First thoughts (straight from the notebook)
I reached the farm last night! Everyone was so lovely. My room is huge and is upstairs with the other workawayers. Next door is Jason (Australia), across the hall is Cathrine (Denmark) and next door to her is Fabian (Germany) and downstairs is José (Spain). The hosts are Sophie and Filip who are from the Netherlands and Portugal respectively. I’m lying with the windows open and listening to the birdsong, a song long forgotten during my days in the city.
That was my first day of work. I woke up and found the toilet flooded so I to it and mopped that shit up (not literally, it was just water). We all had breakfast then Fabian showed me how the sheep feeding works and I learned the German word for wheelbarrow is schubkarre. We changed the water in which the olives are soaking (which smell amazing).
Following this, José, Cathrine, Jason, and I went with Sophie’s mum, Mariam to pick rosehips (hagebutten). The other three were dropped off at one bush and then Mariam and I made our way to another bush which grew down from a big bank by the road. We clipped until we could reach no more then we climbed the bank and clipped some more. There I was in my big wax jacket, shorts and some hedge-clippers in the pouring rain cutting down these red berries like they were going out of fashion.
When we were done, we threw the branches in the boot and then picked up the others and then went and picked some figs from a tree nearby. It was in someone’s garden and apparently they were sick of free food landing on their patio. Following this, we got back to the house and had to clip each berry from the branches we’d cut.
We were clipping away and chatting when I saw a tall curly-haired man walking across the drive. He came into the greenhouse and asked, ‘are you guys workawayers?’ His name was Daniel (New Zealand) and he’d just hitchhiked from the coast. Later he revealed he’d slept in an aquaduct the night before. Then I though back to the game I’d played while waiting to be picked up, and considered myself very lucky.
When we were done cutting the berries off, we took them inside and started to deseed them to make jam. It’s pretty simple but when you scrape out the seeds there are lots of tiny hairs which stuck to my skin and got really itchy. Between Cathrine and I we did no more than thirty (they’re very small and fiddly) before it was time for lunch. Jason had made a delicious salad and rice. We washed up, had coffee and kept cutting rosehips as the weather didn’t let us do much else.
At six, José took me to feed the pigs. They are mad, noisy and pretty hungry which all make for a good laugh. We spent a couple more hours on the rosehips then finished up for the day. Filip made some great pasta with Roquefort and garlic. I took the guitar down for a quick singsong then hit the hay as I was knackered.