July 25, 2011

Goodbye Pammy. You drove us mad, but knowing both of our short term memories, we’ll both be saying you weren’t that bad this time next week.

Goodbye Workaway, free food and accommodation, lovely chateau’s and beautiful countryside. Goodbye nutters and cleaning of red wine stained vomity toilets.

Hello travels.


Our guru

July 25, 2011

One of the best things about travelling are the people you meet along the way. Ok, so we’ve mostly met nutters, but our guru, Kannan, is truly someone we’ve been glad to get to know.

Last night after dinner, Pammy told us that she used to be psychic. After this revelation, I didn’t think the conversation could get any better. But I was wrong. So very, very wrong. Because then she told us she once had an extra terrestrial encounter.

The physical restrain I had to use on my face is indescribable. The self control to not look at Luke, push our chairs back and proceed to roll on the ground weeing ourselves with laughter was excruciating. In fact, I had to use my hair as a moustache to cover my mouth as I felt it contorting with every new sentence. What was worse, was that she was directing the conversation at me. At me! I don’t do a very good sympathetic face, let alone a credible ‘yes, I totally empathise with alien encounters’ face. I’m finding more and more on this trip that people are sharing shit with me that my cynical mind is just not equipped to deal with.

Let me relay the conversation, no exaggeration, no creative licence used.

Pammy: “Speaking of probing (which we weren’t), have I told you this story? I’m sure I have (looking at me).”

Me: “Errr, no”.

I look at Luke, he confirms and is no doubt hoping for some kind of lesbian orgy story. Not tonight my friend, not tonight.

Pammy: “When I first moved here, on my first night at the house, I had a stack of papers on the floor. I had gone to bed and suddenly, in the middle of the night I woke up to find the papers levatating and a bright, white light outside. I knew that I was about to be taken. I just had a feeling, you know? So I clung onto the bed because I didn’t want to go. I really, really, didn’t want to go. When I woke up, I checked all over my body for any signs of probing, but couldn’t find any. But you never know for sure.


You cannot make this shit up.

Today we taught a float wearing, 29 year old Indian dude how to dive.


The honeymoon is over

July 13, 2011

Apparently nowadays love only lasts for a week because it’s official, we had our first run in with Pammy. After her mention of needing space (yeah, heard that one before), she got rather angry with us for taking her up on her offer of dropping us at the train station. Now, to give you a bit of background, we’re in the middle of nowhere. There’s only so many times you can go to the neighboring villages, visit monk caves and immerse yourself amongst a population of 50 people. So on our day off, we wanted to venture a little further, maybe see some traffic lights. Pammy offered to take us to the station the next day in time for the 11am train. We said ‘that would be great thanks’. That’s an arrangement, right? The next morning when we saw her, we mentioned the lift and she had a crazy person attack. Well, it was kind of a delayed crazy person attack. Fifteen minutes after reconfirming our lift, poor Luke was ambushed by the clothesline (that’s what happens when you make a one off appearance to take the washing in) and had to endure the full force of it. We’re not entirely sure what happened in that fifteen minutes between her saying ‘yes’ and spazing out. We deduce it was something to do with new guests coming, a previous mention of blocked Shakra and the upcoming full moon.

She did apologise the next day, but now that we’ve tasted crazy we’re treading carefully. This morning, the first thing she mentioned, completely out of nowhere, was Sting and Trudie having loads of tantric sex. I think the combination of Luke’s vests (nipples), the fritters he made yesterday for lunch that she almost orgasmed over, the blocked Shakra and her failing to wear a bra is becoming slightly concerning.

I will have to keep an eye on this, although we would like another lift to the station next week…


Vanessa’s current body bite count (mozzies, ants and other ‘wildlife’) 34. Bites on ass are better.
Luke’s current body bite count (mozzies, ants and other ‘wildlife’) 3. About time.

It’s been a while

July 11, 2011


Have you missed us? It’s been a few days since our last entry. Since we last spoke, we’ve moved houses, visited a village in the sky, walked through caves carved by monks, saw the craziest caterpiller in the world, watched some locals dance the Zorba, walked down a mountain the back way, got shut out of a violin recital in the local church and sat on the tourism office’s steps playing Shithead and sharing a chocolate tart while a freak storm passed over us.

But first, our new place.

We’ve moved out of the cottage to another one. A beautiful, two bedroom mansion that’s completely secluded from the main property. Now we know what it’s like to live in a proper house. We haven’t completely adjusted to this new found space yet. We’re still sitting on top of each other on the couch (shout out to our old tiny red sofa – hope those smelly hippies who bought you are treating you well) and we haven’t quite graduated to being in separate rooms yet. I believe this will take some time. We’re taking baby steps and Luke is sitting AWAY at the table while I’m on the sofa. Baby steps.

Today we had our first proper day off. Pammy dropped us off at a village called Tourtour (called by locals as the village in the sky due to it’s high location) so we could spend the day there and then walk down the mountain (hill), through the village of Villecroze and then back to our mansion. On the way, Pammy informed us that tonight we should eat by ourselves and not with her because she felt space would be healthy for us.


Upon hearing this news, I firstly blamed myself. Then I looked over at Luke who was wearing his vest (again) and figured it was probably his fault. He’s been wearing these skimpy vests to dinner for the past three nights and quite frankly, I don’t blame Pammy. He’s practically showing nipple before we even get to sit down and take a sip of our minted water. But that’s what happens when an English boy gets a hint of a tan (natural, Mark) and now I have to pay for it with ‘separate dinners’. I mean, she has Snickers icecreams for God’s sake.

