Saturday, 7 June 2008

My first month as a Volunteer...

Well! Here I am - a Volunteer at last! If anyone is still in any doubt that a dream can come true then you need to read this blog and my web page - its the story of how my dreams are coming true.

OK...first things first. The pic is my caravan on the day I arrived. A bit scruffy eh?

This way of life is not for everyone. I work really hard and I ache all day. I've sacrificed almost everything I took for granted - hot running water - constant electricity - familiarity and friends.

For two whole, dreadful weeks I suffered horribly from homesickness. This was completely unexpected and totaly knocked me for 6. It was in fact grieving - very physical, very painful. The only place I felt myself was in the car..I know..crazy! But its true. It's as if my car and I are somehow connected to my old life and it was my comfort.

Part of the problem was that I struggled with not knowing where anything was - for example I wanted a paint brush one weekend, so I jumped in the car and set off to find the nearest B&Q - there's one 5 mins from where I used to live, so I naively assumed such would be the case down here! But no! In the throes of my homesickness, can you believe I ended up in a Wickes car park in tears because I couldnt find a B&Q!!! But I did get my paint brush.

The secret to the end of my homesickness? Well in week 2 I went to Surrey with Phil Terrett and spent a week working on his exhibition stand. I was distracted by people and laughing and hot showers!!! By week three - I was sufficiently distracted and havent looked back. I need to remember this in the future -distractions - they are the secret!

What have I gained?
Well I find that I can adapt really quickly. I know I can put up with a lot, the saga of keeping clean is another post!! I know I can lead a very happy life with very little. I am losing weight (over a stone) and getting stronger by the day. I am learning about organic growing and I find I pick stuff up really quickly.

I adore picking my lunch/tea from the field it was sown in. This pic is one of the lettuce beds that I look after. I've sowed dozens of trays of lettuce seeds ready to plant out and these beds are weeded by hand - my hand! In the first week I sowed 3000 spring onion seeds and got badly sunburned!

I have a local pub - I've always wanted my own "local" but pre-smoking ban, just hated the stink. My local is the White Hart in Wiveliscombe - lovely pub Simon!! I dont have a pic yet. Most importantly, I am realising whats important to me. Little things like keeping clean, feeling girly but being fit and strong...I'm sure others will emerge but those are the ones that matter for now.

Would I change my mind..Oh no! This is my training ground. I'm learning skills and knowledge here that will support me in the future...go back to tv, constant electricity, hot showers, washing thanks! The fact that I now see these things luxuries is the point here. When you have to decide whether to spend today's supply of solar power on the laptop for a dvd or an evening of music on the stereo you know that you are truly environmentaly aware - and I feel a bit superior in truth!


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