It is with a sort of melancholy that I read an email from a friend today who has returned from a travelling adventure abroad and is now setting up home again in England. But the same sense of yearning fills me when I read the blog of another friend who is the throes of planning their travelling adventure for next year. I question whether a wanderer ever really settles or remains forever a wanderer at heart?
By the same token as I embark on the relatively small task of planning a two night stay back on the mainland to attend to medical matters for child and dog, larder restocking and possible reintegration to the masses along with purchases of essentials such as underwear, charity shop rummaging and clothes we can try on before we buy them I am rather daunted at the prospect of leaving the island. The expense, the return to the rat race and schedules and clock watching, the thought of all the traffic! Maybe we’re better staying home 🙂
As I turned over a new page on our calendar last week and realised it was the fourth such page turn we’d done while here, therefore we are over the three month mark I thought I should mark the occassion with a return to getting the others to talk about how they are feeling, what we have achieved, how life has changed. This is probably a more than one post sort of topic really and indeed Ady has yet to come up with his contribtution but I can share Dragon and Star’s words along with my own summing up of what has happened in our first quarter of a year here on Rum.
Bad – The static move. I didn’t like it, it was too much stress for everyone. Just not very nice.
Good – Everything! I love having animals and experiencing all the different weathers and being part of the community.
Learnt – Loads from Mike (Ranger), lots about biodiversity and loads about different plants and animals like lungwort, maidenshair spleen wort. Learnt about red deer on Rum and bookbinding with Claire.
Bad – The static move was the only bad thing. It was horrible moving it with Daddy stressing.
Good – getting animals, especially the geese arriving.
Learnt – Loads on Rum. Jewellry making with Mumma for craft fayres to make money. Lots from Mike about nature, stuff from Claire about bookbinding and doing Teashop, doing shop stuff with Jinty, learning about Craft Shop with Fliss (can you tell she is spending lots of time with different adults?!)
I’ll post up Ady’s and mine in another blog soon.
I’ve been revisiting our original business plan, written way back last December at the end of our WWOOFing adventure on the basis of a 3 hour trip to Rum. At the time it felt like a useful exercise in spilling out all our hopes and dreams and trying to fit them into neat little boxes. To be honest it still feels rather like that and on a tough day it can feel like the whole mountain is all still infront of us to climb with no clear path and no suitable footwear or kendal mintcake in our rucksacks. We don’t have many tough days though really and frankly the view of that mountain is so breathtaking we console ourselves with it’s beauty instead!
But a quick round up of what we have already achieved in those three short months won’t go amiss…
Livestock. We have a cockerel (Dave), ten hens (I’ve lost track of the names but I know they include Mrs Nesbitt, Mumma, Chip, Pecky and Ginger) – one of whom is currently sitting on three eggs due to hatch this weekend, five ducks (again I’ve lost track of names), a goose and a gander – Margo and Jerry. We have our pigs Tom and Barbara (who have definitely been practising at being a breeding pair so maybe wee piglets will be with us before too long) and of course Bonnie the dog who is more pet than livestock.
This was all challenging, involving sourcing the livestock, getting it here (both here to Rum as in on the ferry etc. plus getting it from the ferry to the croft, specifically for Tom and Barbara who could not be carried along the rough track in boxes like the birds were). It also involved putting up fencing, creating houses / shelter, making feeders, digging ponds / wallow pits and coping with the inevitable mud that so many pairs of tiny feet create in wet weather.
Getting our home onto the croft. Again those six words can never quite sum up what a challenge that was. But look, here it is 🙂
Our house, on our hill, on our land. With the most amazing, breathtaking views in all directions. We watch Hallival disappear and reappear in cloud, sunshine and mists, we watch eagles soar over the peaks, gaze at stars as they twinkle in the inky black skies we are getting now the nights are drawing in and we have no light pollution, the moon wax and wane it’s way through it’s cycles, the sun climb high into the sky and then create shadows and gorgeous pink and orange skies as it sets away behind distant peaks. Our home with real beds, sofas, table and chairs, a shower, running water, our stuff around us once more.
We have made a start on living off grid, partly relying on modern technology – we now have internet, superfast speeds, mobile phone signal and I have just ordered a landline number using the broadband line. We have power in the shape of our petrol generator for running my Kenwood mixer for cake making, giving things a boost and seeing us through the darker days of winter. But we also have renewable, sustainable, greener energy by way of two large solar panels and inverters. We’re using 12 volt batteries which I know are not a green solution really but enable us to harness and store the free energy the sun chucks at us. We have the pigs electric fence wired up with a solar panel trickle charging it.
We have a rainwater harvesting set up on order and in progress and plans for various other water solutions in hand. We have a compost loo waiting to be ordered and a whole loads of exciting plans for projects including earth oven, solar cooker, solar showers and more.
We have become part of the community – we know who everyone is and they all know us too. We have had people round for coffee, beers, dinner. We have accepted favours and done them in return. We have helped and been helped. We are involved in weekly events such as the Market Day selling produce, we have crafts for sale, cakes for sale, eggs for sale. We are involved in community projects such as venison processing, events organising, community polytunnel. We have joined in with various community events including Beach cleans, ranger events, Jubilee celebrations, Midgefest, danced at ceilidhs and are part of in jokes and catchphrases. We have made friends, put down roots and feel properly involved in what is happening here with the community.
If I try and quantify the things I feel a bit sad about leaving behind when we stopped travelling it is adventure, possibility, new sights, sounds and experiences. When I round up our first three months and what a rollercoaster ride it has been so far and promises to continue being then I realise that 8 acres of our own and 8 miles across in each direction as an island is probably more than enough to wander for the time being.