Friday, December 26, 2008


Wow! It's been a crazy few days full of mirth and joy and singing and bustling around and eating and digesting and drinking and farming and it'll take a while to explain it all!

Saturday: Had lunch at New Botton Farm after a morning of chores chores chores. I forgot to tell Valeska about the gluten thing and we had pasta. I ate a bunch and didn't puke but...I've noticed recently that my reaction to gluten has changed--now when I eat it I get really bad gas and some stomach pain. Great. I think I'd rather barf! But it was fine really. I entertained the kiddies for a bit; it's so different being in a house with children and villagers, so it was nice to get a taste of it. Andreas gave me a tour of the farm, which was really great. Their milking system is completely different than ours, and much faster and easier. We met up with Michaela and Katarina, two co-workers from the summer who left before I came. They are SO nice, and of course, also German. I freaking love Germans, and am definitely learning German in college! Anyway, we went to the coffee bar and the shop and then got a car and went to the co-op in Guisborough to get some, um, beverages for the party. Ben had arranged for us to have a party in the games room in Honey Bee Hall, and I was SO happy! For once the party was right next door to my house and I wouldn't have to stagger home at 3 AM! Well, I'd have not so far to stagger :).
So back at home I took a nap and then we had bible evening and two of Paule and Nick's friends were here and we had a lively discussion for a change. Then at 10 I went over to the hall and partied my heart out until, well, 3 AM. A bunch of staff kids were there, back on holiday from school, so I met some more people and learned new things and played a mini-concert for some people upstairs in the hall with Phil's guitar.

Sunday: Woke up at 8 to make breakfast, then after breakfast went to the hall to clean up the games room. I swept and mopped and tidied and Magda cleaned the toilets and took the very full recycling bin away. In the afternoon was the Advent Cafe, which I helped out with a bit. After supper I went to Ben's and hung out with what is now a very clearly defined clique of Lisa, Lisa, Ben, Andreas, and myself. Oh! And Madi (Paule's younger daughter) and Phillip (her boyfriend and a former co-worker) came in the afternoon. They're really cool, and Madi really does talk more than I do!

Monday: Food centre in the morning, cleaning the floor with Magda and her mother who is here visiting her and doesn't speak a word of english. Lunch at home, farm in the afternoon until 4:00 when I had rehearsal for the Christmas Eve Celebration, singing in the choir. Went to Tourmalin (where Lisa know I ought to label them Lisa 1 and Lisa 2) for supper cuz I had to be back in the hall by 7:30 to decorate the Christmas tree as part of the Foundation Course. So then we did the tree and Lisa from Rowan and I ran around singing Moulin Rouge and dancing and laughing and I think everyone thought we were totally nuts, but I'm used to that.

Tuesday: Food centre in the morning and Magda wasn't there (she was giving her mom a tour of the village) and almost all the villagers had left on holiday so it was just Katie and Magnus and I and we cleaned the drains and washed bottles and went to the coffee bar for tea break. Home for lunch, and fun filled farming in the afternoon. I rode around in the tractor with Justin the whole afternoon, first gathering greenery for decorating the byres, then we went and got apple mush from the food centre for the cows. Justin left me in the centre so I could go straight to choir rehearsal, so I went to choir smelling of farm.

Wednesday: Some workshops were still going, but we had finished in the food centre, so I spent the morning at home. Lazed around all afternoon, sometimes doing helpful little things. At 5:30 I went to the hall, and at 6:00 the Christmas Eve Celebration began! It was so beautiful. The priest read the tory of the birth of Christ while some villagers and co-workers acted it out, and we in the choir would sing the most beautiful songs at times in the story, and the four Archangels, Rafael, Gabriel, Uriel aaaand crap I forget the other one, but anyway, the four people with the best voices in the village acted as these angels and this song they sang was literally the best piece of music I have ever heard in my entire life. I got all teary and everything! There was eurethmy and the eurythmists had candles and little children in white robes and gold crowns got their candels lit and then went to the audience where a representative from each house had a lantern which was then lit by the child's candle, and then the huge tree was lit (yeah, real candles on the tree!) and then we sang together and then we came home and went to the byres and sang to the cows and then we had a lovely supper of salmon and mashed potatoes and chicory salad and green salad and fruit with cream for dessert. Then we sat around and talked and sang carols and lit our tree (with the light from the lantern) and at 10 I went back to the hall and helped put away the chairs and tidy up. Then I wandered around looking for Ben and Andreas and found Andreas sleeping at home but his mom, who is visiting for a few days, said they were going to the midnight service soon, so I hung out with her (she's so nice!) and then he woke up and we all went to the midnight service together in the church. I've only ever been to a church service one other time, when I went to mass with Liz, and the only thing i remember is when everyone got up for communion and I thought, "wait a sec, am I supposed to do that too? It's not my religion!!" I'm not gonna lie, I fell asleep big time. Church is boring! Afterwards everyone was hugging and there were "happy christmas"'s all around. I got a lift home from Marc Antoine, thank god cuz I would have fallen asleep on the path otherwise.
I'll write more later...time for a walk. Also I already wrote a huge blog entry going up until today but I stupidly deleted it. So now I have to do it all again and its I'm walking.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ut Hoy!

Tonight was the Shepherds Play!
Last night at the dress rehearsal I had a few bites of a sandwich (which I had made for myself before going to the hall at 5:30) and thought, "oh, gee I think I'm gonna be sick. Greaaaat." Kind of a bad time to get the tummy bug. There's this 24-hour vomiting bug going around the village, and, according to the newspaper, going around England and filling up hospitals. Anyway, I'm sort of used to barfing thanks to my pre-celiac-diagnosis vomitfest, so I just ran offstage, barfed, and came back on! I felt alright afterward and didn't feel like I really had the bug, but then this morning I threw up during breakfast (don't worry, I made it to the toilet), so I spent the day in bed. I slept the whole day, and every time I woke up feeling nauseas I mentally blocked it and thought, "Hell no, I am so not being sick, I have to be onstage tonight!" So when I got up at 4:30 to shower and make food and be in the hall by 5:30 I felt fine! Ah, the power of mind over matter.

The show went well, only a few hiccups here and there, but I didn't forget any lines, and I only laughed once...but during a solo, so that was a bit embarrassing. The first line of the second verse of "Lusty Trusty Shepherd Boys" is supposed to be just Daniel singing, but Phil started singing it too and then muttered "Oh bollocks," so when it was my turn to sing the second line I just choked it out through my laughter. But I basically just didn't look at Daniel the whole time so I wouldn't laugh.

After the show we had a little cast party with some goodies and tea and piano playing and dancing and laughing and merriment. Daniel gave Nastasja and I a lift home, and driving down the winding roads perhaps a bit too quickly with music blaring gave me little teenage thrills that I haven't had since beach week after graduation. It was a nice little reminder of a different time.
But now it's late and since I slept all day I'm quite awake...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Before the Snow

A while ago, on the way to work in the morning.

The Fruits of Labor

Title relating to several recent incidents.

1. No pub run last night, the plan aborted last minute. Instead became pleasantly intoxicated with Ben and Andreas in Ben's flat, drinking first wine, then amaretto with cider.

2. Magdalena was quite late to the food centre this morning, and Peter (pronounced Pay-ter), her house father and the head gardener, saw me waiting outside and revealed the hiding place of a set of spare keys. I had an intense flashback to my Westtown shiking days, thinking of how then I would have formulated plans to retrieve said keys and use them for mischevious adventures with Liz and Aimee. To be privy to such knowledge as a spare key location would have sent us into a fit of Alias references and Saturday night plans.
Magda came eventually, but then had to go to a meeting, leaving me in charge of pressing 200 kilos of apples. The press is a great green rumbling machine and I love it. I made delicious apple juice.

3. Justin popped into Bracken as I was finishing preparing breakfast to say that Sybilla had gone into labor and if I checked on her at around 8:30 I might see the miracle of birth first hand. After breakfast in my haste to get to the barn I dropped a jar a marmalade on the floor and made a mess of glass and orange bits. But I got to the barn with plenty of time, and Sybilla hadn't calved yet. In fact, by the time I lef the farm in the afternoon she still hadn't dilated fully.

4. On the farm this afternoon we harvested Swedes (haha, not the people, the plant), I looked up to see Luis standing staring off into space--a rare occurance. The thing is, Luis never stops working. He never comes to co-worker gatherings or even leaves the farm because he feels so obligated to work. And he never complains. Not once. He doesn't even have a weekend for crying out loud! He has to muck out the byres and milk! It's a tricky dynamic doesn't have to be physically or psychologically pressured into working nonstop to feel pressured. Anyway, Luis's friend from Germany, a kid he's known his whole life, was recently put in a psychiatric ward in a hospital because he did so many drugs he basically fried his brain for good. Luis really wants to go home for a week or so to see him, but he hasn't even told Justin or Tracy what happened to his friend. I mean, they can't say he can't go home...this is serious shit his friend is in. Anyway, I told him he needs a break and to go home and he absolutely must tell Justin and Tracy this.

5. I went to the Hall at 5:00 for choir/Christmas Eve rehearsal, only to find that it had been cancelled and no one told me. But Lisa (Leeza, who lives with Ben in Rowan, not to be confused with the other Lisa (also Leeza) who lives in Tourmaline and is also a good friend) was there and we got a chance to hang out and talk for a while. She's getting really stressed and starting to feel a bit like a slave or a servent. I told her what the previous co-worker from Bracken had told me (gotta love Facebook), and that is that people think their house parents will be like substitute parents, all caring and such, but it happens more often than not that one's houseparents are more like a boss, and you are their employee. We agreed that a "thank you" for our work every once in a while would mean the world to us.

