Tag Archives: fruit picking

And then there were two.

Hello there from sunny Hastings.

It is actually sunny. Unbearably sunny on some days. We’ve only just discovered that Hawkes Bay is the hottest area in the entire of New Zealand, so well done us! At least we’re finally working through the kilos of suncream we brought with us, so our bags will be lighter. We’re both getting browner despite larding up with factor 50 every break time at work.

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The observant amongst you may be questioning the name of this post. Well, let me explain. Our lovely friends, Philine and Kerry, and Max and Mathilda were sacked from work, and have had to leave our house. So it’s a little quiet over here. We’re abandoned, miles from the supermarket,  with a distinct lack of chicken parties.

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We’ve arranged to meet them in the South Island in January for a dolphin party, so that’s good.

Work has started at 7am each day this week, leaving us all with thousand yard stares at break times. My tiredness results in me repetitively closing the ladder on my head and also thinking I’m on the bottom step when I’m not and having a mini heart attack when I step off into the air… I’m not spacially aware at the best of times.

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(Above is my bastard of a ladder. He has sharp bits on the reverse of the bottom rung that cut the back of my leg every time it swings shut on it. I’ve got a delightful pair of very bruised and cut up calves now! )

Another highlight of the last week was the meeting on Friday, where the health and safety officer came and shouted at us all for standing on the very top step of the ladder and blaming our idiocy for the three people that fell off the ladders. I had to put my head between my legs and do some yoga breathing to prevent myself from commiting GBH… The supervisors had screamed at us when we were terrified and told us we’d be fired if we didn’t stand on top of the ladders!!!!! ARGHHHHH!!!!

Okay! A few happy things to lighten the mood:

1) Only fifteen working days left until we are free again.

2) We’ve booked flights for March: from Australia to Bali, Bali to Malaysia, and Malaysia to Hong Kong. We now only need to book Hong Kong to Tokyo, Tokyo to Bangkok and then our flight home from whichever South East Asian country we find ourselves in! I’m so excited to be on the move again. I’ll be so happy to leave Hastings.

3) Yesterday I saw a possum in the garden. I was really excited by it, and was telling my backpacking friends at work, when I realised some of the Maori guys had overheard and were absolutely pissing themselves at my excitement. They’re a pest here in NZ…. HA

4) The birds nests. Sometimes they have eggs, or little birds with open mouths waiting for the return of mummy bird. I like to shout “Do I look like your mother!?” at them.

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5) Another funny story… At work we have to remove the russet apples that have orange powder on them because they can’t be sold. Margot, a fellow backpacker from France, was dancing away to her reggae music whilst working, when the supervisor came over and said “there’s lots of russet over here Margot!” (implying that she wasn’t doing a very good job) to which Margot replied, “Yeah, I know, do you like it?!” the supervisor said “no!” and stormed off, leaving Margot puzzled. It turns out, Margot misheard and thought she was talking about “rasta” not “russet.” HA

6) Made friends with Maria, the lovely supervisor from Fiji. She’s working to save money to continue her studies. She’s learning to be pilot and flies here every Sunday. So cool to hear about it!

7)  Starting at 7am this week is leaving me completely exhausted and in bed by 9pm (tiny violin please) but it means I get to see the ducks sleeping on the lawn in the morning.

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8) I’ve just found out that The Corrs have got back together!

9) Chocolate is on offer at the supermarket.

And, my farewell gift to you: please enjoy this very hairy apple I found at work last week:

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The Battle of Hastings

Don’t worry there wasn’t really a battle. Well not at the time of writing anyway.

Well hello there dear readers! I thought I’d give you a little update before we start work tomorrow. I can hear you sniggering into your teacups. Stop it.

We arrived in Hastings just over a week ago, and in that time we’ve made some friends, got a job, stumbled across a lovely abode, opened a New Zealand bank account and drank too much wine and beer.

Our first stop was a hostel called The Rotten Apple. We’d read about them online and despite the name, decided they’d be a good place to start as they offered help with finding fruit picking work in Hastings, the middle of the orchard district. They put us up in their sister hostel – The Orange House, which has a no alcohol policy. We were like WHAT but it actually turned out to be a silver lining… Our German friends Philine and Kerry stayed at the Rotten Apple for one night, and said they only got two hours sleep due to the other guest’s partying. Fine, but not ideal if you’re going to be working whilst you stay there!

