A phrase which for some reason always makes me think of Coronation Street even though I’ve not watched it for years and years.
We have finished our planned nine months of WWOOFing. We have seen Spring, Summer, Autumn and the beginning of winter since we set off from home, travelled over 5000 miles, visited England, Wales and Scotland, on motorways, single track lanes, busses, recovery trucks, tractors, canoes, speedboats, ferries. We’ve been through almost every county and slept in campervans, caravans, tents, strawbale houses, yurts, regular houses, holiday cottages, friends houses, beds, sofas, camping mats, futons, bunk beds, floors. We’ve had mains electric, no electric, solar, wind and water power. We’ve pooed in compost toilets, flushing toilets, buried it in the ground. We’ve bathed in showers, baths, public toilets, lochs, swimming pools, campsites, springs and holy water, using boiled rainwater. We have cooked over open fires, on camping gas, woodburners. We’ve watched births and deaths, been to slaughterhouses and caught and killed, we’ve gutted, butchered, packed and processed. We have sown, weeded, picked, dug and harvested. We’ve pickled, bottled, peeled and preserved. We’ve been covered in sheeps milk, cows milk, pig poo, chicken blood, mud, mud and more mud. We have mowed and strimmed and chopped and dug, driven tractors and vans and pickups and cars, sold at markets, bought at auctions, bartered and swapped. We have seen sunsets and sunrise, moonlit nights and star spangled skies. We have seen sun and rain, wind and snow, fog and ice and many, many rainbows. We’ve had suntans and freckles and freezing cold toes. We have seen mountains and seas, gorges and valleys, lochs and rivers and caves. We have seen deer, otters, eagles, dolphins, kingfishers, sloworms, birds, beetles and butterflies, handled pigs, cows, sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, dogs, cats. We have met so, so many people. People who inspired us, amazed us, taught us, made us laugh, made us cry, annoyed us, enchanted us, were just like us, were nothing like us, people who challenged us, people who delighted us.
It has truly been the most amazing, fantastic, fulfilling, challenging, inspiring, exciting, educational journey and adventure. It has been everything we dreamed it might be and so, so much more. We left with dreams and hopes and wishes and they have all come true and pushed us to reach even further to grab even more. We left everything behind to look for something more, something different and oh how we have found it. We have spent time together this year, real quality time. Hours and hours of sitting, talking, walking, playing games together, reading stories, listening to music, learning together, sharing new experiences together and learning so much about each other. You simply can’t live in such a small space together for such a long time without getting to know each other inside out, understanding what makes each other tick, where our strengths lie and what are our failings.
We have learnt so much this year about living off the land. We now know the answers as to whether it is possible to be self sufficient and if so, how? We know what the important things are to consider when looking at land, what crops are worth growing, which animals are worth keeping. We have practical skills such as fencing, building, growing. We have vastly extended our knowledge base on animal keeping, harvesting, tending to livestock and crops. We have learnt about preserving and processing, selling and storing. We know about good ideas for revenue streams and things not to bother trying. We have learnt so much about alternative building methods, green energy, off grid living, low impact lifestyles. We know where we stand on ethical and moral dilemmas, what our take is on what is important and what doesn’t actually matter. We have a line in the sand, a starting point, a place to stand at and shout ‘Go!’
We know the sort of people we do and don’t want in our lives, we know where we want to settle and what we are looking for from a home. We know our goals, our ideals and our limits. We have our wish list, our priorities and our planned next moves. The questions we started this adventure with are now answered.
But that’s all for part two. For now, let’s enjoy the break at the end of part one.