waiting to get off Rum, visitors and another islander were waiting to get off. At the weekend we had one set of folk stranded here for an extra 48 hours nearly missing a flight while others were facing the opposite dilemma, able to see Rum looming large from the mainland but not able to get here. Today the ferry set out, turned back, set out again and finally arrived, along with the small boat which was doing a passenger run – just like the proverbial buses they both arrived at the same time!
We realised in talking to stranded visitors that sometime over the last 4 years since we first stepped foot on Rum, arriving in the middle of just such a ferry / poor weather period we have become used to this. We fret, in a grumbly islander manner about it but deep down we accept it, expect it and almost enjoy it a little bit I think. It’s part of the adventure of living here. The visitors to Rum at this time of year get to see something a bit more special I think, a real taste of island life and all it’s highs and lows.
In between we have also managed our usual getting on with things this week. We killed and butchered another pig, taking full advantage of a lovely morning of weather, there were plenty more of the last few brambles picked and turned into jam – I think we are at 172 jars made this year just now. I have painted half of the shed – hoping to finish the other half tomorrow and then we start the more interesting tasks of decorating it and fitting it out. We have been experimenting with the new wind turbine and while I have not committed any of it to paper / screen just yet I have been mentally composing a couple of pieces of writing.
The clocks going back have robbed us of a precious hour of daytime daylight but we’ve been striving to ensure the hours we do have fully count.