Sunday, 26 November 2017

You Get What You Give

Crikey, has it really been two weeks since I last wrote?  I apologise, although there are two fairly good reasons for that.  Firstly, I can honestly say I have never been so freaking hot in my life - and it's not even summer yet!  Even the water in the outdoor taps is running hot!  Hence I've been trying to spend as little time inside as possible as even with a huge fan right next to our faces and the whole van opened up, the heat is still crazy as there is no breeze.  Still, we can't complain really; we could be in Central Otago!  Several of the campers we've met around here were supposed to start fruit picking work in Roxburgh today but have had to stay put until the flooding has abated and water has been returned back to the town.  As for the second reason for not writing?  That's a bit of a secret, but we're busy getting ready for something rather special.  All will be revealed soon enough! 

With Christmas just around the corner and the weather really hotting up, our campground is getting busy as expected.  I know I say this a lot but we are truly privileged to have met so many wonderful people this past year.  When you live the way we do, your fellow campers quickly become like family.  Everybody sees each other at their worst and despite being from countless different countries and backgrounds, we all have, or have had at some stage - the same challenges.  We laugh, we sympathise and most of all we try and help one another.

Us with Scott, Serena, Conner & Neillidh.  Will miss these guys!

Most of the time people only stop for a night or two passing through, but sometimes you get people who stay longer.  This morning we just bid farewell to Conner and Neillidh; a delightful young Scottish couple whose adventures got put on hold for a couple of months when Conner broke his hand and needed surgery.  Later on this week we'll be waving off Scott and Serena, two lovely and very quick witted New Yorkers who come and spend three months here every year.  Well, we THINK they're moving on this week, but when you're a keen fisherman like Scott and you're staying in the home of the best brown trout fishing in the world, it can be a little hard to leave!  We know just how he feels!  Then there's Margaret and Ivan, who have recently left but have been coming to this very campground every autumn for the past 18 years.  They'll be back in April but in the meantime we have been fortunate enough to take over the care and maintenance of their extremely fertile and productive vegetable garden!  Honestly, we couldn't feel any more fortunate than we do at the moment.

Just some of the vegetable garden we have been lucky enough to take care of!

Every day starts with us 'doing the rounds', and depending who is here, this can take a long time, often a couple of hours or more!  The actual objective of the mission is simply to get to the bathroom in the morning before everyone else does and take Minnie for a quick walk, but you meet so many people along the way, all wanting to stop for a chat, that there is nothing quick about it!  Still, this is one of the best and most enjoyable parts of the day; this is what this lifestyle is all about.  Most people have all the time in the world to talk and even if they don't, they'll still talk anyway!  The difference between us and people living a 'normal' life is that the majority of the people you talk to when you live in the same street, or work in the same building in the same town each day are always the same.  You see people that you already know and rarely meet new ones.  In our case however, we make new friends every day!  Some of the people we have met are among the most treasured and special in our lives now - to think we would never have met any of them if we hadn't started this journey.

Life really IS a bowl of cherries!

Just this morning we were coming out of the shower building when we were stopped by a young French couple asking if we would like a free mini camping fridge as they didn't have room for it in their vehicle.  It couldn't have come at a better time, now Batty has a lovely new little fridge!  Then yesterday we were given an ENORMOUS bowl of cherries, freshly picked and brought down from Alexandra by Margaret and Ivan, along with the sweetest strawberries you have ever tasted.  We ate as many as we could and still had three bags left to share with other campers!  The day before that, our lovely Scottish friends presented us with a bottle of Prosecco and a few days earlier we met a man in a bus who did knife sharpening.  Not only did he enable me to rescue the knife I had dropped down a drain a week or so before with his telescopic magnet, when I explained the knife was useless and had been blunt for years, Scott and Serena insisted on letting them get it sharpened for us and now it's the best knife we have!  So many things to be grateful for, every single day.  In return we do our best to give back wherever possible too; for example whatever we harvest from Margaret and Ivan's garden, we replace with new seedlings so that when they return they will have plenty of nice, new produce to come back to.  It really is a special place we have found here.

We all love this place!

Just a quick one today as we have stacks to do but wanted to share how happy and blessed I was feeling.  You probably won't see or hear much from us this week but we promise to be in touch next week with a whole heap of news!

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