Tuesday, 1 January 2013

365 day assignment

Here is the assignment. Quite simple really. It is to write in this blog once a day for the whole of 2013. The plan is to write about what it is to be a mum of 4 children on a Scottish island. I have written the odd article about this in the past and the response has always been the same. Readers want to know what it is really like to live all year round on an island just off the west coast of Scotland. I can understand why this would be important as I remember discussing just that with my husband as we tried to make the decision whether or not to take the plunge and move to a world that is somewhat removed from a way of life we knew. The new year for me is all about setting new challenges that will test me and this is clearly one of them. It will be fine when I want to write but less fine when I do not and here lies the challenge. On a personal level I hope to be able to look back at the end of the year and really see my life from a unique perspective. I think that will be fascinating. So what did day 1 of the challenge offer up? A tradition for our family is to take down the christmas decorations on this day. I can hear you all screaming how this is bad luck but I really can't take all that stuff into a new year. I like a fresh, clean and tidy start. I am not sure how long that lasts but it is a useful intention and works for us. It is colder today and wet. We live on the isle of Arran which is kind of left of glasgow! It is a beautiful island that we call home. There are 6 of us in our family and we all rumble along quite nicely. Our eldest, Molly, is at university and will return there on Saturday but we also have 3 growing boys who keep us pretty busy. I am sure that, as this blog develops, I will focus quite a bit on how we live as a family. I think it is one thing for adults to move somewhere like this but one of the common questions asked of us is 'what is it like for the children?' I am sure this will be answered over time. Clearly linked to the decorations being cleared away was the deeply felt need to clean the chimney! So I sent my long suffering husband up on the roof balancing in typically high winds while the cat and I watched all the soot tumble down behind the plastic screen. The cat, Minnie, looked at me as if to say 'what is going on behind that screen?' She was clearly amused by it all. She is not our cat, she belongs to our neighbours but she, and her kitten, seem to have adopted us. I feel that cats adopt people rather than the other way round and I have always liked that about them. Any day now we have a rescue kitten joining our little clan so that will keep is all busy. So chimney cleaned and decorations away my husband, Pete, and I take our 3 dogs down the beach. Yes, more animals! At 3.30pm the light is starting to fade so speed is of the essence. There, we have one important consideration about whether to live here or not. The days are very short in the winter which, for me, is not a problem in the least. Each season really does bring its own joy. For me winter is all about the open fire and candles and a chance to catch up on reading. The longer days are about completely different things and there lies the contrast; a contrast I adore. The only other thing of note for the day is a massive plate of chicken salad sandwiches made for my teenage son and his mates who are recovering in the holiday cottage after the new year bash at the local village hall. Nice to see him emerge just after lunch intact. Always a relief! So one blog entry down 364 to go. Piece of cake! Enjoy 2013!