Day 19: Rhayader

30.06.2013. I met Zoe, my second Wwoof host with a little apprehension. I wasn’t sure what will be expected of me at her lavender field, where she grows the purple plants for commercial use. We met at the Llandrindod train station, where she picked me up in a silver land rover. She seems like a pleasant lady, someone rather excitable, and we had good introductory chats on the ride to her home. My mind eased a little.

We arrived at Bryn Pedol just on the outskirts of the region’s main town Rhayader. The name of her house is Welsh for ‘Horseshoe Hill’, where Zoe shares with her partner Chris, a professional ferrier (thereby the name). It is a considerable house, impeccably clean and designed, rather different from the “anything goes” farm at Garway I came from few days ago. Somehow or rather, despite the pleasantries showed by the family and the comfort of my stay, I felt more at home at my previous host.

balcony
Views from the balcony, with Elan Valley in the distance

This wasn’t the season for the lavender plants to bloom yet, and therefore my tasks were largely weeding and tidying up. My initial fears were unfounded as Zoe was lovely to work with and there was no pressure to get things done. Nonetheless, in 4 days time I completed weeding 3 rows of the lavender plants. At the end of which, with my back ached and my hands sore, I had to resign myself to a career in the comfortable premises of modern offices. Huge respect to the people who do this day in and day out.

lavender
Lanes of lavender plant after weeding

bryn
Bryn the dog kept me good company

Zoe was curious about my trip. I explained to her that my purpose of volunteering at farms is to seek different life experiences, learn about agriculture, and basically to mix things up a little during my 3 months travel, a break to refresh myself before adjusting back to life in Singapore. Whilst she was impressed that I am willing to get my hands dirty, I was more in awe of her energy and passion to life. Running your own business is incredibly tough; I had to wonder if I would ever have that sort of courage, drive and commitment.

zoe
Zoe

At the end of my 5 days stay at Bryn Pedol, I bid Zoe farewell, wishing her all the best in life and with her business. The 2 Wwoof experiences have been very different, but both incredibly fulfilling.

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One thought on “Day 19: Rhayader

  1. Ah, I see that you’re from Singapore (so am I)! My sister and I found something similar – through Workaway – in Bretagne, France and we helped out on a farm for two weeks. It was interesting to understand some of the ‘savoir faire’ and to experience life in a completely different environment from what you’d have in Singapore. Our tasks were quite varied – from pruning tomatoes to collecting fallen apples to make compote, to milking goats (which gave me an inflamed thumb joint after just two days – I’ve no talent for this) and making goat cheese, to baking bread and clearing weeds from the walls of a stone shed. Very memorable!

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