A Little Thank you
I apologize for our absence on the blog, the last few months over the Coronavirus period have been extremely hectic and busy. Royce and I have been attending Farmers markets selling the veg, being delivery drivers. And then every spare moment has gone into getting Chester the Transit worthy of a month long trip around the United Kingdom. We have dealt with cancelled plans, changed travel dates and a significant shortening of the van tour we planned.
We stayed on at Styan family produce for an extra two months longer than planed to get the van completed, and because nothing was open, because…..Plague!!! Finally however, England has opened up to overnight travel and we felt (while practicing social distancing and being able to be self contained and sleep in Chester.) That we could go explore some of the countryside! Getting to this point has been a long time coming, and the last few months in lock down have taken a toll on so many people mentally. Us included, even though we have been extremely lucky in our ability to continue working. It’s been an overall stressful and crazy time. Because of this, and because our time in the UK is coming to an end. I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to few people that have made our last few months, and our last twelve months as enjoyable as they have been.
Firstly to the people of Malmesbury market, an area which I started to attend markets in the beginnings of Coronavirus period. Standing on the side of the road with my stall, as the wind howled and I couldn’t feel my frozen fingers, To the sweltering summer heat trying to keep my fruit from disintegrating in the sunshine. The community stepped up. As the virus hit, the support for the local shops boomed. People lined up for the butcher, baker and on a Friday with me at the Vegetable stall. On behalf of Styan Family Produce I came out every Friday and set up the stall to sell fresh English veg. As the virus worsened and lock down went into full swing I didn’t get anything but smiles and grateful thanks for making the trip. Cups of coffee were offered and a chat here and there asking after everyone on the farm became the norm. I delivered to several people as the Styan’s set up the website to help with the lack of markets. I want to say Thank you to every member of this wonderful community. In this stressful time they found a spare moment to make me smile, to stop, to have a chat and to be so welcoming into their community where they could’ve chosen to close the doors.
Secondly to the People of Summertown in Oxford. Royce and I had been working the Summertown market for some time previous to oxford. It had become a favourite of ours for the fabulously friendly out of the box people that Oxford attracts. So when lock down hit and the market stopped The Styans stepped up. They set up a website with a door to door delivery, and I became a delivery driver for the first time. I was met again with so much thanks and kindness. Bottles of wine and offers of coffee and cake to keep me going. These little things, the five minute conversations that brightened my day on one of the only outings I had off the farm in a week made so much difference to me. It seems like a small thing to say thank you to your delivery driver, to stop and ask how their day has been. But I assure you the compassion and kindness I received made doing it, knowing I was potentially putting myself at risk, but equally helping these vulnerable people, that made it all worth it.
Thirdly to the Market stall holders and all of the other patrons of markets we have been to. Thank you for your friendliness. We have unfortunately found England to be a difficult place to make friends. Finding such a vibrant welcoming community within the farmers markets was a welcome and pleasant surprise. Everyone is friendly and generous and it has made the past twelve months of markets so much fun.
And finally but most importantly; to the Styans. To Roger and Liz and to all the Styan family. Thank you. Thank you for taking on to crazy kiwi shepherds and teaching us about plants and tress and vans and electrics. Thank you for the flexibility, for allowing us to travel and to come back and have a place to base ourselves. Thank you for being patient and kind and for letting us get off the farm and go work the markets. And especially thank you for saving our sanity and sending us out to deliveries and markets in the months during lock down. The Styans have been so welcoming and generous during our time with them. Having showed so much compassion for the patrons of their markets when they could’ve closed the gate and have simply been a pleasure to work for. I have learnt so much from Roger’s wealth of knowledge and gained a new perspective on farming as a whole. So Thank you for making our time in England so enjoyable.
With our time in the UK almost gone we are finally on the road. Doing a grand goodbye tour it could be said, as we traverse the countryside before jetting back to the land of the long white cloud. Head over to the gallery as I will post some more photos and to those who have Instagram and want to be a bit more up to date on our adventures we are continually updating there. Do stay turned however as more adventures (now as official vanlife travellers) will follow.
Till next time get lout that gate and go see some local countryside!