I can’t believe how long it has been since I last posted a blog. Nothing wrong, but sometimes life just gets in the way. There is a lot going on with the children and they, of course, remain my priority and everything else has to shift in behind them. So I am rather slotting everything in around the family which is fine in theory but when the craft markets are upon us and the art show a month a way I am left feeling slightly out of control. I think living a little close to the edge is good for my soul as it keeps me alert. I could never be accused of sleep walking through life.
The island is having a challenging time with disruptions on the ferries mainly due to strike action. This is the first summer of the lower fares and the strikes are causes chaos and, without doubt, damaging the economy on the island. While I am sympathetic with anyone who has a genuine grievance with pay and conditions I struggle when their actions affect others. The economy on the island is so fragile and I must admit to being a little cross with Cal Mac and they so need to get themselves sorted and quickly.
That said, there appears to be more people on the island so I am hoping businesses are finding a way to navigate themselves through the situation and I wish them all the very best for the season. I understand the seasonal nature of the island and the need for it to be busy during as many months of the year as possible but I do miss the empty beaches and the quietness that claims the island as autumn sets in. I tend to hibernate a little during July and August and in September I venture out again to an island that I adore.
I have been chatting to Molly’s boyfriend (who has been with us since last summer) about the uniqueness of island life. He understands the island and the island loves him for it. I have rarely seen anyone settle into island living as well as he has and, of course, it has been a joy to have him as part of our family all this time. As he starts to prepare to leave in August I can feel the strain on him. He recognises that the quietness has become part of who he is and where he feels most settled. He is returning to Lincoln to do a masters degree so the contrast will be profound. He has an open invitation to return but I am not sure that is helping. I feel his unease. I could not live on the mainland despite it being a rather large island! Island life does have its compromises but its blessings are what makes me breath in and out every day. Last night I listening to the drama of an Arran monsoon and smiled at the familiarity of it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
As the summer markets get underway in the village Thursdays become a lovely day of the week when we meet locals and visitors alike and catch up with fellow stallholders. With a completely brand new stall this year it has taken some work to get to this point but I am ready and looking forward to a fabulous summer. Only now can I concentrate on the art exhibition in August and my submissions for the SWRI show. Sewing has taken over most of my time outside supporting the children and I don’t think I saw that coming. I am taking some time out of writing in theory but less in practice. I am working as a member of a planning team for a brand new modern apprenticeship in craft and I am very excited about that. It is going to be a super qualification and open up a whole new avenue for learning for people that love to be creative.
We have reduced our commitments on the smallholding drastically and are feeling the benefit of it. It had become very pressurized and I just can’t manage much of the manual work now and Pete does not have the time. He is growing purely for us this year and has re-found the fun in it. I have created a small garden very close to the house which I can continue to develop over the coming years at a pace that is possible. We remain committed to our willow crop although have no plans to expand it at this time. It services the island community very well and I think we will stick at that for now.
The children are all in good places. Molly is also preparing the leave the island, although not until September when she will be off to Nottingham to do her masters degree in Species Recovery. Harry is about to do a trial period living in Glasgow to see if he likes it. George has just secured a part time job in a bakery on the island which is perfect. He is also training very hard in his running and still volunteering at the island farm park. He and Max are now both Youth Ambassadors for Oxfam and I could not be more proud. Max has just run his first ever online campaign and they are both busy preparing for a summer of fundraising with their own stall at the market. Rock and roll boys. Check out their blog HERE.
So my relative silence in blogland has an excellent back story and I do hope all is well with you.