6. Tomorrow is the Shepherds Play, and we had our dress rehearsal tonight and it was...not a disaster, but pretty bad. Daniel, one of my co-shepherds, looks absolutely hysterical with his fake beard, and his accent is hilarious and every time I look at him I want to laugh. Also I have to do a fake slip-and-fall and tonight I actually fell on my ass really hard, so that made me laugh through a line or two. But hopefully we can pull it off tomorrow!

7. Sauerkraut left today to go home for the holidays. I'm gonna miss that crazy chatter box. Oh, I'm talking about Emily by the way. We just call her Sauerkraut now. When it comes down to it, I love Em. She's like a little sister or a crazy parrot or something.

8. And, having nothing to do with fruits or labor, I found this blog and it is coooool.

Big Storm Picture.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mondays Really do Suck.

Especially when you get attacked by a villager twice. It's a long story, and I'm tired and trying not to dwell on it too much, but I'll give you the run-down.

Teresa is a villager who can be very violent. We, the new co-workers, were given a short lecture by her house mother about what provokes her and what to do and not to do and all that lot. Teresa also can't communicate very well at all. She repeats a few phrases (naughty girl! hit the children! meenenaquasp! be quiet!) over and over again, and says good morning and goodbye, and that's it. Also, she's really big and strong and scary looking. Emily is terrified of her. On Monday in the food centre, where Teresa works once a week, I noticed that she was sitting in the kitchen crying. I told Magda and we went in to comfort her. I admit, after hearing bad stories about her, and simply knowing that she has a history of violence, my hackles go up when I get close to her. I handed her a tissue, trying my best to exude calm energy. Magda and I sat with her for a few minutes and talked in comforting voices while she cried, and at one point Magda got up and had her back turned. I handed Teresa another tissue and she all the sudden started hitting me on my arms and chest. I got up and moved away quickly and she sat back down. Magda didn't notice a thing, it was very fast and quiet, but when we left the room I told her what had happened. She called Mickey, Teresa's house mother, who told her that one fo the villagers in her house, Peter Woods (who was on this day leaving Botton for good after being here for many years) had hit Teresa this morning. No one saw the beginning of it, but Peter is not one to hit people randomly, so the guess is that Teresa hit him first. Anyway, this is why Teresa was so upset.
She cried for a while, and Magda went in to check on her again and Teresa screamed and hit Magdalena really hard. But then a bit later she stopped crying and came over to where Magda and I were sitting sorting apples and took my hand and said, "Sorry." The she went about her day, doing the ironing. Everything was normal, though I was still a bit shaken, and then in the boot room while we were getting our coats on, it happened again! I said goodbye to Teresa and she screamed and ran at me! I tried to run away but she cornered me and hit me several times in the shoulder, saying "Hit the children!" Then she stopped and walked away. I stood there in shock for a minute, and she came back, only this time the said, "Goodbye." and "Sorry." She was so confused, and I wasn't angry with her for hitting me, really just sad for her that she can't express herself and her needs.
I went to Magda's office and told her it had happened again, and she said Teresa will probably never respect me because I look like a child to her and she hates children because they are loud and silly. And that makes me really sad. I don't want to have a reason not to like Teresa. I want to think she is a good person, but when someone randomly targets you and hits you like a punching bag, it's hard to think, "Oh, she's really very nice."

Alan Ayres, the village bicycle guy (among other things) fixed up a bike for me and dropped it off at the food centre, so I rode that home. By the time I got home the trauma of the morning had set in and I was really shaky and nauseas. I ate Katie-sized portions for lunch and downed a glass of wine (from a bottle I purchased in Middlesborough) before heading over to the farm.
So that was my Monday. And today in the food centre Ruth, a villager who is deaf and dumb grabbed my wrist and twisted it as hard as she could, attempting to hurt me. Lucky for me she's old and tiny so it didn't hurt, but it was still really confusing and upsetting because all I did was point to the clock and tap on my wrist to show her it was time to leave! I had no idea what she was doing grabbing my arm, but she was mad about something...

Oh, but on the good side of things, Andreas is back from his three-week holiday and a few of Botton's finest co-workers and I are going to the pub tomorrow. My back hurts now and I'm going to sleep. Bottling juice tomorrow morning, farm-related activities in the afternoon, and alcohol related activities in the evening.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Canst thou figure in thy pate, what makes this blog come so late?

Um, cuz of my insane life, homies. Here is the last few days in brief:
wednesday: shepherd's play rehearsal from 9:30 to 11:00, then a Foundation Course lecture from an Iranian artista fighting for womens' rights through art. I asked her if she had heard of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of Infidel, the book everyone must read, and she hadn't. No volleyball, as I had received a card from the coach saying we would resume our sessions on January 18th. So I spent the night in, writing cards and sipping hot cocoa and warming myself in my chair next to the radiator in my room, while the Amelie soundtrack plink plonked away in the background.

thursday: food centre in the morning, home for lunch, then to the farm until 4:30 and then off to shepherd's play rehearsal, then I went to Hall South for supper with Marie Reine. I love going to other houses for meals because every house operates slightly differently. In Hall South, much like in Old Bototn Farm, they put the spreads in baskets on the table, and there are always teaspoons on the table as well. David Adams, the house father and husband of Marie Reine, is really funny and kind hearted, a large man with a large heart. They are such a funny looking couple, him being so large (not fat, just tall and thick), and her head barely passing my chin! After supper I went to choir, where Claire led us in many a lovely carol. The Christmas pieces are so beautiful, I will bring my camera to our next rehearsal and record a song or two.

friday: food centre in the morning, then to High Farm for lunch. Claire had to leave before lunch to fetch Joe from school. Have I mentioned Joe? He comes to all the co-worker parties, he's kind of immature sometimes but also really smart and into maths and sciences and goes to the Yarm School, a "right proper school" to which he has a big rugby/brainy scholarship. Claire was worried about driving on the roads and still very shocked from the accident on Tuesday, and then Emma Dreary showed up. Emma is one of a few villagers who can't speak and only communicates with noises and hand movements. Claire, who used to be her house mother, understands her a lot. She asked me to take charge of Emma because I can give her clear boundaries and guidence. I was sort of thinking, "oh crap, this is going to be chaos," because Sejin and I were the only co-workers in the house for lunch, I was in charge of Emma, and there was still Kathryn, John, David and Federico to look after. Oh, and Sejin's english is quite limited. It all went fine though. Emma had a few little freak outs (I think, I mean it's hard to know what a really loud squeal means coming from her) but I kept her calm and occupied and then helped her make some Barley Cup (british coffee substitute) then sent her home.
Sejin and I sat an talked over coffee for a bit. She's so nice and sweet, I really like her. She's from the middle of South Korea, and she prefers country life to the bustle of the city, and she feels ignored a lot of the time by the villagers because they know her english is not so great and that makes her very sad. In the first few weeks she cried a lot because it was so hard, but things are better now and she is developing a report with the villagers she lives and works with.

saturday: I did breakfast for Phil since he did it for me one morning, then did chores and made tea break and then made some pasta for lunch. Spent the afternoon in bed reading and watching Gossip Girl online (shout out to my girl Lindsaaaayyy) and eventually falling asleep. Being Saturday, we had Bible Evening at 7:45, but when I woke up at 7:00 I had a headache and body aches and was just generally needing to go to bed, so I asked Nick if that would be alright. Paule had been gone all day taking Alma to the theatre in Leeds and she hadn't returned yet so he was preparing the supper. I knew he could have used my help but I was just so sore and tired I slumped off to bed and was asleep by 8:00.

today: After breakfast Paule gave Phil and I a lift to our Shepherd's Play rehearsal, which went until 12:00. It's coming along, and the reheasals are hilarious. Daniel, the nurse in the health centre and house father (by himself) in Thomas Wheis House (home for elderly) is Romanian, and super over-dramatic with rolling his r's and jumping about.
After a delicious lunch of roast pork (from High Farm I believe...I think I saw him alive last Friday!) and brussel sprouts and rice with yoghurt for dessert, Nick gave me a lift to the centre where I met Ben and Magda and Liza (Leeza) and Ben's house father drove us to Middlesborough! It was lovely to be out with them, but we really had to get down to business and do our Christmas shopping. We were actually really efficient, me especially! Mom you would have been so proud of how organized I was! No dawdling, no purchasing of anything I didn't need, I didn't even LOOK at Starbucks. Here's wha I got:
Stephanie: cat calendar
Felicity: james bond calendar (daniel craig to be exact!)
David: Beatles "Love" album
Phil: Joni Mitchell "Blue"
Nick: a sciencey philosphy type book called The Happiness Hypothesis: Putting Ancient Wisdome and Philosophy to the Test of Modern Science. It sounded really interesting, and right up Nick's ally.
Emily: fancy hair band

I looked high an low for gardening gloves for Paule, but I think I'm just going to have to burn her a copy of the Amelie soundtrack. I feel funny about it now because I bought CD's for Phil and David and I'm burning her's so it wont have the liner notes or anything...
And I also still need to get things for Anthony and Katie. And I need like 25 blank CDs to make mixes for everyone else. Humph. The stores were all closing around 5:00 since it's Sunday...I thought maybe they would be open longer since it's the holiday season or whatever, but no such luck. Oh well. We got home in time for me to prepare the supper and I did the washing up afterwards since I had to leave lunch early. Then we all went to the hall to see the Fairytale, a eurethmy story performed by teh villagers. It was very colorful and cute.

