• partwaythere

Day 3: Disillusionment

Updated: Apr 5, 2021

Disillusionment came thick and fast: the place really was a shit-hole. The views might be good but the shower was freezing and each morning she had to collect water from an outside tap – she had to walk right across the farm just to go to the toilet, for fucks sake!

Just the memory of "room temperature" now felt like a luxury. Even with a heater, hot-water bottle, thermal-vest, T-shirt, jumper, gilet, hoody, puffer-jacket, hat and scarf, she was shivering. She knew it was Lent but this was taking the piss.

Dinner was 45 minutes late again. And cold.

That farmer couldn’t even work out which woman was his wife - she'd heard him refer to both the one she’d met and to the one who'd mothered his children and hoarded belongings in spare caravans around the farm as ‘wife’ - to the fury of the former who herself frequently referenced “the nearly ex-wife” and occasionally, “that bitch.”

"People are people everywhere," said her caravan-neighbour, "It’s a dumb thing to say but it’s true." Sometimes it seemed he was the only person there with an ounce of sanity.

They treated her as free labour and then asked if she enjoyed herself - as if unloading 50 bags of manure and reloading 50 bags of bricks could actually be pleasurable - as if she would just love to unload those same 50 bags of bricks again when she got back.

Was it because she was a soft Londoner, or because she was a woman? Or maybe because she was a headstrong millennial who believed she had rights, or was she just new to manual labour? Had she been too comfortable in her first-world, affluent, city existence, perhaps? Or did every important task start with the disillusionment of imagined ideals giving way to the messy realities of life?

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