After arriving at my first wwoof location at around 16:30, the rest of the first day was spent chatting and getting to know my hosts for the coming few days. I was shown around the old farmhouse and looked through an album of photographs that were taken before and during the renovations the current owners had undertaken. The setting and the house were just as I had imagined it would be. We then spent the evening relaxing.
As the host had needed to attend a conference earlier in the week, this first farm stay was going to be shorter than had originally been planned and I would now only be staying for what would essentially be just an extra long weekend, Wednesday to Monday. As my arrival was on 17th May, a national holiday in France, everyone was home and was indeed off work and school for the rest of the week.
The following morning, after breakfast, we started work. The owner had recently bought a greenhouse and had already partially constructed it, so we spent the morning completing it. After lunch we moved onto the next project which was to begin clearing away the undergrowth around an outbuilding which is to be partially renovated and turned into a garage. In the evening we took a pique-nique along to a local festival and enjoyed a jazz band playing inside a small marquee. A most enjoyable evening.
First thing we carried on clearing away the undergrowth and measured out the areas for the posts to be situated to hold up a new roof. Whilst doing so, we found a family of hedgehogs, including 5 babies, and moved them to another location. Whilst digging later on, I noticed a small lizzard/salamander type fellow poking his head out of the roots I was clearing. Unfortunately though I had noticed him a little too late and had cut through his tail, which was now hanging off. I moved him elsewhere but felt guilty the rest of the afternoon, poor fella.
Around midday it began to rain so we took an early lunch. Unfortunately the rain got heavier during lunch and continued for the rest of the afternoon, so the rest of the day was spent relaxing indoors. In the evening I cycled off to the local village to seek out a bar which might be showing the Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Chelsea. I found one eventually and watched it alone and in almost total silence as I was unable to entice conversation out of the bar owner other than a few yes and no responses to my questions. Oh well.
I awoke to more rain which meant that we could not do anything outside today either. So After breakfast, I spent the morning charging up all my electrical items and began gathering together all my stuff for packing. After lunch and with the rain still falling, we all headed out to a local friend of my host who was hosting a bicycle workshop. However, what I thought would be a run-of-the-mill experience, turned out to be a real eye-opener.
The chap we visited was Léo Paul who is essentially an inventor, who also used to be a stonemason, and nowadays makes his living by creating what are essentially works of art for children by utilising old bicycles, motorcycles, wheelchairs and basically anything else he can get his hands on. Some of the machines he has created are simply amazing.
|A Tandem BMX!|
|Oh and of course, a kitchen sink!|
When returned home I entertained the children for a couple of hours, although I think they entertained me just as much. I taught them how to play Snap, first with one set of cards but then they gathered another four packs of cards to play with. Needless to say the game went on for quite some time and became quite competitive between both kids. After that they taught me how to play a game which descended into a bit of a free for all and then ended quite abruptly when the older boy slapped the younger girl in the face for some reason?!? Then we ate dinner.
Had I wanted or needed to, I could have stayed another couple of days, but as the past two days had essentially been a wash out and with the prospects for the early part of the coming week not very good either, weather wise, I decided to leave the following morning. I spent the evening writing up the blog for when I next had wifi and then began packing to once again be ready for a week on the road en route to Brest.