Okay, now I'm tired. Think I'll polish off a glass of wine and fall to sleep.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

busy bee

that's me. the hectic times continue with shepherds play rehearsals and co-worker supper and the advent fayre on sunday that everyone put so much work into and not very many people came because of the "credit crunch" aka the failing economy and the somewhat icy roads. yesterday i ran the food centre by myself in the morning because magda was seriously ill and puking and katie neilson flipped shit over the slippery pathways that weren't actually slippery and i walked her to thomas weis house and she wimpered the whole way and dug her nails into my arm and i wanted to punch her so on my way home i had some therapuedic brittany spears time with my ipod. then this morning magda was absent again and i assumed she was still sick but i also knew that her house was going shopping in york with the south neighborhood and when as i was leaving for lunch i asked her house-father if she was feeling better and he said yes, she went to york, but there was an accident and the bus flipped over and solara went to the hospital. holy crap. the rest of the story came in bits and pieces throughout the day from various sources, but the gist of it is this: claire, my botton friend, was driving and passing someone and went off the road a bit and lost control and went into a field and the vehicle flipped onto its side. no one was injured, just scared. but then cornelia and solara tried to climb out the window (which was now facing the sky) and this made the bus flip back over and throw them on the ground. solara hurt her back and cornelia hit her head, so they both went to the hospital to be checked out. they are now home and safe and fine. also, a co-worker named miriam who is leaving soon fell on the ice and possibly broke her wrist. dangerous times! okay, time to sleep. sorry for the lack of capitalization and run-on sentences, my brain is too tired and my hands hurt too much from teaching myself Comptine d'un autre été L'après midi on the piano. i can do the hands seperately but not together, i think i'm a bit stupid. and also tired. goodnight.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Emily and Chatty at the Party

the snow!

by the time i took this picture a few inches had already melted...

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Christmas Party

Boy howdy am I exhausted. This afternoon I escorted Emily to the annual villager's christmas party, being her constant companion and supervisor from 2:00 to 7:30. The party was in the hall, an afternoon of dancing, food, games and more food and dancing! It's hosted by the hired staff like the people who work in the offices and Phil the farmer and Dennis the painter who come for lunch every week in Bracken. So basically I followed Em around for five and a half hours avoiding Teresa (a villager who hates and could possibly attack her) and dancing to Mamma Mia and Status Quo songs over and over and over again. We played "pass the parcel," in which everyone stands in a circle and passes a present around and when the music stops the person holding the gift takes of a layer of wrapping paper and then when the music starts up again they pass it on. The gifts (which eventually turned out to be chocolate) were wrapped in eight or nine layers of paper! So that was cute. There was really only one problem, and it didn't involve Em at all--two villagers (who are new housemates actually) started screaming and hitting each other. It was Beth who used to live in HBN but moved to Hall South, and Christina, who comes for lunch every Monday and is impossible to understand. Oh yeah, and Anthony was super pissed off in the beginning because Terry (a staff guy) wouldn't give him a drink. He was absolutely fuming and yelled, "It's not fair! I should just go over there and tell him to fuck off!" I was totally shocked and just attempted to placate him. He calmed down eventually.

We (Em, Steph, Anthony, Luke and Luis) walked back together and then Phil and I went to play rehearsal in HB Hall until 9:30. I could have gone to bed when we got back from the party, but cest' la vie.

So I shall go to bed now.
Nighty night.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Yeah, that's probably not a word. And I have to get up at 5:30, so I'll make this quick!

Things in my Brain:

1. Paule is the best gluten free cook in the world. My vegan GF cookies failed utterly, and, without xanthum gum, she made the most amazing cake thing with hazelnuts and dates. She said she will continue to do trial runs of GF versions of the things she always makes at Christmas time. She even labeled a tin "gluten free goodies" just for me!

2. Shepherds play rehearsal is going well but holy crap I have to memorize my lines! When? I ahve no idea. Shit. Failure approaches...

3. My back and arms hurt SO bad from"
a. slipping and falling repeatedly on ice/snow
b. milking

4. Oh. My. God. It snowed. Tons. Eight inches on the ground and drifts up to four feet deep. I went out this morning for milking and opened the door to have snow blasted into my face by the wind. At breakfast I came in ruddy faced and hungry and everyone is sitting around the table, half of them excited to see the beautiful snow, and the other half grumbling nervously about the prospect of walking in it. Nick gave us all a lift in the mini-bus, but it had summer tires on it and didn't make it up Faulkan drive. Felicity was going to Hall South, and I to the food centre, so I held her hand and we walked together and she is so small and stout and slow and cute and she slipped on a little snow pile and went down foomph! on her big bottom. For the first part of the morning Magda and I shoveled snow around the food centre, clearing paths and salting them. The snow was about a foot and a half deep there. When I came home for lunch I asked Nick how it was getting the bus unstuck from Faulkan drive and he said it took about an hour to get out! So t was a very exciting and special sort of day, like a snow day, but with work. Does that amke sense?

5. I'm keeping this blog public for another few days so people can see that I'm making it private soon and then give me their email addresses.

6. Last night I burned my hand on the steam from the kettle and it didn't hurt at all at first but now its all red and raw and I keep putting Urtica-Arnica salve on it and it's helping. I love anthrosophical medicine! It's so nice to be all-natural! Haha, that sounds funny, but I dunno, I just like the idea of using Calendula ointment instead of chemical anti-bacterial stuff for cuts.

7. tomorrow is the annual Christmas party for the villagers! I'm taking Emily, a.k.a babysitting Emily and making sure she behaves and dealing with her antics...I'm nervous! I hope she listens to me! We'll see...I think it will be fine as long as she doesn't antagonize or provoke a violent villager...which, of course, could happen. Yeesh.

8. Goodnight.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I'm a Bit Daft.

So...the internet is a scary thing. Luis told me today...a very complex chain of events that have prompted me to make this blog private. I'll try my best to simplify, but here it is: Tracy, Luis's house mother, heard from Kathryn Hollis, who was the former wife of Pete Stubbs, a former co-worker in Castle House who left with Kathrine Thistlethwate (who lived in Bracken for a few weeks) that someone was writing about Pete and Kathrine in a blog about Botton. And that blog, was this blog. Also he came up with some other connection about Nick possible reading it, and I do have it linked on my facebook and I'm friends with Madi on facebook and it's all very silly of me. I mean, I don't think I've said anything terrible on here that I feel guilty about or regret or wouldn't talk to someone face to face about, but if I have offended someone who may be reading this, ummm...sorry! So I'm making it private in the next few days, and if you want to keep reading it, send me your email address. (to and I'll add you to the approved list. Also you could hit up my facebook inbox, that works too.
Early to bed, early to rise. OH YEAH AND IT'S FORCAST TO SNOW 20 CM!!!! THAT'S MORE SNOW THAN I'VE EVER SEEN. And it's really rare in Yorkshire! Picture-taking galore! And also, terrifying for many villagers, so that's not good, but seriously, I can't wait to look out the window tomorrow morning! Nighty night. Tea, shower, bed by 9:00. Don't forget to give me your email!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Morning Milking

Got up at half five this morning to learn to milk the cows! It wasn't too difficult getting out of bed; my room is warm, and I went to bed at 11:00 as opposed to my usual 1:30. It was crunchy and frosty and pitch black outside, but I warmed up as Ben and I cleared the muck out from under the cows and pushed it to the sides. In the afternoons we take the cows out first and then clean the byres and then bring them back in an milk them, but to save time in the mornings we just tidy up around them. Then I gave them hay and then Justin started teaching me!I've already learned how to clean the teats, so today he showed me how to prepare the machines and turn the air on (which goes into the machine, creates a vacuum and thus, suction which makes the walls of the tubes that go on the teats move in and out, squeezing the milk into the jug below. Most people assume the milk is sucked out, and it's not really. There is some suction, but mostly the air creates the squeezing and that's how it comes out. Okay, lesson over. So I cleaned them and them and then, after Justin demonstrated, I put the machines on myself. It's not so hard really, there's just a lot of little steps to remember.

This morning I'm in the food centre, then home for lunch, and I have a doctor's appointment at three to have my heart looked at and then Shepherd's Play rehearsal at 4:15 in the school, so this morning aside, no farming for me today. Oh, and then there's co-worker supper and the last evening of foundation course stuff.

Gotta get going. Peace.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Oh yeah, and we had Bible Evening last night and it was fine. Quaker-type silence for 20 minutes and a different prayer before the meal that i really liked, then the meal which was slightly fancier than usual, then we cleared the table and pulled out a few bibles and Nick read the passage which was about the apocolypse or something and it ended up being the Nick Poole Show a bit as these things tend to be, but that's just cuz he's like, really well learned and such. I said a few things about looking within ourselves but balancing it with looking outward and being in touch with the earth so we don't become too self-absorbed.

I slept this afternoon, then woke up for a shower and supper and everyone but Paule, Emily (who had a "rest day" to hopefully prevent her from refusing to get up on Monday) and Anthony went to the hall for a lecture. Being the first of Advent, I thought it would be about looking within ourselves and reflecting and preparing for Christmas, in which the birth of Christ represents the birth of our own inner-christ-being (or in Quaker terms, our inner light) and we take that inner light and kindle it during Advent and then hold it inside ourselves for the winter and in the spring take it out and plant it like a tree or something. It's kinda nice. I mean, sometimes its a bit too much religion for me, but it's nice religion I think. No fire and brimstone nonsense, although the Bible is a big part of it, and it's all very positive and how can we better ourselves so we can in turn better the world. Anyway, the lecture turned out to be totally boring and about Steiner and the guy rambled on forever but there was nice cello/violin music and eurethmy at the end.
Nighty night.


micha called me last night to say there was a gathering in the high farm barn and i was like shit it's gonna be freezing but i wanna hang out with peeps and drink. so i went and it turned out to only be jojo and gino, these two staff kids (jojo is cool but gino is annoying) and then this chick maisa who is also annoying sometimes showed up, and then ben (who i was SO happy to see at this point) showed up, and micha never even came because apparently she was um, busy, with Ben Abel, this other staff kid who lives in her house. so it sucked. then i spent all of this morning cooking and the meal was late and badly coordinated and yeah, pizza potatoes and red cabbage don't go together, but i didn't know what else to make and its only the second time i've cooked in my whole fucking life. the villagers enjoyed it, but i dont think paule did. she offered no sympathies towards my apologies. she also had a meeting to go to at 2:00 and we didnt eat until 1:30, so maybe thats why she was mad. but whatever. nick was nice and said it was very well done for a second try. then i had to do all the dishes while anthony and felicity tried to kill each other. so now i'm chillin in bed and feeling a bit blue and failureish. meh. time for nap and CSI and reading.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Shake n Bake

A lovely day. The sun managed to melt about a third of the frost, and by three o clock a huge fog rolled in and turned the air to soup. I spent the morning cleaning and doing laundry, and of course having tea break. I did Emily's hair for her after her bath, and for lunch we had Botton burgers and rice with stewed veggies on top. It was delish. Botton burgers are made from Botton cows and Botton garlic...makes me feel all sustainable and warm inside. Of course I said a little thank you in my mind to the lovely cow I was eating, hoping it had a speedy and painless death and wishing it a lovely afterlife in cow heaven.