But back to the mountain (hill) climbing. I mean, if you know Luke and I even a little bit, you’ll know giving us instructions to ‘just go downhill’ is cause for us to get lost, resulting in a search party coming to rescue us with them finding me feasting on his corpse because I haven’t eaten in five hours. After watching a Greek/French fete in the town square, eating the worst tapenade and anchovy paste in history, then washing it down with a steak and melon and prosciutto salad we decided to descend. We chose a place and then began walking. Sounds easy, well not if every hundred metres you are greeted with a bloody crossroads. We decided it was only logical for me to choose the direction and then go the other way instead. It was going fine until the road stopped and facing us was a steep, rocky slope. Seeing as though it was going downhill, we figured we couldn’t go wrong. So we went cross country – 35 degrees worth of heat slamming down on us, lizards rustling the bushes next to us, cicadas that wouldn’t shut the fuck up and somehow we made it to the bottom. With a main road and civilisation. We decided to take a left and started walking to what we firmly believed was the village we wanted. But no, after the countless guessed crossroads that were actually correct, we got lost right at the bottom.


Vanessa’s current body bite count (mozzies, ants and other ‘wildlife’) 30 including ant bites on my ass.
Luke’s current body bite count (mozzies, ants and other ‘wildlife’) 0


July 11, 2011

We are loving our new place. For all the oddness and the laughs we got out of our last two places, it’s a nice change to be with someone who is relaxed, says thanks and is grateful for the help she’s receiving. While there are three cats to content with (I’m ignoring my germ alert freaking out over having the cats crawl all over where the food is kept) there are also two beautiful dogs; Sammy and Chloe (ok, ok, so Chloe is pretty ugly but she’s so lovely) on the property. Our days are starting early (830 is early, right?) but we’re having lunch by 12:30. Yesterday we saved the life of some growing carrots, picked our first lettuce and the world’s largest courgette. Later on, we ate the latter with a Irish couple who said ‘grand’ and ‘good craic’ a lot. Actually, that’s all we could really understand.

The other neighboring village, Villacroze is stunning. It’s like time has stood still with its medieval archways and narrow cobbled streets. It makes you wonder how many million other beautiful places there are that we’ve missed simply because we would never have thought of going there. This experience is proving you should just put your finger on a map and go, because you can find the most unexpected beauty anywhere.

Part 3

July 3, 2011

Yesterday, it was with mixed feelings we said goodbye to Mummy S and Daddy David. For one part, we wouldn’t have to hear about Mummy S’s amazing voice and the inner jazz band conflict between her and Sheila (the co singer in the group, apparently very amateur which is clearly code word for better). Nor would be be in constant fear about setting the table incorrectly – bone handles for her, non skinny forks for him. But on the other hand, we felt a tug of sadness about the end of sunbathing by the pool in the afternoons, the lovely organic food and copious amounts of wine and lunch and dinner. But then when Mummy S called Luke, Mark (one part of the previous worker couple that they liked better than us) for the 50th time, we realised that we couldn’t take much more of them.

So off we set. Everything was going according to plan until we were looking for our seat on the second leg of our train journey. In carriage 14, in seats 73, 74 were an unassuming, elderly couple. I began racking my brain for the ‘I think you’re in my seat’ phrase in French, and instead at the last minute just came out with ‘errrr’ and then handed the man our ticket. They told us there was a mistake and we should see the conductor. Needing at least an hour to try and work out the words for ‘mistake’ and ‘seat’ and ‘other people’ we sat somewhere else instead. Then it dawned on me that maybe we had made a mistake. And we had, we were on the train a day early. We couldn’t work out how this happened as we had both known we weren’t leaving til the 3rd. Then we realised:


You see, it had been on their calendar that we were leaving on Saturday. So after two weeks of seeing ‘Luke and Vanessa leave’ on Saturday 2nd July, we started to believe it. So much so, we were on the wrong fucking train to a place where we weren’t expected until the day after. We contacted our new place and were told that arriving on Saturday afternoon was the worst possible time to come as she couldn’t pick us up. 55 Euros later, we arrived by taxi into the arms of a rather understanding lady whom we shall call Pammy. Although, I’m pretty sure she thinks we’re fucking idiots. Nevertheless, it’s beautiful here. Again, we’re in the middle of nowhere. The closest town, Salernes, is a rather hot twenty minute walk. Surrounding us are gigantic poplar trees, lavender rows and huge craggy mountains. There’s a stream that runs outside our bedroom and goes all the way to the next village and beyond. Our new home for the next three weeks is a B&B, with different forms of accommodation; a tipee, a wood cabin, a cottage and a poolside cottage. We’re in our own cottage for a week which is great, then we have to move into the house with Pammy.

Today, we had the most wonderfully lazy day. We walked into Salernes, picked up some food at the market for dinner, stuffed our faces with pastries (you see, we’re comparing eclairs at every town we go to) and then came back and snoozed in the hammocks by the stream for a couple of hours. Pammy seems pretty normal, except for a rather odd laugh at the end of most sentences. She’s not quite the hairy armpit hippie I was expecting but she seems rather nice and not too precious about what cutlery she uses. There’s still time for brainwashing though.

Narbonne outtakes

July 1, 2011