Saturday, 24 September 2005
The tomato diaries
The bus to the farm left at 5.40am on the dot. If you missed it, you didn't work. Hence, the 5am alarm chorus.
Every alarm clock in the hostel went off at 5am and people tumbled out of bed to pull on their dirty, smelly, stained and ripped fruit picking clothes before stumbling bleary eyed into the into the kitchen to try and get breakfast.
This is a lot easier than it sounds. Firstly 50 people in one kitchen is never going to be easy. 50 people all trying to use one sink, one kettle and one toaster is nearly impossible. Those with the foresight to make their lunch the night before are the fortunate few. The rest of the hoard fight each other for the sparsely available flat surfaces on which to try and make sandwiches and butter toast, before joining the long que to fill up their water bottles.
Fruit picking is thirsty work and you need at least 2 litres of water for the day, most people took 3 or 4 litres with them and they usually came back with out a single drop left.
At 5.35am the mass exodus to the bus began. Names on the sign up sheet were ticked off and people settled in to try and catch a few minutes more of precocious sleep on the hour long drive out to the farm.