Howdy, last time we spoke we were boarding a bus to Santa Cruz. Turns out that the Greyhound buses are not nearly as nice here as they are down under. It wasn't awful but was pretty long and we had to change buses in LA, San Jose and Santa Cruz before our local bus to Ben Lomond where the farm is. On the first bus to LA for example, we were sat directly behind a morbidly obese smoker with loud breathing difficulties and multiple bags of crisps. She was the American stereotype.
We had a wonderful American breakfast in Santa Cruz, huge omlettes and hash browns with good coffee. Santa Cruz is a nice little university town although it is populated mainly by very friendly people with split personality disorders talking to themselves. The bus journeys we've been on in and around Santa Cruz have really been like travelling with the cast of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. They're all very friendly but it's a bit disconcerting to have so many people around arguing with themselves. One guy asked me, completely out of the blue whether I'd seen the film 'The Sting'. That was the only time on the journey that he spoke to someone other than himself. Good times.
We alighted from the asylum early Friday at the farmhouse. The owner Cynthia was away that day and so she'd trustingly told her to just go in and make ourselves at home! We navigated the obstacle course of cats and dogs, then found our room and fell into a mighty fine nap almost immediately.
Life on the farm has been great, the work has been new and interesting and everyone living here has been lovely to us. We live with Cynthia, the owner of the farm. She's always busy but found time to make us welcome and show us the ropes. Manuel is a long time resident of the farm and most of the time watches the Mexican equivalent of Judge Judy or wrestling with Pi Pi the ginger cat. Sara is a Cynthia's apprentice and showed us a lot of our duties. She's an OC (TV programme!) obsessive, showed us a lot of our duties and suffers from an unrequited love of Pi Pi.
Life at the farm is quite varied, we've done a lot of farming, agricultural type tasks, some of the admin stuff for the business side of the farm as well as our everyday tasks. Each day one of us feeds Dolly the blind pig (althought we found it just today that he's actually called Dali and that we were having a bit of accent trouble) who quickly became our favourite, and the daft chickens who are scared of almost everything. Although they're scared of most things, they lay some seriously tasty eggs, and a highlight of our stay has been the fresh omlettes or scrambled eggs for breakfast each day.
On our days off we've taken the mental bus into Santa Cruz a coupe of times as well as visiting the Giant Redwood national park nearby. Santa Cruz has a great beach and a old fashioned style pier with tacky shops and seafood restaurants. It's a bit like old english seaside resorts but dry and sadly less tacky. There's also tens of massive sea lions at the end of the pier. Regular readers will know that we're big fans of big sea lions so this was an unexpected treat. The Redwood national park was impressive but for some reason we chose to visit on one of the only rainy days we've had here so it wasn't what it could have been. The Giant Redwoods are definitely giant though. Fact.
So we're off to San Francisco tomorrow and we'll be sure to wear some flowers in our hair. We'll be sure to meet some gentle people there. Summertime, there'll be a love-in there. In fact, all across the nation, such a strange vibration, there's a whole generation, with a new explanation... people in motion, people in motionnnnn. Anyway, we're there for two nights and then start spreading the news, we'll be leaving that day, we're going to be a part of it in old New York. These vagabond shoes are longing to stray right to the very heart of JFK airport in New York to meet up with family - which we can't wait for. It's been almost a year since I've seen my lot and the same since Rois has seen Niamh and Ed so it'll be a happy few days.
That's about it for now other than to say a massive thank you to Cynthia, Manuel, Sara and the dogs Trinity and Indy (and maybe the cats too). We've had a great time here and will hopefully be back sometime.
Thankyou again one and all for the messages, tae care and see you all in just a few short weeks! Much love, Rois and James x
PS - If anyone would be kind enough to record Watford beating a struggling and managerless Chelsea on Saturday evening for me then I'd really appreciate it!
PPS - We're going to shamelessly promote Cynthia's farm and the restaurant that she supplies as it's one of the top 50 restaurants in the world and David the chef has two Michelin stars: