I’ve spent a LOT of time sitting in the passenger seat of a car this last 10 days. Those who know me will know that being a passenger is not something I adapt well to….
An epic journey that took us from our home here on Rum by ferry, 1800 miles of car driving, through Scotland and large chunks of England, too many counties to count, six different beds over nine nights from the north west of the UK to the south west via the south east.
We had brief time with all of our precious family in Manchester and Sussex, held close those we love and miss, met new relatives and laughed and cried with those no longer in our lives as often as we may wish.
We sat again in traffic jams, listened to commercial radio, watched TV, slept in rooms too hot to sleep in, looked our at views from windows that told very different stories to the views we see from our home up on the hill.
A snapshot moment I will remember for a very long time was Scarlett piping up from the back seat hours after we’d left Rum when we were about 20 miles away from Glasgow.
“What time is it?”
“Nearly 730pm. Why?”
“Why is it getting light over there then?”
Our children, born and raised within spitting distance of Brighton and Manchester and having spent the first decade of their lives living in the suburbs of sprawling metropolises are now so used to inky black night skies and full on solar system displays of clear planetarium quality that the light pollution of Glasgow had Scarlett assuming it must be dawn.
Somewhere in our moving and transporting of belongings we have all lost some items which were precious to us. We were sure they were at my parents but a trawl through the small amount of boxes we now have left there had us all without something. For Davies and Scarlett it was toys which held memories and meaning to them. Scarlett cried as though her heart was broken when she realised that those cuddly toys were never going to be cuddled by her again. Ady (a man who does not cry. Ever) looked ever so forlorn as he realised a box of comics which had traveled with him through various childhood homes was no longer safe in the loft of our house as he had assumed. I struggled to come to terms with the knowledge that the shoes I wore to marry Ady in will never be worn again. Going back does not mean going home.
When we arrived back on Rum on Thursday, travel weary, slightly shell shocked from such rapid transition from Mainland Land to here I was upset to discover my clock, my most precious material possession which Ady gave me on my 21st birthday so celebrated my birthday last week with me as the 19th anniversary of belonging to me, had been on our bed to keep it safe if the winds were high and the caravan walls flexed (which they had done) was directly under the patch of ceiling which leaks in heavy rain (which it had done) and the top of the face between the 11 and the 1 now has brown water damage. It should dry out and the stain should fade but it will be forever marked. I shed a tear or two, we hung it back on the wall and I decided that it is not damaged at all, it merely bears a badge to show the journey it’s been on. Just as I told Davies and Scarlett when they were tiny that each individual freckle on their nose was a sign of where the sun had kissed them, as I view the stretch marks on my tummy as evidence I carry with me everywhere of the privilege, honor and adventure that is motherhood. Just as Scarlett proudly tells the tale of the cat who scratched her when she was 3 when she shows the mark above one eyebrow, the swan who bit her when she was 4 as she points to the scar on the back of one knee and the time she tripped over the wall of the croft and Davies kept her calm when she pulls up a trouser leg to show the pink puckered dent on her shin. Davies wears a full wrist full of arm bands he began collecting aged 5 to show places he has visited, friends who have gifted him wristbands and bracelets. One day that clock will hang upon a different wall and I will point to that faded yellowing mark between the 11 and the 1 and tell someone, maybe a grandchild, about how it once rested on a bed because the walls shook in the wind and so we put it somewhere safe when we went away only to realise there was nowhere safe.
I meant to come and write about other aspects of our trip. To thank the people who tended our animals and kept an eye on our croft. To the friends on Rum who met us from the boat with ‘welcome home’ and helped us load up our car. I wanted to speak about the wonderful feeling of being on the ferry back with six other Rum residents, making a total of 10 of us, a quarter of the island population on that ferry. I planned to write about the amazing weekend Ady and I had at the Eden Project and I wanted to capture it before it starts to leave my mind. I was inspired by the song which is referenced in the title and has been a soundtrack to our lives this last month, from being danced to when we had friends visit to see in 2014, to played on the radio countless times during our epic driving around the UK, to how it was played several times at key moments during the weekend at Eden. And I will. But maybe not tonight. For tonight I am too rambling and butterfly-esque in my leaping from subject to subject to do any of that justice. So I will return soon and try and put at least some of it into words.