What a mess! (crass)
Last meal: Petit dejeuner of toast and butter.
Drink of choice: Bergerac red wine.
Song in my head:
Our internet was down since an electrical storm a week ago, so it’s not just that I can’t get into a habit of writing!
After Mum left, I stayed in Poitiers for two nights by myself. I caught a Eurolines bus there, en route to Portugal, which was filled with Portuguese pensioners listening and singing along to the popular Portuguese music blasting from the speakers – a fun five hours. Poitiers was pretty nice, with a large fortified section where I had some nice strolls through, but I was glad to be arriving in Saint Chamassy at my first WWOOFing property.
At the moment, I’m in the Dordogne, east of Bordeaux, on a “sheep” farm (inverted commas because they farm lots of things: apples; peaches; raspberries; a few lil goats [they are the absolute best things ever]; some bees, which I’m unfortunately not allowed near; and some grapes!) My almost-two weeks here has gone remarkably quickly, I think mostly due to how fast the individual days go by, and the people I’m sharing my time with:
CHARACTER 1: Benoît. I have never encountered someone who can talk so quickly and yet keep his mouth so closed. He reminds me of a farmer version of John Smith from Pocahontas, except more restrained and less inclined to help natives. He smokes like a chimney, seeming to have a cigarette in his mouth as much as he doesn’t, he can chuck back a hunk of cheese for dessert, and he ties his hair back like a rocker from the 70s. Has a great habit of giving me a four-second warning before leaving. He’s surprisingly sweet around Estelle sometimes – he even looks for her in the rearview mirror as we drive away. Makes me sick.
CHARACTER 2: Estelle. Swears like a sailor. Also smokes like a chimney, though where Benoît would be industrial, she would be a mere household fireplace in a cold winter. She was actually a WWOOFer too, from Belgium (the way she says ‘voiture’ is great), and I guess she fell in love and Benoît asked her to stay and she never left. All this romance, so sickening. She loves the animals and gives them all awesome names, and she is SO skinny, and strong! She’s 24 and she has gaunt cheeks but pretty eyes. She also has lots of freckles and wears different coloured socks.
CHARACTER 3: Jeremy. He is an Australian WWOOFer too, with whom I shared a room until he left a week ago. He spoke incredible French (he could understand them, for a start) and it was just nice to have someone of comparable age and accent to hang out with.
CHARACTERS 4-6: parents. Benoît’s parents live just down the road so I met his mum on the second day (she always seems cranky, and in our first conversation she said ‘you don’t understand much, do you?’ which, I admit, was the first thing that I did actually understand in the conversation, but it hurt all the same) and his dad just the other day over lunch. He didn’t say anything at all. Estelle’s dad arrived on Monday (we went into Bordeaux to meet him!) and he is really cool: he has smiley eye wrinkles; he speaks English and French but neither is his first language (must find out what is); and he has Santa’s jolliness, except skinny.
CHARACTERS 7+: pets. There are many of these. Sibelle = Estelle’s German Shepherd from Belgium. Minuit and Prudence = house cats who fight like champs (Prudence always loses). Manix and Durex = farm cats. Eschalotte = ranga pig (i.e. me). Pimpernel = two month old goat who jumps on everything and goes for crazy sprints and changes direction whilst in the air. Appolline = two week old goat who makes the cutest bleats ever. Paulo = black lamb who responds to his name and sprints to the caller, and proceeds to headbutt their legs until he gets fed from a bottle. The list continues…
It’s really quite fun here. The days are long (but go quickly – I feel like my time in France is slipping through my fingers!), the work is exhausting, the food is simple but delish, the weather is wonderful (my first week, it poured, and yesterday it was incredibly humid, but otherwise), the colours are mesmerising, and I feel like my French must be improving, since it’s such a challenge and I feel like an idiot a lot of the time.
And I’m totes becoming a farmie: my fingernails are never completely clean; my skin and clothes aren’t their original colours (due to dirt, paint, sun, animal byproducts, etc.); going out/to the markets requires a change of clothes and a facewash; and my delightful boots are being slowly destroyed.
I’ve also been reading a bit more, especially when the internet was down (it was so pathetic – everyone in the house didn’t really know what to do during that time), so I read Nick Hornsby’s High Fidelity (not to be read if you’re feeling particularly pessimistic about love/men/humanity) and now I’m back to the Count.
And with that, I am going to sit in the sun and read some more.