After lunch I decided to experiment with gluten-free cookies, knowing that we don't have any xanthum gum. One recipe called for applesauce, and we didn't have any so I made some! I peeled and chopped some apples and threw them in a pot with some water and cinnamon and ground cloves and cooked them a bit and then whipped them with an immersion blender. Mom, you should get yourself one of these things for Xmas, they are the shizzz. So then I made the cookies. And boy howdy, it was interesting. This is the recipe I used: Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. I substituted almond flour for the rice protein powder, cream of tarter for baking powder (because the baking powder I found contained gluten), sultanas for raisens, and 1.5 cups of 'gluten free baking flour' for 1/2 cup potato flour 1/2 cup rice flour and 1/2 cup tapioca starch. The first batch came out dry, so I threw in an egg. Bad plan. Then they were really awful. So then I discovered gluten free baking powder in the larder and threw in another teaspoon of that, and they came out thicker but still falling apart. So the answer is...get some xanthum gum. You gotta have it. They taste fine, but I think I'll crumble them up in the apple sauce or something. The applesauce is bitchin' I', definitely making that again!

Tonight we have bible evening, and Paule has been decorating the house for advent with beautiful blue and white ribbons and candles and wall hangings of fresh greenery...there's a fire in the stove and the house smells like oatmeal raisin cookies. Yum. Time for a shower and some yoga, and then down to help Paule with supper. Peace.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Almost Advent

Frost over the dale lasted all day. Beautiful, but also slippery. Many villagers are terrified of slipping, and today their fears were quite legitimate. I fell on my ass on the sidewalk while taking the compost from the food centre to the gardeners. Luckily no one noticed as I'm sure it looked ridiculous.

Everyone is preparing for advent. The First of Advent celebration is Sunday night in the JoA Hall and I'm excited to see how this all works. I think it will be quite beautiful.

I think I forgot to say before that I've started learning how to milk the cows. The first step Justin has taught me is how to clean the teats. I know it sounds lame but it's kinda fun and it's sort of funny how you end up getting very familiar with the teats, like for example, Siskin's back two are very close together, Holly's are all really far apart and her udder's are super hairy because she won't allow anyone to shave her, Red Start has six nips cuz she got like, mutated or something, Whimbrel's are really nice and usually clean, and Violet has a big wart on one of hers.
We baled the last of the hay today up at High Farm and we got to some moldy dusty bits and I couldn't breathe at all and got totally wheezy and had to sit out for a while. And it was effing freezing it wasn't so fun. I'm super tired and snuffly, but not really all that sick so I dont feel like I could lie in bed all day without feling like an idiot.

Oh, did I mention that castrated the calf yesterday? It's a different kind of castration where you just put a rubber band around the nuts and they eventually fall off. It's way less painful than using the clippers. Anyway...what else...oh I had another heart bubble a few minutes ago, that sucked. I think I need to see a doctor next week. Crap. I'm sorry these blog entries are turning into a "what ails me today" kind of thing, but these things are really bothering me. I'm trying to be all "I am not this pain" mind over matter and all but it's seriously painful when it happens and I've never had it happen so frequently before. Anyway. Moving on.

Paule has asked that I prepare supper on Wednesdays and Sundays except for the Sundays when I cook lunch, and that's totally fine. I'm also putting Em to bed Mondays and Fridays because those are the only nights I don't have somewhere to be (choir, foundation course, shepherds play rehearsal, volleyball). I'm officially in the Shepherd's Play, playing one of the shepherds, "Huckle." Or is it "Muckle?" Phil is another one of the shepherds so we an run lines together. This is one of three Christmas/Advent plays that are in the whole Steiner/Waldorf world, and kids from Waldorf schools have seen them tons of times. Justin keeps spouting lines from it, his way of getting in the holiday spirit I suppose. I've worked out Christmas gifts, now I just need to go buy them! Mamma Mia posters for Emily and Steph, gardening gloves and the Amelie soundtrack for Paule, a James Bond poster for Flips, tea for Anthony, the Beatles 'Love' album for David (burned from my computer), Amadou and Mariam (from my computer again) for Phil, aaaand I kind of want to do some kind of gag gift involving dieting for Nick, or a Michael Pollan book. I don't know what to do for Katie, since she doesn't eat anything chocolate won't work, and I don't really know what she likes. Luke keeps saying he's getting me something, so I think maybe I'll make him a mixed CD, and do the same for everyone else I work with. Justin is really into alternative older stuff like Garbage, so I think I can come up with something. Okay I just had the worst heart bubble yet and actually knocked on Nick an Paule's door to possibly get some assistance (although I don't know what anyone could do) and I could hear some music and Nick didn't answer even though I knew he was in there so I poked my head in and he was zoning out with some headphones on so I said his name a few more times and waved my arms a bit but he didn't see me and by that point the bubble had popped and it was going away and I could breathe normally. I went downstairs, had some tea and watched the second half of the film people were watching in the sitting room. Afterwards I told Paule about the heart thing and she said she'll make an appointment for me to see Marcus (the doctor) on Tuesday morning. He comes to the village then, so it won't be an extra trip.
Okay whoa I just found my answer online. Hooray for the internet.
Pre-cordial Catch Syndrome
Shit there's no cure. Shit. I'm so mad. I'm going to sleep. Shit.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I saw the physical therapist today and she said there's basically nothing wrong with me but i'm "hyperextensive" and naturally more flexible than most people and my body is sore because i haven't been stretching the muscles enough and i'm doing all this intense manual labor and i've lost some range of motion and the pain is my body's way of saying it wants the flexibility back. does that make sense? Anyway she gave me some exercises to do. The heart thing happened in my sleep last night and woke me up and again in the barn this afternoon. Soo...i dunno. I feel like a hypochondriac, or like people are gonna think that i am but this pain is so real and so potentially bad that i really should get it looked at. but it feels like such a hassle to people. meh. Happy Turkey day to all ya'll who have one. I totally forgot about Thanksgiving. Oops.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Had two more heart bubble occurences today. The first while picking mangol roots for the cows and the second while walking down the stairs. Nick noticed the one on the stairs because he was coming down after me and all the sudden I stopped an had ragged breaths and clutched my They're not brought on by physical exhertion because I ran from Bracken to the village school (see map) and then played volleyball for two hours and was fine aside from a twisted ankle due to stupid things being on the ground behind me. Yeah that's about it. Oh and Lisa and I kept laughing because the instructor said "cheers" like six dozen times. Oh and I think there is something wrong with Micha cuz she was at volleyball for like a second and then left without saying anything, and she said she didn't come to foundation course this morning because she didn't feel like I'll have to check up on her. K. Me and my sniffles are going to bed. I would just like to state for the record that i am not a hypochondriac and I am super pissed that these things keep happening (the cold is just a cold and it's annoying but it's fine). No heart problems please, and stronger joints would be super. Can I ask for those things for Christmas?

Shoutout to Westtown

The dishwasher in the food centre. I freaked out when I saw this and Magda was like wtf is wrong with you.

Woke up this morning

with a cold. Yuck. Snot. Gross. Gotta go do some Eurethmy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

An Item of Concern

Here's one for the parents: um, there is something definitely wrong with my body. Perhaps I should milk England's free health care system for all it's worth and get a full body scan or something. Let me explain my sudden desire for medical attention: so sometimes I get chest pains, you know, like those kind of "fake heart attacks." But today in the byres I had the most horrible one I've ever had. At first I just couldn't take a deep breath without that little hitch in my chest (so maybe it's my lung) but then I could hardly breathe at all without really intense pain and then there was this feeling like a bubble bursting or popping and then the pain was gone and I could breathe normally. I was like, "what. the hell. was that." And that is on top of my ever persistent joint pain...can I NOT be 85 years old please? Okay, thanks.
Just had lunch at High Farm and told Claire about the whole thing and she was super cool and reassured me about the new family transition thing and said that considering what happened I was really mature and brave. Woot. Hooray for Botton Friends. I went to the weavery to get some yarn for a scarf and Emily was out of control misbehaving and threw an apple at another villager's head, so I walked her home and now I'm sending her back at Beirgut's request. Beirgut is the head of the weavery and her name sounds like Beer Gut. Heehee. She's really nice, but very stressed because she just took over the weavery and is a new hosue parent and all that. Anyway, time to send emily back and go to work on the farm. I got an hour off so I could chat with Claire.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I'm really tired, so this will have to be quick.

