Yesterday we had a reply from one of the potential zone three hosts we’d contacted which was cloaked as a sort of ‘we have these concerns, can you let us know what you think’ type response but I suspect was actually an excuse to rant a bit at us. Maybe they’d had a bad experience in the past with WWOOFers. Their concerns were quite how we’d earn our keep with two children in tow and how much of a liability the children would be. This is of course something we have considered and talked about between the four of us. We know of one other family who have done UK WWOOFing with children before and another family about to set off. Within the listing of hosts there is a tick box to say whether or not you welcome children by arrangement.
One of the chief reasons we have got the campervan is because we know putting up a family of four is a big ask, in places where they are able to host us in the house that is great but often we will be sleeping in the van so all we really need is access to a bathroom, water and electric if possible (minimal use required, just charging phone / laptop / batteries) and food. The children will of course need supervising but that will be done by us, we appreciate it may limit the tasks Ady and I are able to complete if we need to have a child alongside us but they are not toddlers, or unused to that environment.
I did respond to the email and have since had a reply back to say they can’t host us, which is probably just as well as I think we’d all been put off them anyway but it was such a contrast to the usual replies we’ve had from potential hosts. Reading around the WWOOF forum I have seen talk of hosts who do not adhere to the ethos of WWOOF and are out to get cheap labour for commercial operations. I had thought we would avoid any such places by virtue of not looking an attractive option but I suspect this was one such place where we simply wouldn’t be able to work enough hours per day to pay for the couple of quid it would take to feed us. I know you can feed four people easily for a tenner a day which is pretty cheap for the work of two adults…
Fortunately I did get two, possibly three yes replies from Zone three (the possible yes is that they can’t do the dates we were asking about but may be able to do others so I have emailed them some po. ssible other dates). Plus I am less worried about filling that final zone right now as we are still 6 months plus away from it so know a lot can change between now and then and any booked hosts will be provisional really. We are renewing our WWOOF membership and getting a paper copy of the directory too so will have phone numbers of hosts we can ring along the way to make arrangements as we go.
The second wibble is regarding Willow. I chased the mechanic today and he has had an initial look at her and gave me a long long list of things wrong with her. We talked it back down to a way shorter list needing to be done to get the MOT done (which actually doesn’t run out til May anyway but we wanted to have it done before we go so we don’t need to think about it during the year). He agreed that things like a minor oil leak can probably be dealt with by carrying oil and checking it regularly. There is clearly a balance between ensuring it is roadworthy, safe and reliable enough to get us round and chucking all our available funds at it. I think we’ll go for bare minimum, good breakdown cover and learning as we go, hopefully from some hosts who will be mechanically minded anyway.
Ady will fret about this, poor Dragon had a nightmare last night that we’d gone to the host I mentioned earlier and they’d been really mean to us making us sleep on beds made of mud and eat cat fur ridden meals. Fortunately between the four of us we pretty much strike a balance of the crazy risk taker with a live for today attitude and an airy ‘everything’ll be okay’ view of the future, a sunny natured ‘isn’t life BRILLIANT?!’ optimist, an awake at night fretting over things which probably will never even happen worrier and a cautious, ‘it’s all in the details’ thinker. I think between the four of us we manage to laugh in the face of adversity while still having a healthy respect for the chance of the whole thing crashing round our ears!
Off to research breakdown cover…