From Sheep to Asparagus

As you may or may not know for the past three months Royce and I have been calling Northall in Bedfordshire home. Here in our tiny house we have been experiencing English lambing. However due to circumstances unforeseen, including but not limited to the uncertainty of Brexit. Will it happen, will it not happen, will there be another vote, or will a squadron of flying pigs take over parliament in the absence of Theresa May. Who knows! All those options seem equally likely at this point. In any case we have had to find further employment. As all our saved up funds went toward our new wheels! (Any name suggestions please leave in the comments section below!)

So began our job hunt, scrolling through Facebook job sites, various phone calls, and for Royce a short stint in a pub kitchen later.We thought we had something. With our newly bought van we set off in her first road trip down to the Isle Of Sheppey in Kent. Our first adventure on the great British parking lot aka. The M25. We found ourselves on a cattle, arable and machinery farm in a more rural part of England. The coast was crisp but stunning, but alas it was not to be. That job offer fell through and back to Facebook we went.

As Royce’s return visit to New Zealand grew nearer our search for a new job got slightly more insistent. Until finally a add came up for a job on a family run fruit and vege farm. Styan Family produce were in need of an extra couple hands for the asparagus season. As Royce’s one request was
‘no more bluddy sheep’ and neither of us have worked in horticulture before, this seemed to be a great opportunity to learn something new. I messaged and liaised a job interview. Unfortunately Royce’s flight had caught up with us, and I got nominated to go see the farm by myself.

Sunrise on the farm near Evesham

In the van I got and after a detour to take Royce to the bus into Heathrow. I jumped onto the motorway and journeyed west to the Vale of Evesham. Upon arriving I met with Ether and James Styan, James along with his father Roger are head of the day to day gardening part of the market garden. While Roger’s wife Liz manages the administration which with on average 8 to 10 markets in a weekend is quite a challenge! After a quick tour around the the farm, 80 acres of Vege and orchard I was invited to dinner with the extended family in the town of Evesham.

I was given such a warm welcome from the Styan and Franc families! It certainly made being on my own half way across the country far more pleasant. The following day I had a crack at asparagus picking and got to meet the other pickers. A Bulgarian couple who have been coming back to the farm for a number of years for the seasonal work. From there it was a small travel cross country to visit Cropthorne which was celebrating the bright blooms of spring with the annual Cropthorne walkabout.

After a fantastic day out I wrapped up my ‘job interview’ with the Styan family by sampling the amazing homegrown produce, and from that I was hooked. I sent Royce a message to say I had made the decision for him. We were going to be pickers, packers and market stall sellers. I journeyed back to Leighton Buzzard to pack our things. And now here I am in the Vale of Evesham.

The past couple of weeks have been very busy, and as I was on my own for the first week my desire to be kept occupied was a priority. It has, thanks to the sleep when your dead attitude of the Styan’s been well and truly met. I was thrown into a solo market by myself on my third day of employment. And have been asparagus cutting, broad bean picking, tomato packing and weeding and pruning since I got here.

As always thanks for tuning in Royce will be sharing his adventures from his week back home in New Zealand very soon. For those in the beautiful Lower Midlands area. Royce and I have been frequenting the Summertown market in Oxford. Come check out our stall! Or to see some of the other spots we have visited check out our Instagrams. KiwiShepherdadventures and Thetravellingshepherd. Until next time.

Courtney

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2 comments

  1. I do hope Royce has recovered from that nasty bug.!!! It is great to see your adventures and your instagram photos. Hope the jobs keep coming and you can continue your journey. Royce…. a VERY big thank you for coming out for Dad’s 70th. That was so special. XXX

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Royce and Courtney. Thanks for all your news. So glad your new employers are so kind towards you and hope you enjoy your new work life. It was so nice to catch up with Royce when he was back in NZ. Love Helen

    Liked by 1 person

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