Monday, 2 July 2012

Don't Mention the Midges!

Apparently it’s been the wettest June on record in the UK – except for the North West of Scotland, where it’s been remarkably dry.  Unfortunately, this has not affected the midge population.

Rather than avoid the subject of our less welcome residents, the Isle of Rum Think Tank got together and decided to embrace them and hold a festival in their honour.  So MidgeFest is born – put it in your diary for the 4th August; you have to get up early to catch the ferry (or come on the Sheerwater from Arisaig later on) but you can spend 10 hours on Rum and take part in various Rangery, crafty and fun activities.  It’s aimed at families, but everyone’s welcome!  Watch the Isle of Rum website for info.

Last week I went to Ullapool for one of the Local Development Officer get-togethers organised by our funders, Highlands & Islands Enterprise.  I value these events as I get to show off to my fellow D.O.s about how much funding I’ve drawn down recently and what excitement is going off on Rum (What? Competetive? Me?).  I also get reminded that I’m not alone in wading through treacle, and the numerous frustrations dragging me down day to day are the same ones experienced by people in community development everywhere.  People are what they are – wonderful, maddening, individual, and communities are the sum of their people parts.

One of our residents has left to return to her native New Zealand – it’s a big loss to us as she was an active volunteer as well as working for the Trust.  She was probably the best ambassador for the island we had; cheerful, chatty, friendly, and spreading the word wherever she went.  She was instrumental in making me feel welcome when I arrived, helping me move in, showing me around, and introducing me to everyone.  I will miss her a lot, and I’m sorry I didn’t spend more time with her when I could have – her departure is a timely warning against taking things (and people) for granted.

So here I am counting my blessings: I’m young(ish), healthy, I have wonderful friends here and elsewhere, I live in a most amazing place, I have a nice house and a good job – and things are moving; slowly, but definitely moving.

Yet I’m feeling a bit stale.  I’ve achieved all my personal goals.  What I’m doing at work should be enough for one person – taking forward two big building projects as well as all the small day to day stuff – but as my friend in the Scottish Parliament likes to say: if you’re not growing, you’re stagnating (he says it with an ironic face on).  I still haven’t figured out what I’m doing here or which direction I want to grow in, but the island meets several of my Requirements for a Happy Future Life, such as:
  • Off-grid living
  •  Potential for near self-sufficiency on a community scale
  •  Shiny, happy, like-minded people
Yet I’m still reluctant to commit to being here for a longer term than the length of my contract.  I still feel temporary.  What’s that about?

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