End of week one

What an amazing week it’s been.

When we arrived here on Monday I think we were all feeling such a mix of emotions; impatience to actually begin the WWOOFing adventure, apprehension about what would be expected of us, how the hosts would be, where we would be staying and what it would be like.

We always said this first host would be our ‘baptism of fire’ – staying in a tent (in March! Our usual camping season runs from May to September), living totally off-grid, eating vegetarian food, coping with living in a community and dealing with hard physical work. Less than a month ago we were living in a house with mains gas, electric and water, TV with sky channels, working in a library and an office job driving a company car around, drinking wine or beer every day and having every modern convenience you can think of.

I think this is almost as far from that life as we could get really. It has a feel of boot camp or I’m A Celebrity about it with the compost loos, wood burners for hot water and cooking, the hill to climb countless times every day and a fair bit of being shown a pile of tools and a problem and being left to figure it out. It’s been easy this week to judge or privately think we’d do things differently but left to our own devices this weekend burners have gone out because we’ve not tended them, food has been really, really late because we underestimated cooking times and we’ve been chopping wood by torchlight because we didn’t put the preparation in during the day.

So we’re learning, all the time we’re learning. We’re learning stuff every day from the people here – just knowledge they are sharing about the woods around us – tree identification, bird calls, how the changing seasons change the environment around them. Here they live in harmony with nature, responding to the world around them rather than trying to change it, using the bounty that is already here and working with it.

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