After lunch today I talked to Paule about what happened. At first it was really really bad and she said my note was a total character assassination, which, now that I think about it, I was definitely too harsh, and I tried to emphasize that I had written it when I was really upset. She said that she could do the same to me and my character, but she wont and if I am really so unhappy here there are two houses that desperately need a co-worker and I could move. I was thinking "shiitttt nooo" but instead I said, "I'm sorry I was so harsh in my note, I don't think you're stone cold. What I should have said is how much I admire you. You have sacrificed so much to be a house mother, I can't even imagine--your privacy, your posessions, and the only thing you have that is really yours is your routines and the way you do things. I have a lot of respect for you, and I don't want to leave, I want to learn from you how to be better." Yeah, Georgie I totally stole one of those lines from you, but it was so spot on I couldn't help it! After I said all that she calmed down a lot and we were able to talk more as equals. I said that it's hard because I'm not home a whole lot, but really if there is anything I can do to keep her stress levels down it would be better for everyone. She said that there isn't really anything more I can do and that I'm doing the same amount as the other co-workers she has had, but that her stresses are external, the main one being Nick's health, and the other being Emily's psycho parents and the process of essentially dismissing her from Botton. Sometimes I really love Em, but she needs more attention than we can provide, so she really can't stay. Okay, and then Paule dropped a bomb on my head. She said, "Well, if you are unhappy, you won't have to live with us much longer. Nick and I are leaving Bracken in February." WHAT?! Yeah. You hear that noise? That's my mind blowing. Basically they have been asked to step down as house parents and are being somewhat forced into retirement. I thought that she would be happy to retire after ebing a house mother for 30 years, but she said she is not ready. I suppose that makes sense as well. It would be hard to do one thing for so long and then suddenly be told you have to find something else to do. Paule hasn't even met the new family who will move in, but they have a 12 year old daughter and an 18 year old son. Whoa. Talk about different. And we'll have a new villager after Emily's insane! I'm gonna have to totally re-adjust to this new family, and the villagers will to, and I'm gonna have to be there for them and help the new family get to know everyone! It's so huge. The villagers don't kow yet, and I think they will be told after Christmas or something. Anyway, yeah. Crazy stuff. After a meeting about CVT in the hall tonight I went to Ben's with Ben and Lisa's and we ate chocolate and talked about life for an hour or so. It was nice. And now I'm sleepy and the weather outside is frightful. Slushy snow and hail. Blech. Goooodnight.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Oy. So. I took a shower and then went down and started preparing supper. I noticed that we didn't have any rolls, which we usually have on Sunday nights, and I knew Paule was in the sitting room, and I thought, "Shit. I'm gonna have to talk to her. Shit. I'm scared." So I went in and said, "Paule I couldn't find any buns, should I do bread for supper?" And she looked up and said cheerily, "Oh yes I think we ate them all at the Bible evening; do we have enough bread?" She was acting totally normal, like nothing had happened. So I went along with it. We went about preparing supper together and acting cheerful and damn Paule is either a really good actress, or she is actually fine after what happened. I had to leave in hte middle of supper to go to choir rehearsal for the Evening for Those Who Have Died that happened tonight. I was late already, but I ran into Ben and Liza on the way and when they asked me why I wasn't at the party last night I told them everything. Ben had a lot of trouble in Nook House and eventually moved out, so he could totally relate. Liza was just like whooaaa shit. I got to the hall really late but found out that the rehearsal was actually at 6:00, so I REALLY missed it! But I figured out what we would do and then did it. It was just two songs (the horrid Japanese song about eh end of the world, and a nice one called Who Stands at the Threshold) and then we sat down. It was lovely. There were several Eurethmy performances accompanied sometimes by Timothy Edwards doing what I think was Speech Eurethmy, which is like...I can't describe it. Sometimes it was in a different language and sometimes it was in English, but there were a lot of rolled r's and it was almost like it had a melody but not quite. Very cool. And the others were accompanied by beautiful cello violin and piano music. Afterwards I saw Andreas in the foyer and he asked why I wasn't at the party and I said, "Got an hour?" He said, "Yeah." So we went outside and talked/smoked (I know, I know, I promise not to get cancer) for like two hours in the freezing cold. He's the best person to talk to ever. We like, have the same brain or something. Except his is german. Anyway I came home and talked to Phil about it all (he had seen and heard it all anyway) and he said he had seen it coming for a long time. I was like, wait, am I stupid or something? Has Paule been pissed at me for a while and I somehow didn't notice? But he said no, she's just been getting more and more stressed out and the whole Bible evening affair was exceptionally stressful because for her everything has to be perfect. And I'm like, that's so fucking stupid! What a completely inane thing to be stressed out about! In the grand scheme of things, who gives a shit if your bible evening isn't perfect? She just causes more stress for herself than necessary I think it is so ludicriss when people stress themselves out over little tasks, but it's even worse when they take it out on others. Laaame. Phil said she fights with Madeline like that too...which is kind of a relief to hear. I've heard all this stuff about how Madi and I are supposedly really similar and I've been thinking, "Ok, so does Paule yell at her like that?" And the answer is yes.
I think things will be okay. I thought of a good plan tonight, and that is that I want to have a day with Paule where she can show me how to do some of the things she does so perfectly, like slicing the bread and the cheese and the meat in these perfect slices and really talk to her about what happened and why and how she feels about the note I left her (which I noticed is no longer on ehr door, meaning she must have read it by now), but I don't know if she wants to talk about it. It's a big problem if she doesn't. Sweeping it under the rug doesn't do anyone any good. So I'm going to go to High Farm tomorrow and talk to Claire as well. I feel like I've recited this story a million times by now and it still feels like a bad dream.

Excuse Me While I Scream.

I might have to come home soon. Let me explain:

Yesterday after lunch it was very quiet in the house. Nick and Paule and Phil were nowhere to be found, when Mickey, the house mother from Nook called. She wanted to know if we were having supper in our house because everyone in Nook was going somewhere for Bible Evening. This week's bible evening was different; usually each house has its own, but this week we would be meeting in the same saturday night groups we've been meeting in to discuss life in Botton. As I understood it, bible evening involves a supper followed by discussion of a passage from the bible. So naturally, I assumed it happened at 6:30 and I would be the only one here, preparing and hosting supper for Stephanie Anthony and Katie, who haven't been participating in the Saturday night discussion groups. So I told Mickey that we would be happy to have one of Nook's villagers here for supper. I went for a walk up to a rock cliff on the top of the moor behind Dalehead (see map) and left a note in the kitchen saying I would be back by 5:00. It was snowy and snowing and lovely. I do love exploring around here.

When I got back I looked around for Nick so I could help him set up the hall and Katie told me he already went over to set up and I thought, "crap!" and ran over to the hall but no one was there. I played the piano for a bit and when Nick didn't show up I went back to the house. I found him there and we went back to the hall and set up. As we were setting up we talked about the Bible Evening and how it works and how no one is trying to convert me or anything and I said I don't believe in the bible as a holy book and he said that's fine, even in the group they just read a passage and talk about how it can be helpful to us today. So it's totally fine. Nick also explained to me the timing of the Bible evening. It doesn't start until 7:45, and the meal is at 8:00! Okay, I thought, so Mary (from Nook) and the rest of us will eat at 6:30 and everyone from Bracken will still be there. No problem.

I went back to Bracken and the minute I walked into the kitchen I saw Paule storming around the kitchen, clearly angry. I don't remember the exact words but she was pissed that I had invited Mary over for supper without asking. I said, "But no one was here! And I knew we were having supper here, so I didn't see the problem!" She said, "What do you mean no one was here?!" It was like she didn't believe me! She kept yelling at me about it, saying I should have written that she was coming in the note I left, but I figured I would see her again before supper and could tell her then. I apologized and went upstairs. I was feeling a bit shaky, but I went back down. I looked in the sitting room and saw that the dining room table was set for a lot of people. I asked Katie what that was for and she said "Paule's bible evening group." I thought, "Shit," and asked her where we would eat. She said the kitchen. I went back into said kitchen and asked Paule if I could help with anything. She was busy making food for her bible evening, which I assumed was in the college because that's where her saturday evening group had been meeting. She yelled, "You know what, use your eyes! Look around for once in your life!" I went into the larder and started crying. She came in a few minutes later and snapped, "Yeah, that's right, stand here and cry. Very mature." I looked up at her, completely in shock, and said "I'm sorry! I didn't know you were having Bible evening here! I thought you would be at the college!" And she yelled, "Because you never listen! You are always talking talking talking but I realize that you never listen you have no idea what's going on around you! So now you are in here crying like a baby!" And she walked out. I stood reeling for a moment and then ran out of the larder and slammed the door and ran upstairs crying. She called after me, "Robin! That is no way to behave! If you are going to act like a child you can just pack your bags and leave!" I ran into my room and cried until I puked. Then I started packing. I started formulating a plan. I grabbed a notepad and pen, some clothes and other things and as I was doing so there was a knock on my door. I was silent. After a few more knocks Paule said, "robin, they are waiting for their supper. Please come down and give them their supper." I opened the door and said, "And then I'm leaving." And she said, "Great."

So I went down and gathered the non-bible-evening-goers into the kitchen and told them to dig in. I was so confused and shaky and terrified I didn't eat a thing. I tried to put on a good face for the villagers who, thank god, are not so great at perceiving emotions. I kept thinking, "What if this is the last time I see Steph? And Anthony? Am I leaving? What's happening?" When everyone had finished we blessed the meal and cleaned up and when we had finished I went back upstairs and grabbed my bag threw on my coat and walked to the barn. I made a nest in the straw loft and hunkered down for a cold night. I had brought my book light and got it out and wrote a super long note to Paule saying that I don't want to leave and I want desperately for us to be friends and for this to work but she has GOT to stop expecting the same level of perfection she achieves from me. And I told her that it is extremely hard for me to relate to her because back home all the women in my life are kind and sweet and affectionate and compared to them she is stone cold. And that no adult has ever spoken to me like she did tonight and she may think I'm childish, but that was the most immature reaction I've ever seen from a grownup. I told her that from day one I have been trying my best, but my best never seems to be good enough for her, so I push myself harder and harder, working so hard on the farm that I'm in constant pain, and doing everything I'm asked to do in the food centre and doing it well, but she doesn't see those things. I'm not home very often, but even then I'm doing everything she asks and asking her if she needs help all the time and not just doing things because I don't want to screw something up. I have never worked so hard to gain someone's approval before, mostly because my best has always been good enough, great even.

