There were about twenty chairs at the party, as well as various stone ledges/tree trunks in the garden for people to sit on. I began to think, what would a house-hold of two people need twenty chairs for? The answer of course is that they don't. There are plenty of people in the world with no chairs, yet these people have too many. I began to see this as a metaphor for the current state of inequality in the world. There are too many people with more chairs than they need.
Beehappy's Wednesday August 8th, 2012
I'm still experiencing undertones of sexism here, and I'm utterly sick of it. It's not deliberate and they don't mean it in a bad way, but it's driving me mad.
Already, John got to stack logs and I had to pick raspberries, and peas. Why I'm incapable of picking up logs and putting them in a wheelbarrow I do not know. Nor do I know why John is incapable of harvesting, but he hasn't done any. Yesterday morning I harvested raspberries and blueberries while John carried tables and bales of hay in a wheelbarrow. You might think I actually get the better jobs, but the plants are all packed together. I have to crawl around amongst the spiders and slugs and other creepy crawlies and I kept banging my head on the top of the blueberry cage. I want to do the physical work, to get more exercise and feel like I've worked. Yesterday morning while preparing for the party John and I were sat talking. The Frenchman came and asked him to carry chairs and off they went together. When they returned he had to go again as there were three chairs. The message I get is that clearly it is beyond my ability to carry a chair. Later I got sent to fetch the spinach dip and potato salad. To me that says it all.
We talked with some of the people at the garden party. The topics they spoke about included: Monsanto, 9/11, Goldman Sachs, causes of ww1, the vibrational benefits of Om, the benefits of pot, Procter and Gamble, Vietnam, Rothchilds, holocaust, hemp, healing psychedelics, India, Steve Jobs, Lady Diana, the Queen. Some of it was interesting but it was virtually impossible to separate the interesting bits from the complete and utter shite
We had to help prepare and then attend and help with a garden party yesterday. 25 years on the property. There were about 60 people. They were nice, but way too hippy ish for us. We had to join in an Om prayer circle, see to the food (main course ran out - only food left rice and salmon), run errands, and be general dogsbodies. When it got dark we had to light candles (highly irresponsible in my opinion - there's a massive risk of fire - everything is so dry at it lights easily and burns ferociously.
Feeling fed up of being the workers/helpers/gophers/doing all the tedious jobs.
It's 11pm. I'm laid on two single foam mattresses horizontally (they don't fit otherwise) under a double foam mattress. Then there's a fitted sheet which doesn't fit, then a sheet to cover us. Next to me is a duvet which is too big (and far too warm to use). I've looked back and we've only had one decent set of bed linen since we've been wwoofing (the hostels are sometimes ok).
A band in the distance is banging out some unknown tunes. They've only just started (and they've already played God save the Queen?!?) They began right after the kid upstairs stopped screaming and the adults stopped having a barney. Tomorrow our hosts are throwing a garden party for 60 people. We're helping prepare then John's in charge of the bbq and there's drinks and music till late. Not sure where our 5 hour working day will kick in? It's a pot luck where everyone brings a dish, and today I was told that they're putting me in charge of taking the food off people and guarding it until the right time for each course (they obviously haven't thought it might need guarding from me!!)
On any other night this might be a whinge but tonight, just for a little while, it's not so bad. I'm looking forward to meeting some new people tomorrow and there will be alcohol, which will be a nice treat.
The hosts here have their 2 and a half year old grandson staying for a couple of days. He makes my nephew look like an angel! He cries all the time, over nothing. He won't look you in the eye or engage with you at all. But he doesn't seem autistic or anything just a bit wimpy. The Frenchman, who is usually very philosophical and wise seeming had an interesting take on it. He said that his behaviour worries them and that he thinks either the child was shocked or scared by a stranger at some point and he hasn't yet got over it, or, that he was damaged in a previous life. Take from that what you will!
Its a day off today but we still did 90 mins work this morning. Tingaling received a delivery of 2 crates of apricots. They were really minging. All bruised and mouldy and going off. We had to cut off the bad (or sometimes save the good) bits so they could be frozen for making into jam later. They were squishy and hairy with mould, it was pretty disgusting.
We're a bit stuffed for entertainment again here. It's too hot to walk anywhere, and it took 30 mins before we got a ride yesterday (and that was a busy day) so we don't fancy hitching. We could go to the lake to swim but it was busy on Friday so it's going to be heaving today. There's no wifi, no tv, no games. One chair to sit on in the studio where we have our stuff, so one of us is always on the floor (currently me!)
We play cards a lot and a few games on the phone/ipad but we've already worn them out pretty much. Going to be a long week and a half I think! I reckon we're only going to get one day off a week, but a least it will keep us occupied!