The Orange House was okayish – we were in our own room but in a bunk again. (Why?! I will never understand why they do this. Why don’t they just put two twin beds in? So bizarre.) There were plenty of nice people about, but the kitchen was tiny for the thirty guests, and there was two showers and three bogs (well, three showers, but the door didn’t lock on the third one and I didn’t really fancy taking the risk.) I can only imagine what it’s like when the season picks up and everyone tries to get in the shower at the same time before work. Makes me feel stressed just thinking about it.

We spent a few days there, walking into town each day for something to do and spending the majority of the day sat in the library reading the books. Christ, it’s starting to sound like Matilda! Anyway, one morning  we were sat in the library when the NZ phone rang. We got a call from RJ Flowers – the company we had been told to get in touch with by a Czech couple we met whilst in Fiji. They invited us over for an interview that afternoon. We looked up the location on the map and decided it was walkable…

So off we plodded (well, power-walked really) an hour before we needed to be there. The sun was beating down (thanks hole in the ozone layer) and the road became more and more rural until we were just walking on the grass at the side of the road passing massive tractors and farm machinery. Then a wasp flew into my Birkenstock. Bloody hell. Managed to pull my shoe off whist it was stinging my big toe, smacked it off with said shoe, and then had to make Tom pull the stinger off. I was in agony but had to just slap my sandal back on and keep limping along because we were already running late on a walk that seemed to be getting longer and longer by the minute.

Anyway, an hour and 15 mins after setting off, we arrived at th RJ flowers office. The staff we met were so lovely! They explained the work (8am-4.30pm Monday to Friday and optional Saturday mornings) and took us over to see the staff house…

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It was beautiful! Here’s a few pics from inside:

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Above is our bedroom and ENSUITE bathroom. (note, the rucksacks have since been shoved in the wardrobe, and I’m very happy not to have to look at them again for a few weeks.)

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Here is the lounge and kitchen area. Massive telly. All the better for watching the rugby on, says Tom.

imageThe back garden leads directly onto the apple orchards. Not a bad commute to work but I’m unsure how I’ll feel about them after a day working in them! I’m sure I’ll be dreaming about apples in no time.

Anyway, we decided we’d definitely like to move in. Convenient, cheap (60 quid each per week, so a lot cheaper than a hostel) and so so clean, lovely, and with loads of room. The company told us they were looking for another couple to move in and work too, so on our return we told the good news to Philene and Kerry, and also told our friends Ernest and Lewis to ring up for an interview.

A few days later, we managed to get all our stuff into Tracy’s (who works in HR) car, and she kindly drove us over to the house. So no wasp stings this time.

We’ve spent the last 5 days chilling out, wandering around (nearest shop is a 30 minute walk haha), drinking, eating incredible German food, and being merry. We start work tomorrow apple and kiwi thinning. (Apparently, this isn’t some kind of fruit diet, as suggested by my mum, but it’s where you remove some of the smaller fruit from the tree allowing the remaining fruit more space and room to grow huge.) I’ll let you know how it goes. Until then, just picture me falling off ladders, boiling in the sun, being stung by wasps and wearing a ridiculous hat, such as the one modelled by Tom below.

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Below is our front gate, and work beyond. Not a bad commute eh?

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It’s very trendy at the moment to write a “Gratitude List” on your blog isn’t it?! Well here’s my version:

A list of things I’m grateful for after living out of a bag for five weeks:

– Coffee made in a cafetière

– A little cup to put your toothbrush in

– A sink near the toilet

– Toilet paper

– A real towel

– A face flannel

– A free to use washing machine

– Eating a meal without having to wash up your pans before you eat

– An oven

– Drinking from a glass, not a plastic bottle

– A cupboard. With your clothes in.

– A sofa

– A telly

 

Haha! This is meant to be tongue in cheek – I’m not moaning, I’m appreciating. Lots of love!

 

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