So after a while in the barn I realized I was gonna freeze to death so I snuck into Honey Bee Nest and slept in Luis's bed. He was at Ben's for the night and in the morning he came in and was like "what? what are you doing here?" So i told him everything and he was like..."shit." He said I could hide in his room for as long as I want. But around 2:00 I was so hungry and fed up with inaction I decided to go face the music. I went back to Bracken and taped my note to Paule's door. Then I went down to the kitchen and made tea and toast and hung out with Stephanie. I felt so weird, like it wasn't my house anymore. I mean, Paule had told me to get out. So it was like I was in some stranger's house eating their food and using their I was completely unwelcome. I could hear Paule in the next room and I knew she could hear me too, and walked by once but neither of us said a word. I've been in my room ever since, writing this and hanging out with Steph, who is sitting at my desk with her coloring book. We're listening to the Mamma Mia soundtrack. I plan on telling Paule I slept in the barn if she asks. I want her to feel bad about kicking me out. I actually didn't want to come back for days and make her scared and regret what she'd done, but at the same time I figured she would take my running away as yet another sign of my immaturity, so I came back. And now supper is soon, and I need a shower and I think I'll make the supper because Paule will be pissed no matter what so I might as well try to ease her bad mood and help her out. Jesus I want to go home where people are nice. But that would make me more of a failure than I already am. I mean *I* don't think I'm a failure, Paule does. But leaving here would make me feel like one. Okay. Here goes.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid

Shitshitshitshitshit. Uuuugghhhh!!!! Okay so I'm pissed. Last week after the Saturday evening groups I told Nick that I didn't want to go to the Bible evening that would happen the following Saturday (tonight). I said that I am very spiritually confused as it is and I can't handle any more input and my brain is too crowded with complex thoughts about what I believe; he said it was fine, he would just need some help setting up in the hall but I didn't have to stay. So then 20 minutes ago at lunch the topic came up again and Nick reminded me that he would need my help setting up even though I'm not going. Paule asked me why I wasn't going (in her usual condescension-tinged tone) and again I explained that I am very spiritually confused as it is and more input is very overwhelming. She said, "Well it's okay for this time I suppose but we have Bible evening every week here (in Bracken) and you are expected to go." I said, "Yes, well I'll need to talk to you about that." She went on to say that I must have known that I was coming into a Christian Community based village and I "must have read the papers they sent you." I said I never recieved any papers detailing the religious life of Botton and I knew only what the website described and what I heard from Georgie. She insisted that papers must have been sent to me, and pointed out that I don't have the excuse of not being able to speak English. I gritted my teeth and said, "Yes, that's true. But I don't remember seeing any papers. All I got was a map and pamphlet about the workshops." Paule said that I hadn't even been to a Bible evening yet so I don't know what they're like, and I said that I am certainly not one to dislike something I had never been to and I will go to one at some point. Nick compared the situation to someone coming to Botton and refused to do the washing up because they didn't like it which is RIDICULOUS because the washing up isn't a BELIEF. We're talking about BELIEF here people, not fucking sudsy water. Jesus christ I hate shit like this. I hate the bible and christianity. Okay that's less than true...I respect other people's beliefs, but I can't fucking stand it when those beliefs are foisted on me. I don't think the Christian Community is very fire-and-brimstone based, but I think the bible is total shit and I would have an anurism if I had to sit around and talk about it. Mostly because I wouldn't agree with any of it but force myself to keep my mouth shut, which is hard enough as it is. Ugh. Stupid religion.


yeah that's about it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

In Kneed of a Day Off

So I didn't go to the doctor today. Upon waking my knee felt better and I walked around doing the breakfast only noticing pain if I straightened my leg all the way. But by the time breakfast was over I could tell that by walking around I had made it worse. I didn't really want to go back to bed (I know, shocking) because it would make me feel lazy and useless, so I asked Paule for a lift to the food centre. It started snowing (!!!!!!!!!!!) when I went out to the car, and until lunch time the dale was covered in a light dusting of white. It was a very quiet morning in the food centre, sitting around scraping and peeling labels off of jars.
Got a lift home from Peter Shvitezer (he's german...i wont even pretend like I know how to spell his last name, that's just how it's pronounced), and did the washing up after lunch. I saw Justin while I was waiting for my lift and told him I would't be on the farm and he said he had assumed as much by my limp. So after lunch I asked Paule if there was anything I could do around the house that involved minimal knee use and she asked me to clean the bathroom. So I did that, and then played with Selma, Paule's granddaughter who is 11 months old. She is SO cute. Like, the cutest sweetest makes-you-want-one kind of baby. Then I worked on my foundation course booklet and futtzed with my computer and then took a really nice long hot bath and read Travels with Charley and rubbed Arnica ointment on all my joints. I did some yoga after my bath and while transitioning from "child pose" to "cat pose" my knee went POW! and now it doesn't hurt when I walk but the clicking is way louder now and it still hurts when I fully straighten my leg, so I have no idea if the loud pow noise was good or not. We'll see. But now I am bored and want to go hang out with people but the idea of walking to the centre is rather daunting simply because it is so effing cold outside. Actually it's the walking back part that sucks. Anyway. We'll see. Cheers.


Hey sorry about the lack of postage, I've been a "busy lady" (that's what Howard calls Magdalena sometimes). Yesterday we had out co-worker stuff in the morning and it was uneventful. Micha invited me over for a movie/sleepover type thing and I said yesyesyes because she's been really great and I so needed some girl time. In the afternoon we baled hay at High Farm and it was really cool working with the big noisy baler and it reminded me of Hank and Sheryl and how bad-ass they are. We went back to Honey Bee to have "lady time" as Ben likes to call it, meaning we put the cows out in the yard and mucked out the byres, and then Justin took Ben and I back to High farm to load the bales onto the wagon and bring them to HB and then we unloaded them into the barn while Luis did the milking and then we finished up with the barn chores and it was time for supper but Ben and Luis and I all volunteered to help Justin with another load from High Farm, so we all piled illegally into the tractor and went back up and got another load. When we got to the barn we realized that six bales had fallen off, but luckily they weren't too far away. So then Justin Ben and Luis went in for supper and I fed White Bean (who is now in the birthing stall) and locked up the chickens. By the time I got back to Bracken it was 7:00 and I was half an hour late for supper...and starving. I apologized and explained that we had had a lot of work to do on the farm and the way Paule reacted I may as well have been taking a nap and overslept! It was so annoying! I barely managed to down two rice cakes when she said, "we're clearing now," and then all the food was taken away! So I worked my ass off and then got like, no food. It sucked. So then as I was putting the stuff away I told Paule that I had signed up to participate in a volleyball class (which I had, a week or so ago, and I forgot to tell her until then) and I told her that the first class was "tonight at that okay?" And in response I got "well I guess I don't have much of a choice now do I?" Okay yes, I should have told her before. But she was kinda rude. Anyway I was totally late already and I still had to brush Steph's teeth, so I packed my overnight bag and did her teeth and ran out the door. Another problem: the class meets in the village college. Look at the map. I practically ran there and I was still about half an hour late. But it was awesome! SO much fun, and I have no idea where all my energy came from. It was nice to be athletic! The coach was really nice and there were three people from outside the village in the class as well and we ran some drills and learned some skills and then played a game and it was great but also painful because when you're not used to having a volleyball smack into your forearms over and over it starts to hurt soooo bad.

So on my way up to Micha's (Old Botton Farm) I met this cat on the path, and he was big and fat and squishy and purring and I picked him up and started carrying him with me and he climbed up onto my shoulders and I walked at least 500 yards with a cat on my shoulders, which is like, one of my life goals.

We (Micha and I, not the cat and I) watched Calendar Girls, and if you haven't seen so! It was so cute. Before we went upstairs Micha grabbed me a bag of rice cakes and some jam since I mentioned I hadn't eaten much supper.Then we had girly bonding time and then we went to sleep. She forgot to ask her houseparents if I could stay over, so I didn't go to breakfast. She brought me some tea (I was like a stowe-away or something) in the morning and I had another rice cake. I looked like a zombie and my stomach groweled non-stop, but I got through the morning in the food centre. At tea break I went to the coffee bar and told Maisa I was hungry because I missed breakfast and she snuck me some cheese and a banana.

On the farm in the afternoon we walked all the way to the fields past the village centre and harvested potatoes and it SUCKED. It was freezing cold and muddy and Luke was pissing me off and being his usual rude antagonizing self and my whole body was aching from baling the hay and walking in wellies all the time. Eventually we walked back to the farm and had lady time and then tea break and then Justin started teaching me how to milk. Basically it's really simple, but there ae like a million steps and you have to remember it all so he teaches it in phases. Phase one, which I learned today, involves going around wiping the teats and squirting some milk out to get it flowing and flush out any dirt or bacteria. So I finally milked a cow! Well I squirted out a few squirts...still. Woot.

Anyway, the main thing is that I was walking around the byred when suddenly my knee started clicking and slipping around in the kneecap and I was like, "whoaaa shit! Help, ouch, help." Justin felt it and said, "Um, knees shouldn't do that. That's not good." So I hobbled around giving White Beany her food (still no calf yet) and bedding to Half Pint and Full Pint and brushing the muck off the cows. By the time I came in the door at Bracken I was close to tears it hurt so badly. I went in the kitchen where Paule was putting groceries away. She asked how my afternoon was and I squeakd, "Well, I'm gonna need to go to the health centre tomorrow...and I'm gonna need a lift." I explained about my knee and she was very concerned and said she would set up a doctor's appointment because the health centre can't help with knee injuries. she gave me some Arnica ointment for the meantime. I was supposed to have gone to choir tonight, but there was no way I was walking to the JoA Hall. So we all watched Amelie instead. It really is the best movie ever. And watching it again I realized just how well Aimee and I (okay it wa definitely mostly Aimee and her artistic touch) replicated the feeling of Amelie's room in our dorm room.

