Wwoofing Adventures #6

03 August 2011

6 o'clock buzzed in much too soon, but we had to shower, pack, check out, and get to Westminster Abbey by 8. On our bus ride home the night before, Meagan had declared her resolve to attend Holy Communion--a resolve that met with cranky protestations on my part. Nevertheless, we boarded the very empty Docklands Light Railway early that morning, backpacks in tow, ready enough to commence our last half-day in London. LeeAnn departed mid-route for Westminster Cathedral's morning mass, while Meagan and I continued on. Perhaps it was my tiredness--afterall, an introvert who has been enjoying new experiences in a bustling city will get socially, emotionally, and physically tired--but the day was beginning to take on a surreal cast, my present activities dislimned by my anticipation of the coming night when the three of us would embark upon our first Wwoofing adventure. I'd never worked on a farm--rarely even in a garden, never concerned myself with organic practices nor the environment, never stayed with a host-family. Would this be the beginning of something new, the time I could point to later on and say "there the course of my life changed"?

Holy Communion was the best way to experience the Abbey, far better than the cattle-prodded shuffle of paid admission. The greeters did not even seem to mind the backpacks we stuffed dutifully beneath our seats. The service soon over, Meagan and I trekked to Westminster Cathedral, reunited with LeeAnn, and made our circuitous way to Victoria Station. In between settling the finer points of our evening's journey to Kent, I took the opportunity to nab a cup of coffee that provided little of the wanted effect.

The details in order, our departure time duly noted, we set out for Portobello Market for a few hours of browsing. The alarming cost to check our bags at the station dissuaded us from doing the sensible thing and from then on every few steps nagged me with regrets as I hoisted my bag to a less aching position. We finally found Portobello Market (are you sensing a theme with all these "finally found"s?) and, after bumping through crowds and stalls stocked with tea cups and antique watches and faded books, we discovered a stall selling scarves at a reasonable price. Each of us bought a beautiful pashmina and correctly predicted that "we'll be loving them all summer."

The train was a blessed respite from the bustle of London and of the past few days. It was our moment to sit for an hour or so in the relative quiet of the car while anticipating our next adventure. What would our host be like? Would we acclimate? Would we realize that this whole trip was terribly misguided and so dread our remaining weeks on other farms?

Excitement, curiosity, and anxiety mingled in my thoughts as we pulled in to the station.

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