wondering who we are

Updated again for 2014. I'm leaving the previous 'about us' below which makes for a really long page but a nice reverse chronology account.
The update below is from 2012, right at the start of our life here on Rum. We are all a couple of years older and very different people to who we were when we arrived on this island nearly 2 years ago. So this update is partly documenting those changes, partly just what happens when you grow a few inches, learn new things, get some new grey hairs...

I think of the four of us Ady is the one who has changed the most. For the children and I it is such a delight to have had so much time with him compared to our old lives when he was out working. Ady's practical skills have grown massively with him learning and taking on so many things he would never have dreamt of before.
Ady has a lovely relationship with the animals on the croft. He is definitely chief feeder and looker-afterer. Watching him walk along, Bonnie at his side, assortment of squawking, wing flapping birds in his wake makes me smile daily.

 A low point. No denying they happen, maybe even more frequently than they used to back in the 'old world' or maybe when they do happen they just feel all the more intense and scary. They are definitely balanced by high points but when they do come it can lay you low for a while and have you questioning your whole life.
 Friends are what keep you going living somewhere like Rum. Some might say that friends are what keeps you going no matter where you live but I suspect that is sadly not true for many people. I think instead retail therapy, sitting on the sofa infront of crap TV, eating junk food or setting yourself unrealistic personal targets might be what gets you through the bad bits. Here it genuinely is the people around you who bolster you up when you need it. Ady is a very popular member of the community and has some great friendships with other islanders.
 Ady has never been afraid to send himself up and this hasn't changed on Rum. If there is fancy dress to be worn, a fool to be made of oneself or other opportunity to have a good laugh Ady is there at the front of the queue.

A bit about us. New and updated for 2012. Our original biographies are at the bottom of this page, I'm going to leave them there if for no other reason than to remind us of where we came from!

 Ady has had an amazing adventure WWOOFing this year, really left behind the 9-5 mentality and loved having the chance to reconnect with his family. He is fitter and healthier than he's been in years. He is looking forward to keeping animals, working on the land and settling down to build a home.

Never afraid of hard work, it will be good to be digging ditches, getting muddy and putting the effort into our own land.

 Ady is very keen to learn more about butchery after a few chances to do that sort of work while we were WWOOFing. Long term it is something he would like to get some formal training in with a view to perhaps slaughtering and preparing our own meat produce from our livestock.

When not feeling mildly guilty for having dragged the other three off out of the 'normal world' and into crazy adventures Nic mostly feels fortunate for having had such an amazing adventure and getting the opportunity to live out her dreams. Very much looking forward to having a home again and getting stuck into being part of a community Nic can't wait to get baking, preserving, knitting, crocheting and other such homely stuff.

 Add to that the chance to build our own home, to our own design, meeting the needs of providing warmth and shelter along with somewhere beautiful, inkeeping with the surroundings, using low impact methods, alternative technology and permaculture principles sometimes Nic can barely sleep at night for excitement!

This boy is just desperate to explore his new island - climb trees, get his feet wet in the river, head off on adventures, collect sticks and stones, find inspiration for new drawings and stories, films and photos. 

 Dragon has a list of memories he can't wait to start building, dog by his side, penknife in his pocket, axe dangling from his belt, tent in his rucksack, sketchpad and pencils  at the ready.

Dragon thrives on the idea that there is something brand new to learn every single day, he doesn't want to waste a single minute.

Star is going to live on a National Nature Reserve. There will be white tailed sea eagles, golden eagles, manx shearwaters. There are Rum ponies, otters, red deer. She is going to have cats and a dog, chickens, ducks, pigs, goats. She probably doesn't really care about anything else to be honest.

 But as you asked she is also quite pleased to hear there will be mud, water, mountains, beaches, lochs... She rather likes the idea of adventures with Dragon, of meeting new people (many of who she understands are equally as wildlife crazy as she is, including several experts).

The introductions in italics are from the email we sent out to potential WWOOFing hosts in our introductory email way back in 2010.

The Wondering Wanderers are:

Ady currently works in retail support and merchandising of bedding plants. He has previously worked in all sorts of careers including Retail Management, game keeping, managing an indoor rollercoaster and a spot of TV presenting. Ady wants to leave the 9-5 behind, learn about rearing animals  and butchery, spend more time with his family and live a simpler life.

 Our first attempt at hatching eggs netted us four cockerels. We rehomed three of them but had a kill it, cook it, eat it lesson with one. Ady did the deed.
 Loving the owl :) Ady loves animals but has a real soft spot for the birds of prey.
 Digging a wildlife garden on our allotment. To attract frogs and toads to help control slugs and snails, along with dragonflies and other water loving creatures.

