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Reisverslag The first days at The Lazy Duck
3 september 2014
The first days at The Lazy Duck
The first morning I woke up here, I did not fully remember where I was. I enthousiatically rolled over once more and slammed face-first into the wall of the caravan.
At least this fully woke me and encouraged me to get out of bed. I met with the rest of the staff in the David and Valery's study, where we discussed which guests were coming in today, which were staying and what other tasks we would do today.
Torsting, my fellow summer helper from Germany, showed me how to clean, fold, arrange and reset everything in the hostel, which we cleaned first. I Immidiately and painfully discovered that the first floor of the hostel had an incredibly low roof. We cleaned all the bed linen en hoovered the carpeted floor.
After we had finished cleaning the hostel, we cleaned the campsite, the campers' corner, the toilet area and our amazing Wild Willow Shower, which is basically a secluded and walled outdoor shower that you have to fill with a bucket of warmed water yourself. I'll show pictures later, but this late in the season, it's more than slightly cold, I can assure you!!
When the daily moring routine was finished we were set to hauling wheelbarrows full of wooden logs that we had to bring in from a fair distance away over a deceivingly winded and bumpy path, normally reserved for mountainbiking. As soon as this unearthly labour was over, we were free to relax and explore for the rest of the afternoon, until the first campers would show up.
We shared the responsibility of showing the campers around and familiarising them with the surroundings that we hardly knew ourselves. Luckily everyone understood our situation and was very relaxed throughout the entire event.
We filled the rest of our day interacting with the guests and doing all other kinds of work, varying from heavy lifting to simply feeding the ducks and the hens. Our last job was to herd the ducks back into their and to count all of them. All forty-three of them and only after we had finished were we told that it would be way easier to count them per different breed.
At 20.00 all of the campers and people for the hostel had come in and had been shown around, which meant that we were finally off for the day.
This meant that we could make ourselves some supper now. Without giving it proper thought, we chose to use the outdoor kitchen and to pool our meager ingredients in the hope of possibly cooking ourselves a proper meal.
With the help of the vegetable garden, which is available to the summer helpers, we created a very tasty and veggie mixture of spicy chili and pasta, heavily flavoured with fresh mint leaves. This created an incredibly tasty and fresh meal, which we devoured in minutes.
The labours of the day had left us absolutely exhausted and satisfied, so soon after the meal we went to our seperate caravans and quickly went to sleep.
Again I woke early, quickly remembered that slamming my face into the wall was NOT a good idea, so I calmly raised and got started with my day.
After a quick and healthy breakfast and a delightful cup of coffee, I made my way to the main house, where we once again would meet to discuss the day and more precisely, what we should do.
The morning routine was the exact same as the day before, with the exception of me hitting my head against the hostel roof. But to be honest, I did hit my head against the wooden beams of the Campers' Corner, twice.. This made me realise that nothing here is built for people as tall as I am, because the roof of the Campers' Corner reaches only a little higher than my shoulder, so hitting my head is far less challenging than avoiding it.
We had heard that tonight our final summer helper would arrive, Heidi from France, surprisingly enough. This day was rather uneventful and we had the oppertunity to visit the nearby village of Nethy Bridge, little over one mile from The Lazy Duck. Here we had the oppertunity of visiting the small supermarket where we could buy our basic groceries. I absolutely stockpiled my basics in the hope that with a lot of imagination,creativity and the veggie garden, I would be able to make something of every meal.
After the shopping we quickly returned to receive the first guests of the day. In the time between the guests arrived, I actually managed to squeeze in some schoolwork. At about six o'clock, a pair of newly arrived guests requested use of the hot tub (yes, we have an outdoor shower and a hot tub), this meant that we would have a simple evening of monitoring the heating of the hot tub, which is heated by building a fire within the designated fireplace.
I am fully aware that this sounds way too easy, since it dit to us. And of course we managed to mess this up, we actually managed to bring the hottub to a temperature high enough to act as a slow cooker in which the guests could boil themselves. With the help of a steady stream of new, cold water and letting a small amount of scalding hot water slip out, we were able to get the temperature down to a manageable level for them to bear.
After this we finally managed to relax ourselves by sitting down at the duck pond, enjoying the magnificent view and having a pint before scurrying off to bed.
On this day Torstin was scheduled to have his day off, which meant that I had the privilige of introducing Heidi to all the different kinds of necessary tasks that made up the morning cleaning. Luckily she was already largely familiar with this kind of work, which kept the explaining to a minimum and allowed us to quickly get things done. It was also the very first day that I'd been given the authority of the purse, which meant that I was responsible for showing any new arrivals their places and everything they might possibly need.
I've really enjoyed simply speaking with the guests, getting to know each one a little and learning about where they come from. I really do feel that this is making me learn more about England/Scotland more than I possibly could back in Holland.
Before the first of the guests arrived, I was very nervous about forgetting things and not being able to answer all of their questions. But as the first arrived I immediately noticed that all I needed to tell them were the absolute basics and that each question they asked me was far easier to answer than I had anticipated. I even start to like interacting with the guests in this manner, showing them around in a totaly relaxed atmosphere that they all seem to expect and want to experience.
In the evening I went back to my caravan in order to relax a little and do some reading as well as working on this blog before going to sleep.
Today, Wednesday, is scheduled to be my weekly day off, which allows me to either travel to different cities or work on my assignments for school as I've done today. I finally decided that I could sleep in for a bit, all this getting up early and working hard has left me terribly tired.
I've been very busy with casually chatting with guests and trying to learn more about their habits and what they seemed to know about the neighbourhood. Most of this was because I have to do this for my education, learning about all different kinds of habits and aquiring cultural knowledge, but there was a pleasant note throughout. I've really enjoyed interacting with everyone in this way and I will continue to do it. And if it only benefits my schoolwork and learning process, thats just a lucky bonus. Working on my assignments kept me busy until well into the afternoon.
That was until David invited Torstin, Heidi and myself for a glass of wine by the fire in his backgarden. This made me drop all of my suddenly unsignificant work and unexpectedly find some time to relax some more.
After a few glasses and watching the fire eat its way through most of our little wood supply the time had arrived for us to try and herd all of the ducks back into their cage.
Soon this proved to be extra difficult today, because not only were a few of the regular ducks in a mood in which that they did not want to comply, but the addition of four new ducks who were able to evade even our attempts with nets, made this especially difficult. In the end we were able to round up all of the ducks who were accustomed to returning to their pen, but sadly we had to leave the new ducks outside where they were vulnerable to a variety of predators.
After our perilous labours, we all went to make some supper for ourselves and I decided to rewatch Django Unchained before finally going to bed.
4 september 2014 11:21 | Door: Henk la Roi
Good to read you're enjoying yourself. And it's good that they make you work so hard ;-)
I'll respond more elaborately by mail.