What’s this latest stage of JWalking all about? Well we’ve signed up as volunteer helpers on a site called Helpx that connects hosts and volunteers to exchange work for accommodation and food. Simple. Jo explained all about it in her previous post, ‘From House-sitting to HelpXing’, so check all the details there. I thought I’d just run you through a typical day in the life of a couple of HelpXers.
We’re lucky enough to have our own private cottage here in Thelnetham so we have our own bathroom and kitchen to get up in our own time and enjoy a private breakfast. All the food has been kindly supplied by our hosts however.
Then it’s jumpers and boots on and outside at 9 o’clock to meet up with our hosts, Andrew and Sarah, to find out what their plans are for the work today.
Each day we work from 9am until roughly 1pm on whatever task is required for that day. Today Andrew explains to Jo that they want to prune all the bushes in the courtyard and weed as much of the area as possible. All four of us work together so it’s pretty easy to check what needs to be done and where. It’d be far too dangerous to just leave me alone with a pair of garden sheers as I really don’t have a clue about what needs keeping and what needs destroying with extreme prejudice. So direction is always needed.
Jo, however, has little green fingers and knows exactly what’s what all around the expansive garden.
It’s not a chain-gang so we stop around 11 o’clock for a coffee, a couple of biscuits, and a chat which is great for taking stock and for Sarah to confirm that I haven’t wrecked too many of her lovely plants. So far no problems but I shouldn’t be trusted.
We generally work until the job in hand, or the area that we’re working on, is completed and then break for lunch just after 1 o’clock. Once the wheel barrows and tools are stashed in one of Andrews many outbuildings we all have a well deserved meal and then clear off back to our own little cottage to wash and brush up.
The day’s work done we can now do as we please. Today we decided to go for a bit of a walk to the neighbouring village of Hopton which incredibly has a shop! No shops in Thelnetham at all so a 2 mile hike to Hopton is necessary to pick up a few bits and more importantly enjoy the sunshine and the amazing countryside.
This part of Suffolk is just so quiet and unspoilt that walking is a must. So many footpaths and bridleways and you hardly ever see another soul whilst you’re out. Just me, my girl and the beautiful English countryside. Perfect.
I say perfect but we did have a spot of drama as Jo noticed a butterfly floundering on the track with a damaged wing. She carefully picked him(or her) up in her hand and nursed him(or her) back to full health. Or perhaps she just moved him across into the field away from the path …..
No idea at all what type of butterfly it was so any help would be most appreciated. Could it be a Purple Hairstreak, or a Grizzled Skipper, or even a Bog Fritillary? Or is it just a butterfly? I dunno.
So into Hopton for a few shopping bits and pieces plus a couple of well-needed ice-creams before a walk back across the fields, down Buggs Hole Lane and home.
Generally we have dinner at 7pm so had a couple of hours to catch up on emails and sewing before Andrew gave us the customary shout to come round. Lamb Chops were the order of the day and thoroughly enjoyed as we chatted and discussed our work progress and what we’d been up to in the afternoon. It’s been great getting to know Andrew and Sarah whilst working this past week but it’s probably over dinner that we talk the most and really relax and have a laugh. They’re great hosts.
Once the table is cleared we retire back to our cottage around 8.45 and then collapse in front of the TV with a coffee for an hour or so.
Working all morning out in the fresh air and then walking in the afternoon really tires you out and by 10 o’clock we are ready for our bed. A quick tidy up and off to the comfy country bed chamber.
Each day has the same structure but is actually so different because we’ve been working in different parts of the garden doing various tasks and then tend to change our afternoon activity every day. The weather’s been incredible too which has made the whole experience fabulous.
We’re loving it.