 The label says it all! Ady did a bit of guest presenting on a well known shopping channel and was also on a reality tv documentary about shopping centres.
 More about those birds...

 the loves of his life, if anyone was born to be a Daddy it was Ady. Dragon and Star are the lucky children who get to call him Daddy.

Nic (that's me!)
Nic has also worked in a  wide variety of jobs from Retail Management, Recruitment and Marketing but currently works part time at the local library whilst being at home with Dragon and Star. Nic has done some volunteer shepherding, hatched many birds, loves baking, preserving and is learning about wine and beermaking in an experimental fashion! Nic wants to learn more about beekeeping, dairy farming (including milking a cow, making cheese etc.), lambing, calving and growing fruit and vegetables. Nic can crochet, knit and sew a bit, has done some basket weaving, rag rug making and is interested in natural crafts. Nic is a qualified Waste Prevention Advisor volunteer with the local council which involved a course learning about composting, real nappies, waste collection and processing, recycling and landfill and other green issues. Nic loves the idea of off-grid living and would love to learn more about sustainable, renewable and alternative energy and building. 

 I love being outdoors, I am incredibly fickle and every single season is my favourite while it's here! I love the coldness of winter, the excitement of snow and the cosiness of being inside when the rain is lashing at the windows. I love the promise and hope that spring brings with new life in nature, buds and shoots on plants and flowers and the lengthening of the days. Summer is fab for camping, late evenings on the beach, picking strawberries and drinking pimms. Autumn is just gorgeous with all the colours of the leaves slowly releasing all that summer sunshine back out through their leaves.
 I have a real desire to keep bees, learning more about beekeeping, along with milking a cow are my top two aims for the year.
 The loves of my life too. I always thought I never wanted children but having Dragon and Star has been and continues to be the most exciting rollercoaster ride ever. I love being with them, learning from them and alongside them and seeing the world through their eyes.
 ah yes, it's probably fair to say that while I am by nature an optimist who is generally laid back and cheery I do have a rather fiesty side too...
 I share Dragon's interest in bushcraft and survival skills. Years ago, in a different life I was something of a princess who wouldn't stay anywhere unless it had an en suite bathroom. These days I love camping, roughing it and live a far more frugal existance. To the great amusement of friends I am discovering my inner hippy and have gone all green.

The only real fear I have is of dogs. I am hoping to utterly conquer that this coming year and would like to think I'll try anything once. Life is for living, not hiding behind a sofa!

Dragon (not his real name)
Dragon is ten and loves bushcraft, survival and being outside. He'd love to learn to drive a tractor and understand how it works. Dragon loves animals, particularly sheep. His other passions are film making, drawing and storytelling.
 Dragon is very creative and imaginative, he loves cinema, animation, drawing and his games consoles but he also loves being outside and learning about nature.

We live on the south coast very close to the beach and it's one of our favourite places to be. Dragon never manages to come home without wet feet!
 Dragon is a very kind, caring and sensitive boy. He is a lovely big brother and a very loyal friend. He is calm, pretty level headed and a dependable person to have around. Considering he spends most of his days in the company of Star and I he is often an oasis of calm and sanity!
 Dragon loves an adventure, a challenge and is always after new thrills and experiences. He loves a good rollercoaster, tractor ride or as a last resort driving along the motorway with all the car windows open wide!

He loves to help and along with having a go at baking, cooking and cleaning he is also a dab hand at chopping some firewood and lighting the fire.

whittling and woodcraft is one of the skills Dragon hopes to learn more about this year. He's got a knife, a book all about knots and is looking forward to mastering more bushcraft skills. I doubt he'll ever work in a job requiring a suit somehow...

Star (not her real name either)
Star is eight and loves animals. She has hatched and raised ducklings this year and is interested in breeding, rearing and keeping animals. 

 To say Star is all about the animals would do her a disservice; there is more to her than that, but love of animals is certainly a very heavy theme.

She likes them wild, domesticated, big, small, furry, slimey, cuddly, scary, feathered, scaly, mammal, reptile, amphibian, sea creatures, birds and bugs.

She's ridden ponies....
 caught eels, frogs and fish....
done a day's work as a zookeeper, visited many, many farms...

 and safaris at zoos...

 fed lambs....
 reared ducks, chickens, bantams and quails...

 rarely goes anywhere without making friends with some of the local wildlife...

 and just like her Daddy has a love for the owls.

 like the rest of us Star loves the beach, she collects pebbles, shells and

sea glass and has a spotter guide book for every environment.

 Star is known for ripped jeans, tangled hair and an uncanny knack of finding mud and puddles.

She can also be very stroppy, fiesty and knows her own mind. No idea where she might get that from...