Shifting Tides

Life has moved on and into new spaces since I last blogged.  I took a break from blogging as I was so poorly in the first six months of the year I had nothing interesting to share.  However, the second six months are shaping up much better and I can feel my spirit being restored once more.

seaThe island remains my favourite space in the world and daily life ebbs and flows with the tide that never fails.  The summer was not that sunny but we have shifted into autumn and the colours are glorious.  The nights are now cold with a wee nod to winter approaching.

The family have all been on the island most of the year with Molly returning from university in May to complete her thesis here on seabirds.  Harry left home about the same time and now shares a house with two friends in the village.  George and Max remain as permanent residents for now, although George is off to university in the highlands next September.  Molly leaves the island this week for a long term placement with the RSPB and finds herself back in Lincolnshire where she did her first degree.  She has just been awarded her Masters degree with a commendation so we are all very proud.

Max has finished home school so that is all of them through and he has begun his qualifications.  Currently taking Maths and Digital Photography with English about to start soon as well.   He has taken really well to distance learning and it is much less pressure on us parents.  It was a long and demanding route educating all four children but we have so many wonderful memories and they have all flourished so I will never regret it,  The process gave us all so much and we are thrilled that we had the courage to take it on despite the views of others around us.

Earlier this year I formed a creative partnership with a fellow crafter and dear friend and we invented Crafts & Company.  From day one we have been incredibly busy and we have been surprised at just how well it has gone.  There are two strands to the business.  The first is the designing and making of craft kits, packs and experience boxes that we sold in the summer markets are now online HERE.  The second strand is a series of workshops in partnership with charities.  Using craft as a way of raising much needed funds for charities has proved very popular.  Coral and I work really well together and I know it is a partnership that will last a long time.  We have much planned for 2017…


So life has that balance of family and work that makes each day fly by packed full of moments to treasure.  Our children are spreading their wings and soon four at home will become one and it is quite a shift for us.  It is however, a shift we are ready for.  Pete and I have a brand new tent and next year we intend to go exploring to discover the west coast of Scotland and some of the islands.

There is much to look forward to…..xx



25 years – a lifetime of knowing

wedding photoOn the way to church my dad stopped me and asked me if I was sure?  Was I sure that I wanted to marry Pete?  Dad wasn’t being critical because it is something he did out of duty I think.  But I was sure and I have always been sure and now 25 years of knowing have galloped by.  It has not always been easy and we have had some difficult times.  We lost our first baby on Christmas day 18 months after we were married and it broke us.  Actually, it broke me, Pete was much stronger and helped put me back together.  We went on to have four wonderful children but then lost our last one as well.  Life can be cruel.

Our time together has very much defined by the children as they are our world.  We spend each and every day talking about them and feel really connected to them.  When we decided to home educated it was not a common pathway and we stood firm against criticism, some of it from our own family.  We mapped a pathway for our wee family that has taken us into some amazing places.  We learned to learn together and we played together as well.  It is, however, the laughter that stays with us the most.  We definitely  know how to laugh in our family.

At 38 I got ill and I have had bouts of poor health ever since with no cure on the horizon.  It is Pete and the children that make this bearable and I owe them all a great deal.  We just work as a family and it is not much more complicated as that.  I am sure Pete would join me in dedicating our 25th wedding anniversary to our lovely, lovely children.  The four of you make us complete although I think we all know that there will always be six of you…….


Disconnected Times became Reconnected Times

It has been an age since I last blogged and for a regular blogger that has been disconnecting.  I love the community that is ‘Scottish island mum’ and we have shared much together over the years but this time I instinctively knew this was a journey I had to take by myself.  So, in February of this year I stepped off everything and stayed off for some months.  If I am honest I am not that keen to step back on, at least to some of my old life.  There was a trigger, of course but that matters not.  What matters is that I stepped off completely from everything except my family commitments and, in that time, I learnt more than I have ever learnt.  I learnt about myself but I also learnt about people in my life and the wider world generally.  I would recommend it.

My over-riding conclusion is that I have lost my way and, more worryingly, so has much of the society I inhabit.  We all measure things using artificial measures such as money, power and status.  Not only do we measure these but we clean onto them as if they were the perpetual comfort blanket.  Money has never impressed me and I gave up status and power when I left my job as an academic over 13 years ago.  Nevertheless, I get sucked into the norm that is controlled by these measures and that is disappointing.  I am disappointed in myself.

Pete and I celebrate 25 years married this month and the children are buying us a tent.  Goodness me, buckle up for the ride!  I want to inhabit new spaces for fleeting visits and I want to do it as simply as possible so we are going to give wild camping a go.  The west coast of Scotland fascinates me and so as the rest of our time unfolds we will be off in my new (to me) little French car to explore.  Pete seems pleased at the plans but we shall see how we both feel when washing is in the icy cold sea!

I can just glimpse a time without the children living with us and opportunities to escape for a reasonable length of time but for now it will be odd nights away here and there as our lives remain too full to allow for anything else.  Our children are our lives and we wouldn’t have it any other way.  They are beginning to fledge and we need to be around to support them in this but we will soon be down to just the two of us……I am so not looking forward to this stage so my camping idea is a wee antidote.  We shall see.

borageThe period of disconnection has allowed sleep to return and a greater sense of wellbeing but I am not stepping back into my old life in its entirety.  I don’t want some of it back.  I have learnt that I like my own company – a lot!  I have a house that is demanding constant attention and a new garden that I am teaching to be productive and not just for humans.  I have a new crafting partner who is a very dear friend and I am excited about our shared creativity and I have a cat that I adore.   Pete has a new job in the village that he loves so I don’t need to earn the money I once did and the children all have savings!  Home school is done after 13 years and it is just Max working his way through his distance learning qualifications.

The worst thing about my period of disconnection was that I couldn’t sew.  My hands had become so painful but I am now on a new treatment that is working really well.  So my wee world is complete again.  It is also full and I am not adding anything else to it.

I do hope the community that is Scottish island mum is out there and enjoying their own lives.  Do drop me a message and let me know how it is going with you.