We're at a different stage now -one where their passions and interests are more focused and have definite direction. It's the chief reason why we're here on Rum really - because we decided it ticked enough of the kids' boxes to make up for the loss of some of the potential opportunities. We decided that forging close relationships within a community was more important than passing contact with a larger group of people. That having eight acres of his own and eight miles across of island to explore and adventure in was better than forest school and bushcraft camping experiences for Dragon. That living on a National Nature Reserve, home to the longest running large mammal research project and location of countless wildlife documentaries made up for keeper for the day zoo experiences and monthly trips to the events at the local RSPB reserve for Star.
In the last week we've been out on the Sheerwater trip with the Community Ranger - identifying birds and watching out for mammals.
On Sunday we took part in the Big Lunch - a nationwide event getting neighbours and communities to eat lunch together all across the UK. We had a great turn out of residents, bringing food to the table to share. There was bread, jam and cakes from us, pasta salad, soup, rice, pies, cheeses and more from other islanders and the school had been learning about healthy eating and made bread to bring and share too. We had kids activities and bunting. And balloons!
Today the Reserve Officer showed me an eagle pellet - it was enormous! I took a photo to show Star who massively impressed me by taking one look at it and proclaiming it 'an owl pellet' then amending it to 'eagle pellet'. To the casual observer it looked more like a cat's toy mouse but Star knows her stuff! We're hoping to do some bat surveying in the coming months here on the island and participate in a seal pup count later in the year too.
There are the experiences we traveled far and wide, paid lots of money for and were so desperate to provide for our children. Now the tourist season proper is upon us we are once again answering the same old questions - three times today I was asked how many children are in the school here and all three times I was told what a wonderful place this must be to raise children. Rum is not without it's faults and downsides. Our current lifestyle is not without challenges and pitfalls but it is certainly an amazing place to grow up, surrounded by people, wildlife and opportunities way beyond even what we could have hoped for.