Thursday, 26 March 2015

And now back to the original adventure.

I arrive at what was a quaint stone cottage surrounded by my favourite tree; the Scottish Pine. After getting out of the car to manually open the gate, I drive up to the house. Before me stands a tall, slim, dishevelled old man. He's wearing a lumber jack shirt, some form of brown trousers and his hair was that of a mad scientist.

He introduced himself as Tom, which was a relief, as I convinced myself I was lost. He invites me in, and I receive the downstairs-only version of the tour. Everything was old. Not old-fashioned old, it-needs-replacing-old. Thankfully, there was no TV. There was, however, a museum-worthy desktop PC in the corner; that amazingly, connected to the internet. This is one occasion where the adage 'they don't make em' like they used to', is not a good thing. 

It was rather late by the time I arrived, so thoughtfully he'd prepared dinner. Well, I for one would not call that dinner. The offering was over-boiled potatoes (which disintegrated on contact), a pile of leaves and some cheese. During 'dinner' he informed me that he grew the potatoes and leaves himself, I assume for me to comment that they were lovely and fresh. All I was hoping for was a spoon, to eat my now mash potato. By now I was tired, and not really paying attention to him, until something terrible happened. He licked his fingers. And then I noticed how unbelievably dirty his nails were. They were black, confirming he had literally dug up the potatoes and leaves earlier that evening. Whilst I was coping with that information, he licked his fingers again. And then I was done eating. After a brief recovery period he bought out a teapot with stuff floating in it and a pair of chopsticks. Suspiciously I drank it, after he explained it was Twinnings loose tea. I then excused myself from the table and disappeared to the car to devour my Terry's Chocolate Orange.  

After sleeping in a bed again, I awoke refreshed. So much so, I'd forgotten to mentally prepare myself for breakfast. I tried to not die inside when he presented me with a bowl of muesli, some ultra-fresh raspberries and a jug of water. There was no milk, and when I requested some, he complained, so I picked up the jug of water. It's all about new experiences, I remind myself, and I sat up ready to face the day.

The task of said day was to gather some trees from his woodland. He has been cutting down non-native trees so that the delightful Scottish Pine can thrive. I hope you noticed the sarcasm. Realising he'd left his winch-a-ma-bob at a neighbouring property, I opted to wait in the woodland. Mistake number one. There I was, standing there, minding my own business, when by perchance I glanced down towards my feet. They were covered in huge fucking ants. So fucking huge, that that evening I had to Google them to make sure they were real. There were literally hundreds of them on me, some as high as my knee. Cue deranged and slightly hysterical ant removal techniques. Lesson one: keep moving. Failing that, stand on a chair. And yes, oddly enough there was a chair in the middle of nowhere. 

When he finally returned, and after he'd mocked me for my fear of ants, we began winching trees he'd cut down earlier. On this day I learnt how to not winch a tree, how not to tie up a tree and where to not stand when someone is winching a tree. Winching and I did not get along. Trees can jump surprisingly far when being forced to move. I was unprepared. This appears to be a common theme.  

On the way back he spotted some edible berries. I ate loads of the little bugger. I was excited to finally have some sugar after this mornings 'breakfast'. Even if it was from random floor-based berries. We returned to the house. After another teapot vs chopsticks experience, he asked me to hoover. Remember this is WOOFING - Worldwide Opportunities for Organic Farming, or something like that. You work in exchange for accommodation and 'food' apparently. Happy(ish) to oblige, I went in search of the hoover. I don't know why I was optimistic about this. It was the slowest, oldest most derelict hoover you'd ever seen. If I trapped a thousand ants in a carrier bag, they'd make a better hoover. There was neither a brush head or extension hose. It was a great experience. 

Sadly, yet not surprisingly, dinner was a repeat of yesterday, except for the welcomed addition of bread. The licking started sooner tonight, as he had butter on his fingers early on. This man licks everything. Not only his fingers, but also the cutlery and his flipping plate. Yes, a grown-ass man licked his plate at the table. Just because you live in bush, doesn't mean you can eat like monkey. KMT. Thankfully, I did the washing up and bleached the life out of that shit. Incidentally, there wasn't hot water, so one had to wait for the stove to boil. That's right, the stove. Plug-in kettles apparently weren't invented the last time he went Argos. There was also no oven or washing machine. Which perhaps answers the question, as to why he was wearing the same clothes the entire time I was there. He did, however, have an awesome sink. I don't normally comment on sinks, but there wasn't exactly much else to look at. 

Turns out my mad scientist notion was correct, as he was a chemistry teacher many (many) moons ago. I had previously found some rocks so went off to retrieve them from the boot. It was at this time I realised I'd run out of sweets and chocolate. 

Looking somewhat miserable on my return, he commented that I was addicted to sugar. Pfffft, you can't be addicted to sugar, I retorted. Somewhat flippantly (as by now I was annoyed), he suggested I search online. Turns out he was right. Did you know you can be addicted to sugar? I certainly didn't.

But let us return to the rocks. Remember, the ones I found on a beach somewhere. You'll never guess what he did. Yep, he licked them. And I am not joking.


  1. What a splendidly gross story!

  2. please update us.... I want to know where you went after leaving the licking man!

    1. Has taken a lifetime, but I've written the next post!

  3. Absolutely brilliant read! I could picture everything, yes, including all the gross licking lol!!!!

    1. It was gross indeed! I still get images of him and it makes me shudder. He was really old though, and hasn't died so I console myself with that knowledge.