Two weeks tomorrow since we landed, one week yesterday since the static arrived, two weeks today since we collected Bonnie. When I look at the numbers like that I realise just how new and shiny it all still is.
So what have we been up to? We've been:
- Making friends. Learning names and faces, working out where people live, what they do. We've been round to visit a few people at their homes and had our first guest round for dinner too.
- Getting to know the island. This is something I suspect we'll never fully manage -the island is over 40 square miles, much of it mountainous. It has a rich history both in terms of human habitation (it has some of the earliest proof of human settlers in Scotland, loads of Norse / Viking history, was a large crofting area going way back and then home to an eccentric millionaire before becomming a national nature reserve and is now in the process of a handover to a community owned area.), geological interest and diverse and fascinating wildlife and nature (red deer, sea eagles, manx shearwaters, otters, red throated divers not to mention the marine life sighted just off the coast). There is woodland, scrub, rivers and waterfalls, lochs and more and it all changes with the seasons, the weather and the time of day. The stars are amazing with so little light pollution, the clouds loom in interesting shapes over the peaks and the beaches go from tropical blue to angry grey. We've made a great start though with an evening talk, a guided ranger walk to look at flowers, a wildlife spotting boat trip, a beach clean up and plenty of rambles around the village so far.
- Making a start on getting our home where it needs to be. The static arrived safely last week and is well over half the way from the pier to the croft. Unfortunately the second half will be challenging and tricky. We have the help of one of the islanders in planning and plotting to get it there though and remain hopeful that it will be days rather than weeks rather than months before we are going 'home' to a place that is actually on our land. Talking of which we do actually now have official notification of the croft being ours. A paperwork hold-up rather than any particular issue with us meant we have been here with fingers still crossed rather than brows wiped with relief. That is at least all now signed and sealed.
- Making plans for the croft. We have chickens and ducks arriving this weekend, pigs in the next couple of weeks and geese following in a couple of months. Now we have the tenancy sorted we are able to start working the croft. First plan is to cut back some of the reeds to create some obvious areas for things: animals, crops etc. We are trying to find ways of building animal housing with reclaimed / recycled materials where possible, obviously we are rather lacking such resources just yet but have been reading our John Seymour and are all inspired by plans using willow and grain sacks - photos to follow (or an admission of defeat and pictures of fancy chicken housing purchased online instead!). We have taken a plot in the community polytunnel and will be starting to cobble together plans for the layout of the croft soon.
- Enjoying the amazing weather! While the rest of the UK, particularly the south coast is making a mockery of the 'drout' status we have been wearing t shirts, getting freckles on our noses and generally basking in a gorgeous spring with blue skies, sunny days and fluffy white clouds.
Definitely more to say - I want to show you around our static with some photos, talk about our plans for livestock and more but for now I'll leave you with some photos of our first couple of weeks on Rum.
|looking out over Loch Scresort|
|the static arrives|
|our new home, palatial to us but no castle!|
|sending postcards to friends|
|sitting in the river hide the kids built - with Bonnie the dog|
|goose nest inspection|
|learning all the time - know your heathers!|