Yesterday we went to the farmers market to help sell Tingaling's jam. We hitch hiked there which took ages and didn't finish till 5. It's the busiest weekend of the year and a holiday weekend (like a bank holiday but they don't call them that). We manned the stall for about 4 hours in the morning. It was busy and hot, and after 1 o'clock when we got a break. We grabbed a sandwich and had a ridiculously priced smoothie (didn't realise till after we'd ordered). It was good though. Then we went back to the stall, stayed till closing time and helped pack up. I can do the sales patter, and the being friendly but my heart's not in it. It was a long day and we were glad to rest when we got back. We had a late evening meal (they don't eat till around 8) of burger, rice and left over pasta. My veggie burger had been cooked in the same pan as the salmon burgers (the people here are pescetarian not vegetarian), and the pasta had Parmesan in it. I've had to lower my standards a lot with the Canadian food. Thankfully the burger didn't taste or smell of fish, I wouldn't have been able to eat it if it did.
The food here isn't bad but I really miss food from home. I miss John's curry and spag bol, I miss my mums risotto and home made pizza, I miss my lasagne.
Our first night in the tent was like a comedy sketch. We're underneath an arbutus tree that is shedding its bark and some of it's leaves. They kept landing on the tent and sliding down. Then the cat came sniffing round, illuminated and larger than life in silhouette against the tent wall. The surrounding ground is covered in leaves and there was lots of intermittent crunching. Then someone was firing a shot gun in the distance. There are occasional cougars and bears on the island, although without any food in the tent they shouldn't be interested.
It's hard to put into words how it feels to be here. So far, at least, it feels like somewhere nice. We were met from the ferry by a Frenchman. The music playing in the car was relaxed and made me feel chilled out. On arrival we were shown round Tingaling's garden (she's English but spent time in India, hence the name). The garden is full of trees and flowers and fruit and vegetables and there's a little pond. Then the Frenchman took us to his garden. It's full of bits of wood which he's collected and put together to look like creatures. There's rock sculptures too and an upturned tree root made into a face. It was really quite unique. There was a clearing and a pond and a little cave in the bottom of a tree trunk. Last night we slept on a mattress in the 'studio' (full of jam and gift cards). Today we put up the tent where we will sleep for the next two weeks -our belongings are staying inside and we have a private bathroom plus shower.
This morning I picked raspberries, gooseberries and peas, and I did some digging and raking. Whilst I harvested the deer on the other side of the fence were eating the weeds. They were close enough for me to reach out and touch (not that they would let me). There seems to be two adults and two fawns. They are gorgeous. I stood and watched them for about 5 minutes - I've never been so close to them before.
After lunch we made soup for freezing (think cooking is going to be part of our workload :)
Then we got a lift to a swimming lake and after a tentative beginning had a good swim. We saw a snake swim across the water near where we got in (eek!) There was a raft which we swam out to and sat on for a bit, then we walked back.
I hope we get to go and do it again though I need to look for some ear plugs tomorrow in town as I lost mine in the water.
Salt Spring is a pretty big island and we're off to market tomorrow so that should be fun. Hoping to find wifi as there's none where we're staying.
Wednesday night fireworks were
fun. 30 minutes worth of noise and excitement. I was a little disappointed as we could not hear the music which accompanied them, and I think that would have enhanced the experience.
Thursday we checked out then went to Stanley Park. We got a late start because the hostel wifi was really slow and we were trying to confirm travel plans.
We saw a raccoon which was the main aim of the day. They are usually nocturnal and hard to see except the ones that are used to tourists!
We then walked through the middle of the park, had lunch in a picnic spot (there was no-one else there which surprised me) and then walked to the point at the end. On the way back we walked along some of the sea wall, and stopped briefly at the water park for some fun! It was a tiring day but well worth it.
Late afternoon we headed back to the ferry terminal for a 90 minute ride to Salt Spring island. It was a beautiful journey on one of the smaller ferries. The sun was still shining and the quality of light was really soft and warming.
In many ways its a relief to be away from the big city. We had a busy three days. The builders outside the hostel started at 7am each day and the pan handlers and drunks didn't finish until late into the night.
Vancouver, and the west coast of Canada in general attracts a lot of homeless people because of its warm climate. They were everywhere, often drunk or clearly on drugs, and generally asking for money. We saw one man throw up right in front of us, then continue to ask for money. Another was harassing an oriental lady with headphones in her ears and sunglasses on. He was shouting at her to care. Once when we queued to eat, a woman came aggressively asking for money to feed her kids, who 'get support on weekdays, but turfed out on weekends'. I did not believe her, though she played a good act. Someone else gave her money and her demeanour changed and off she went. She looked like a drug addict to me. Yesterday someone was walking the streets screaming and crying out loud in obvious distress. I could not tell their gender, as they were small and thin under a big coat, but the face looked old and beaten down by life. Drugs seem to be a big problem here. I feel strongly that the government needs to act to help these people more. Not just to save my feelings of being uncomfortable around them, but to give them some relief from their obvious suffering.