The Real Rum

Four years ago we were right in the middle of our WWOOFing adventure. It’s hard to project into your own future and see what it holds, I can’t even begin to imagine where we’ll be four years from today even if everything went totally according to plan.

We had just six months between our first setting foot on the Isle of Rum and arriving on the ferry to move here. The first month was taken up with writing an application for a croft, a business plan and working out our dreams, the second month was taken up with Christmas and New Year, the third month we were back at one of our friends made while WWOOFing, in month four we came back to Rum for our interview for the croft, were told we had been successful and went on a crofting course. Month five was taken up with frantic packing up of our old life and preparing for the move and then we were here.

During that time we did as much research on Rum as we could. We googled, read extensively, looked at youtube clips and absorbed everything we could lay our hands on about crofting, Scottish islands and what we expected our new way of life to entail. When I look back on that period now I am stunned at our courage and bravery, our hope and confidence, our capacity for optimism. It is no different to our start along the pathway of Home Education in many ways, or I guess if a baby in the womb had the ability to fully appreciate all it was taking on by being born. Life is HUGE, a bloody great rollercoaster of adventure and possibility. Probably for the best that we don’t really know what is going to happen next, because by then we are busy getting on with it.

One of the things that drew us to Scottish islands was the craic, the sense of community, of pulling together, of being there for each other. Of music and laughter and dancing and singing, of drinking and caring and shouting. We had a brief taste of that while WWOOFing, and every so often here on Rum that magic hits again. Instruments are brought out, the village hall comes to life and the ground shakes with the stomping of ceilidh dancing. This week we have had two such events – Saturday saw the return of a singer, songwriter and musician who first came to Rum just after we arrived. Last night was an impromptu ceilidh by a loads of massively talented musicians who have been coming to Rum since before we had even heard of this island. Gathering to listen to the music were residents, their families and friends, visiting tourists, students, people coming ashore from their yachts moored in the bay, our own visiting volunteer WWOOFer.

In just five days here on Rum we have: been to two events down in the hall, I have sung with a visiting performer, been flung around by friends and strangers at a ceilidh dance, done two shifts at the shop and post office, spent time dusting and hoovering at a castle, baked bread and cakes and sold out at the village hall teashop, watered and tended plants in the polytunnel, transplanted seedlings into my raised beds, weeded, netted and harvested, sold postcards and candles, talked to tourists about why my accent is not from round these parts and explained how I came to be here, debated island politics, answered emails, attended meetings, hosted a volunteer, talked to the school nurse… the list goes on. This is not intended to be a list of how busy we are, more a demonstration of the diversity of our lives here. This is Rum at it’s finest, it’s shiniest, it’s best and worst. It’s most frustrating and most rewarding. These are the weeks which remind us we are alive, engaged, present, needed, involved and valued. These are the days which we did all this for.

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