I’ve not really been anywhere or done anything fancy the last couple of months. I’ve mostly been helping out on this farm and campsite learning about farming and how to vomit in one’s own mouth whilst trying desperately to not breath in through the nasal passages. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to ignore the brain melting stench of pigs piss.
The reason for not travelling and adventuring and stuff is the cost of diesel and general cost of living. It’s the same for everyone really but when a tin of corned beef hit £3.80 that’s when I knew I had to park up for a bit. I mean when a poor man staple is too expensive for the poor man to buy, then it’s time to pull in the reigns.
The main reason for my lifestyle is that I don’t have to work so hard to survive. I have worked hard, often harder than I should have done, for most of my life. Right from about the age of 13. I had a morning paper round and on a Thursday I also delivered the local weekly paper often doing an extra round when someone else didn’t show up. I cried a few times on a Sunday morning when the papers were so big they filled two sacks. I’m not adverse to hard work having done 18 months of 100-120 hour weeks when I had a pub and restaurant for pretty much zero wages to name one thing out of my working life. I’ve been there and done it, armed forces, 14 years driving hgv’s, warehouse jobs, labouring etc and was still always skint. Right now I’m still skint but I’m happy.
So, rather than do more work than I was willing too, I decided to trade my skills and non skills for a pitch that I could use as my own. It’s working out most excellently for both the farmer and I. I’m learning shit loads about something I always took for granted too: farming.
I’ve chased escapee pigs around the campsite twice, much to the amusement of the campers. I’ve been electrocuted by the electric fence that holds them in because I was leaning over the fence when I reconnected the battery. Who knew that it would make me piss myself! I didn’t else I’d have been more careful for sure, but the farmer had a good chuckle and I was just grateful that I didn’t shit myself too. Besides, one of the pigs did a perfect score and shit on my leg anyway, negating the need for me to do it to myself.
I’ve chased foxes away from the chickens at 2am in my boxers that were not only inside out but on back to front too and with only the torch on my phone for light. I looked like some chicken fancying maniac in flip flops hopping around in the dark dead of night hooting and shooing whilst trying not to shit myself at the thought that the fox may want a piece of this.
I’ve bottle fed lambs and as someone who has (now had) a genuine phobia of sheep that was a big deal. But the farmer was away and I was entrusted with making sure the lambs didn’t starve to death whilst he was away so I kinda didn’t have a choice. I just had to ignore the evil stares and smirking grin of the mother sheeps and face my fears. I’m still not a fan, I mean you won’t see me taking one out on a date or anything but I can climb into their pen and pick up a lamb and sort of feed it with a giant bottle of milk formula. Bottle feeding lambs isn’t too dissimilar to feeding human babies to be honest. Wriggly little smelly fuckers that throw up on you if feed them too quick.
I’ve watched a cow give birth and declined the offer of shoving my entire arm up its ladies kebab to feel the calf whilst swallowing my own sick. No it’s not a miraculous thing to see. It’s smelly, slimy and noisy and I will definitely be leaving that job to the farmers and vets.
I’ve learned the art of using anything to fix everything. I’ve been to my first steam rally and served hog roast to hundreds of people. I’ve eaten honey, lots of honey, made by the bees literally 25 feet away. Eaten eggs with food metres rather than food miles. I’ve made most excellent friends with the farmers 3 dogs: Flo, Flick and Maisie. Flick is pure bred working dog, a Collie. Or sheep dog. She pretends to listen to my commands when her master is around but suddenly turns as deaf as a dead tree when it’s just us, frequently running round the farm causing chaos laughing at me whilst I whistle with my disgusting farmyard fingers in my mouth and shout pointless commands across the way. I’ve walked hundreds, thousands even, of miles around the campsite and farm making sure everything is A OK.
I’ve seen some of the most unbelievable sunsets, sunrises, moons and starry night skies in my life. I’ve met some incredible people and listened to their stories and sat round fires on my own watching the flames flick around the fire pit, the little orange flames dancing like no one was watching.
I’ve been left stood naked in the middle of the campsite with shampoo in my eyes and shower gel frothing from my armpits wondering what the hell just happened after the wind blew my shower tent up, away and over the fence. I don’t know who was more shocked. Me or the dozens of campers eating their dinner whilst watching a foamy monster man bob up and down trying to stick his soapy gentleman’s sausage between his legs to save some dignity.
So although my adventures of late haven’t included driving around the UK looking at beautiful vistas, I’ve still had many micro-adventures, here, a few feet from my van.
And for that, I am eternally grateful.