So hopefully tomorrow I'll go to the doctor's. Because seriously...ow. But for now, time for sleep. Gotta make breakfast tomorrow.

Monday, November 17, 2008


A dreary day began with a splitting headache. Called Magdalena and told her I could come in at tea break but needed time for the ibuprofen to kick in, but she said she could manage without me and I should go ahead and take the morning off. So I slept. Got up for lunch and another one of Emily's incidents. This makes four "problem Mondays" in a row. Today she got up and went off to work in Martin House with no troubles but apparently sat on the floor and refused to work after tea break. Alan, the house father in Martin House, drove her back to Bracken and dropped her off outside, where she stood in the freezing cold mist and refused to come inside. It's hard to describe this properly. Most people would think this was kind of sad and like, why didn't we go outside and coax her in. But the thing is, it's SO annoying because she KNOWS she should come in an eat lunch, and she just stands there saying "Emily, why don't you go inside where it's warm?" to herself. Eventually she came in and spent the rest of the day in her room. I went to work in the afternoon and we cleaned out the upper barn some more and did the ladies (milked the cows) and cleaned up Whimbrel a bit because she's supposed to be white and her whole backside is almost black with muck and she has mucousy blood hanging in strings around her tail from her miscarriage.

We played some games at the neighborhood meeting and then I hung out in the kitchen at Honey Bee Nest and talked with Tracy (house mother) and Luis. The end.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Time for Bed

But I should say that I just added, at Rick's request, this lovely map on the right hand side of the blog. Hope it's helpful!

Partied at High Farm last night and played a drinking game in which one attempts to pick up a spinning two-pence coin with one's fingers, and upon missing gets flicked in the knuckles with the coin by one's opponents. Needless to say, my hand hurt this morning. Slept the morning away and then went to the coffee bar after a big lunch of Botton chicken and veggies. Grabbed some chocolate covered marzipan (my latest vice) and a bottle of pineapple juice and hiked up to the top of the moor behind Faulken Farm. Didn't quite get all the way to where I wanted because..well it gets dark at 4:30. But it was nice to be alone with my thoughts in the fresh air. Actually I hiked up there yesterday too...I'm enjoying hiking and thinking and humming and listening and being quiet and alone. Feeling generally mercurial. Very social, and yet very anti-social. For example, I went to the barn dance in the Joan of Arc Hall tonight to experience the barn dance scene, and I danced a few dances, but I just wasn't feeling my usual enthusiastic self. Whatever, maybe I'll be normal tomorrow. Night.

Friday, November 14, 2008

almost forgot

A strange thing...had a conversation with someone today about miscarriages and then found out in the afternoon that Whimbrel miscarried her calf! Luis found it in a bloody puddle of placenta in the byres this morning. A few days ago I noticed a big string of discharge coming out of Whimbrel and I asked Justin about it. He said it rarely means anything bad...but I was right! Anyway she wasn't due until March, so the fetus was sized, according to Luis. Kinda sad, and also means that Whimbrel is totally useless as a milker for about a year. She'll stay at Honey Bee Nest until the spring, and then she'll probably go to Stormy Hall (another Botton farm). Sorry if I just grossed anyone out.

nothing happening tonight

so i'm just sitting in bed waiting for the latest episode of Grey's to load and passing the time playing Phil's guitar (which hasn't left my room in a week) and memorizing the human cardiovascular system. I feel so out of touch with the book I've forgotten everything I learned in school. Poof. It sucks, I feel so dumb! I need to read a biology textbook and home-school myself and do some math so that when I go to college I'm not like HOLY SHIT I DON'T KNOW WHAT HEMOGLOBIN IS. I still do, but for how long? Hence the studying. I found a tomb of a book in the library about human anatomy that's like 3000 pages. I think I might check it out and read the whole thing. Why humans and not animals you ask? Because...I think maybe I want to be a doctor? Maybe? Who effing knows. The human body is just so nice and big and full of big squishy organs and blood and muscle and bone and things to be sliced and sewn and fixed and I'm worried that the vet business won't give me so many thrills. As Felicity would say, "Oh gawsh."

just got back from the pub

so my spelling might not be so acurate. just putting it out there. so how did i eend up at a pub? it's great. this morning at th food centre magdalena asked what i was doing tonight and i said nothing so she said that linde and bridget (two staff kids who are super cool and i met at the party in skylark and are about to embark on an epic six month journey to australia and brazil) want to go to the local pub with some people and since we can only take one van/bus thingy, only some people are invited--and i'm one of those people!! I'm like, a cool kid! i felt so special :P like i got picked for the good team or something. i only just met/really talked to them last saturday and then i wooed them with my singing (jk) and now, yay, pub invite. so the rest of the day went on without incident. we cleaned out a room in the barn on the farm in the faternoon and it was nice inside work because it was raining and such outside and blech i didn't feel like working i was so tired. so after supper (which was very long and yummy) i got money from paule and ran to choir practice in Sherwood and i was late but Solara, the real choir leader, was back fomr her holiday and she is a way better choral director than Claire and it was good up until we started singing that awful japanese song about the apocolypse and then i was like sweet i'm leaving and i peaced out. i went to the joan of arc nall and read an anatomy book for a bit an then went outside and eventually everyone showed up (we were meeting there to go to the pub) and we drove around botton for a bit looking for this guy tommy who was supposed to come with us bbut we didn't find him so we went without him. we went to the fox and hounds in danby and it was the coolest cutest little perfect pub with a few locals sitting aroun the bar when we came in. we got our drinks and got a whole room to ourselves, complete with a pool table! ordering a drink was SO fucking cool. i felt...all growed up lol. i brought my passport with me jus in case she thought i looked like i was twelve but i didn't get carded at all. so then we sat around chatting an laughing and going out for smokes and it was WONDERFUL. so nice and bondy. andreas and i had this huge conversation about life and sciene and learning and spirituality and talking to animals and it was so fucking cool to be like "i talked to my cat when she was dying and she talked back," and have someone reply with a story about getting a cow ready for slaughter and having it say "please don't kill me." it was just generally amazing. i love the people here. we are all so different and coming from such different places, even thoug most of them are german lol. so we were there for a few hours and then magda drove us all back. SO nice of her to be our deisgnated driver. it feels so late but really its ony actually i'm going to sleep earlier thn usual! i should go out mroe often!s-= sooo now it's time to sleep. except i have to make my bed. crap. okay. nighty nights.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It was grand...Grand Mal that is!

I had the worst dream in the history of dreams last night. I killed Lucy. I was at home, in the field next to the garden and I took a big knife and cut her down the middle ad stabbed her over and over and then I was screaming and crying and confessing to mom what I had done and it was supposedly because she had rabies and I had forgotten that there is a cure. I vaguely remember waking up afterward feeling very sweaty and wondering what time it was before falling back to sleep. The next time I woke up I looked at the clock and it was 8:20; I had slept right through breakfast and my alarm. Probably what happened was that when I woke up the first time I turned off the alarm but I don't remember it at all. Also I wasn't wearing a shirt and I don't remember taking it off. So I threw on some clothes, ran downstairs, dumped some cereal down my throat and ran off to the Joan of Arc Hall for eurethmy. As part of the foundations course we have to do an "artistic group," and I signed up for eurethmy. It's fine...kind of like Thai-chi meets Quaker ice-breaker games. I was late, and the whole morning I couldn't get the nightmare out of my head. I told Ben about it and we tried to analyze it but decided it probably had more to do with the fact that yesterday I told some people a story about a woman who was attacked by a rabid raccoon (heard on This American Life podcast). During tea break I ran to the food centre and chatted with Magdalena and confirmed that I would be going to her house, Skylark, for lunch. So after our Foundations lecture on genetic disorders I had a lovely gluten-free meal. Anne Fibbs, a villager in Skylark, also has Coeliac disease, worse than I do, and she seemed pleased that someone shared her fate.

On the farm in the afternoon we hiked up the moor to a blocked drain that Justin has been digging up for weeks. A quick lesson on drains: it rains here. A lot. There are drains running underneath the fields that were built hundreds of years ago by Quakers (HOLLA) and are made of rocks. They have a tendency to collapse and are slowly being replaced by plastic pipes. If the drains are blocked, the water goes into the fields and stunts the growth of the grass and promotes the growth of this scabby reed stuff that the cows don't eat. Okay, onto the story.

So we dug away and I worked my ass off and probably hurt my back again but I refused to switch off with Luis because I hate standing around and doing nothing because it makes me feel like a slacker and I hate that. We dug and pulled out rocks and clay and mud for two hours, and then we went back to the byres and took out the cows and started cleaning.

