Living in the back of beyond aka the “Gumadulas”


The “Gumadulas” – with the G pronounced with the guttural Afrikaans G. (Not found in any dictionary). And this is where I am now living – far from the birthplace of Afrikaans – which accordingly to my Scottish father,  is not a language but a dialect.  Being of Gaelic descent – his perception of what a language is, is questionable.  But this is not about my dad – this is about the pros and cons of living in the back of beyond.

The closest ‘decent’ shop is an hour drive away, which can be challenging when living day to day, so careful planning is required, but pennies are then saved as there are less opportunities to spend.  But enter amazon, which after sending to your shopping basket, delivery is just one click to payment and two days away.

As a newcomer to the area you soon find out there are so many people in the area who offer all services required, from hairdressers, delivery of fresh vegetables, free range eggs – the Scots are a versatile bunch.

Politics and world wide drama – somehow this is all on the periphery. With the worldwide panic about the coronavirus – we are aware of the possible repercussions and are adhering to the NHS guidelines – and here maybe I am being that eternal ostrich with my head in the sand and erring on the side of optimism – but don’t think it will affect us out here in the back of beyond – ditto terrorism and crime.

Entertainment – here it is slightly harder and one has to make your own as there are not an abundance of restaurants and coffee shops to pop into for a quick bite, no movie houses or theatres, but again if you keep your ear to the ground, there are music evenings planned in surrounding villages and who needs a movie house when you can buy the latest movie on DVD, delivered within 2 days, on line.

This helps you slow down and appreciate life as there is no instant gratification.  Cell phone signal and wifi is erratic – so bearing just this one point in mind – adds 100 pro points to the quality of life in the Gumadulas.  It gives you time – and with the old age adage – to smell the roses. There is a peace in living out here, with none of the fast paced rat race.  I have just been given a book to read called “The Kerracher Man” of a family who moved to the West Highlands to a croft, accessible either by boat or 1.5 mile foot path. Now they are really in the Gumadulas.

On moving here, I know family and friends, were concerned about how I would adjust to the remoteness and isolation.  There is no isolation, you have a choice to join in or not – the community spirit is strong. The harshness of the climate draws people together in a way I have not seen elsewhere. I will get my urban chaos fix when I visit loved ones, and with social media the world is really a very small place, but the Gumadulas will always be calling.


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