We were almost finished, and Ben and I were the only one's left in the byres when he suddenly made a funny noise. I turned to look at him and he was turning his head really far around, bending his neck at a bizarre angle. His eyes were unfocused and he started stumbling around. I thought, "Oh great! No one told me he had seizures! Thanks a lot!" but as I was thinking that I went into total...I don't know what kind of mode to call it, I was just super focused and like, "okay, I know what to do." I ran over to him and caught him as he slumped against the wall. Unfortunately he had slumped into the corner where we keep the pitchforks and shovels and things, so I steered his head away from those and held onto it, keeping one hand in between his head and the wall as he went completely rigid and quaked all over. Neil came in and saw the scene and called for Justin. Oddly enough I hadn't thought to call for help. So Justin came in as Ben lay on the floor foaming and spitting blood onto his arm because he had bitten his tongue. Justin moved the tools out of the way and kneeled down beside Ben and he was SO calm and casual about the whole situation because he's seen it so many times. He said that Ben's papers specifically said he did NOT have grand mal seizures, just little ones. "Never trust a piece of paper," he said. After a few minutes the seizing ceased. Justin asked Ben if he and Luis could move him to the hay bales to sit down and I realized Luis was standing behind me. I stepped back and let them pick him up and place him on the bales. He looked completely disoriented and still had bloody saliva around his mouth. Justin asked me to open the gates so they could walk him to the house where he would rest for a while. Only after they had gone into the house did I realize my hands were shaking uncontrollably...I hadn't felt scared or stressed or anything when he had the fit, but now I was all shaky and hyped up. Probably the adreniline rush. Maybe I should be a doctor. I don't think vets get the same kind of action. I am soooo Christina (that reference is for mom). Anyway it was intense and I'm glad it happened because it made me realize I can handle a crisis quite easily and, (I realize this is a bit sick, and probably a good reason for being an ER doc or something) I kind of liked it! All the excitement, frenzy, and even a bit of blood! I'm not saying I hope someone severs their femoral artery so I can save them, I'm just saying...maybe I should be a doctor!

So all in all, a very intense day. Dog killing, grand mal seizures, oh and then I brought the cows back into the byres by myself because I had a total brain lapse and thought we brought them in before tea break when really we do it after. Two of the cows went to the wrong spots and the cow's whose spots they were in got mad and there was lots of scuffling and it was a actually more nerve racking than Ben's seizures. Eventually Luis came in because he wondered where I was at tea break and I felt like an idiot for doing it wrong. Also, before Ben's episode, I got really pissed again because I got the wheelbarrow out and started doing one of the many mucking out jobs in the byres and I was pitching the straw/muck into the wheelbarrow and then taking it outside and pitching it onto the muck heap and Luis asked if he should do it "because of your back" and it made me mad at myself for not being able to do it as fast or as easily as he can and I KNOW it's not my fault I weigh 110 and have no upper-body strength but it makes me mad and I put that anger into heaving big steaming piles of muck onto the muck heap and then I hurt myself. Cool. Not.

So now I'm very sore and tired from the digging and the seizing and the pitch-forking and all that, and must definitely go to sleep. Nighty night. Here's to hoping that nightmare isn't a recurring one...

oh, today

bad afternoon. intense farm work involving lots of mud/pulling/stopping/hyperventilating/crying/pulling/stopping/falling/crying/hyperventilating/you get the idea. i get pissed at myself for not being able to do things even though it is so not my fault i weigh 110 pounds and have no upper body strength, and then i get pissed when people help me or think i need help when really i do need help i just don't want to admit it and then hurt myself or cry instead. also i think i'm PMSing. that would explain the spontaneous tears that happened like ten times today. i smelled a horse's forelock and burst into tears...THAT was weird. brought back all kinds of weird/sad/confusing feelings since i haven't smelled a horse in like four years. i felt really bad for stopping horseback riding when i went to i abandoned the horses. when i went home i always felt like i should visit them, and i did a few times, but then i stopped. i've always felt gulty about that for some reason and i guess smelling the horse created this weird flashback sensation. anyway. the forelock smelling came after the intense farm work was finished and justin asked if i was okay because I looked pissed off and I said i was fine but then handed my jacket and hat and gloves to Luis and said I would meet them back at the byres because I had to do something. I took off my wellies and walked barefoot up to Mickey's horses and, well, all the emotional weirdness happened. So, still barefoot, I walked back to the byres and, still barefoot, helped with the mucking out. I felt better, calmed down. Justin noticed my lack of footwear and I said, "I'm actually usually barefoot, but because of the whole 'set a good example' thing, I haven't been since I got here." and he said its totally not a problem and he worked with someone once who never wore shoes. eventually, after tea break, my feet were a bit numb with cold, so i went back to bracken and washed them off and put my socks and wellies back on.

Luis and i walked and talked our way to the co-worker supper and supper was yummy and then i went to the cottage with Micha and Maisa to do wool pictures for our craft group as part of the foundation course. Christiana, the woman who led it, is a bit cooky. she was correcting people's pictures and telling them to do it a different way and i'm thinking, um, it's art. chill out. but it was nice, and the walk back was long (the cottage is up by New Botton Farm on the other side of the village) but the moon was full and I didn't have a torch so it was pretty.

now i'm up too late again. balls.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Asleep by 9:45 last night. Um, still tired. Want more sleep.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Up Late Again

So i think i'm starting to go into insomniac mode again...i keep thinking "okay i'll go to sleep now," but then i just lay in bed forever and am bored and then have to wake up at 7:20 and work all day and at the end of the day i should be totally exhausted but instead of going to bed I stay up and talk to Phil in the kitchen over three ups of tea and then fiddle around on my computer and read Travels with Charley and get the idea.

Anyway last night there was a party in Skylark and Luis and Shelia and I walked there together and about halfway there the steady rain became a torrential hurricane-like downpour with horizontal drops soaking us to the core. We got to the house and realized we would have to hang out in our underwear because there was no way we could sit on the furniture or anything. So Luis was a genius and decided we should go to the Botton Boutique and grab some random trousers to wear for the evening. Yeah, I said trousers; and the Botton Boutique is a little room full of second-hand clothing from the village and it's always unlocked just like everything else in the village. So we ran there, grabbed clothes and ran back to Skylark and put on these ridiculous trousers. Mine actually fit, which was pretty awesome considering i just looked at them and guessed they might fit. So it was a lovely gathering and I finally met Linde, a good friend of Georgie's (my Australian life-saver who lived in Botton two years ago) and she is SO cool and nice, as is Bridget, another staff kid. The party was for the two of them because they're leaving next week to travel the world. Sounds like a very exciting trip. I was talking about music with Andreas and I saod something about how Christina Aguilara is actually really talented and has amazing range and control and such and he said something like "you must sing or something to know this stuff," and i was like "welllll yeah," and he said "prove it" and suddenly there was a guitar and i was singing "Let him Fly" which for some reason is always the first song i sing to people. It was really nice to play again and everyone was so cute and sleepy (it was around 3:00) and they were like, "keep singing, keep singing sing us to sleep!" so i kept going and it was nice except i couldn't remember shit and had no idea what to play and people would ask if i knew a song, and when it comes down to it, I really don't know shit about music and I really know like five songs by heart. Magdalena was super super nice and gave us Honey Bee Nesters a ride home so we didn't have to drag ourselves home at 5:00 in the rain.

So this morning I got up at....noon. And had a huge lunch as usual (mom and dad, seriously you should see me eat, I eat a plateful and then ask for seconds and eat the same amount again) and then did the washing up and then got dressed and ready for going to the cinema to see James Bond. Luis's house isn't going (most of the houses already went--as a side note I must say that there are two universal obsessions in the village: Abba and James Bond; the two couldn't be more different, but almost every villager one meets loves either one or both of these things) so he came with us. I was worried that people in the "real world" would be mean or rude to the villagers (Steph, Anthony and Felicity) but everyone was very nice. Of course some people made curious glances and a few gawked a bit, and I'm sure people wondered what Luis and I were doing with a middle aged lady and three mentally challenged adults of various ages. I felt a little funny. It was just such a stark contrast. It's kind of hard to explain...part of me felt a bit embarrased to be perfectly honest. I saw all these kids my age getting popcorn and laughing and chilling with their friends and just being teenagers, and here I was having to be a grownup and take Anthony to the men's room and help Steph buy some candy. So I was a little envious of the sheer carefree attitude. Another part of me felt proud for being mature and helping people and giving back and all that. And part of me just wanted to be elsewhere. Going into the real world...kind of sucks. Being surrounded and bombarded with materialism and capitalism and all this shit just makes me wanna hug a tree and sleep in a field and plant some flowers and snuggle with a cow. I'm such a fucking hippie. Nice. Anyway I think I'll NOT go to sleep now. Ta. Oh I think the time displayed at the bottom of the blog posts is wrong every time. It's currently 12:50 AM. 'Night.

Friday, November 7, 2008


So I had this really nice entry for yesterday but then it was deleted (annoying) so now I'm just going to say that I was sick in bed all day with crampy painful stomach/chest/gut/who knows feelings and woke up and fell asleep over and over. At one point I woke up to total darkness and assumed I had slept through supper, but the clock read 4:45. A persistent mist hs hung around the dale for the last three days, blocking out the sun, and the change in latitude alone creates a shorter day. I got up for supper and again felt queasy after eating (wtf is wrong with me!) but we had a lovely evening together in the sitting room. Paul reading Country Living Weekly, Nick and I reading the newspaper, Felicity and Steph working away on their coloring books, Anthony staring at the coffee table, silently willing someone to make tea, David puttering in and out of the room while Nick poked fun at him, and Emily singing a happy birthday song about baked beans and soggy sausage sandwiches (the girl has a serious food obsession). Phil had fallen asleep in his room but appeared a while later. Paule eventually went into the kitchen and came back a few minutes later with a tray of tea (much to Anthony's delight) and a basket of chocolates. This is my favorite thing we do. I think some of the other houses don't hang out as much as we do; in this respect we're very much a family. Anyway we all gathered round and picked out a chocolate and basked by the fire in the stove and laughed merrily and it was all very cute.

Today I went back to work (after staying up until 3:30 because I slept all day) and had a very tiring but normal day. Oh and Howard burst into "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and ran right into "Eidelweis" and then "Yesterday," much to everyone in the food centre's delight. And I got it all on film. When I told him to bow at the end of his stunning performance, he gave me the silliest bow I've ever seen, it was really more of a head-bang! Anyway, tomorrow night there's a party at Skylark, Magdalena's house, and tonight I'm going to sleep nice and early in order to stay up super duper late tomorrow and drink and be merry.