I'd nearly thrown out Mark's ancient walking boots but as I was about to hurl them to the dump pile we'd decided they might be useful . . . for something, so, they'd returned to the dark place under the stairs and I'd though no more about them.
A couple of months ago Mark had bought a pair of brown jeans from our favourite charity haunt without trying them on. They were just a little to large - waist wise, so I was about to put them in the bag for the next trip to afore-mentioned shop, but wondered if they might be useful, for something . . . so they remained in a drawer and I'd thought no more about them - until, our latest Workaway arrived almost a month ago. Christopher had noted on his profile that people call him the gentle giant, and he is, almost as tall as Mark - 6ft 6 - and just a little wider in the waist, his feet the same size 13! As some of the work I had lined up was muddy garden/rock moving stuff and Christopher was traveling very light with no work boots or rough clothes the put-to-one-side garments suddenly had a purpose, as if they had been waiting for our visitor.
I've probably mentioned before on this blog that I think I do rather believe in fate. I'd approached Christopher on the Workaway website along with a few other people to come and work with us on various large garden and reconstruction projects. He'd declined at first saying he was looking further south, and I'd concentrated on trying to get one particular traveller to come and help as his profile looked perfect. After much chasing and stupidly long useless texts, etc, I realised it wasn't going to work and gave up, or perhaps decided to go with the flow a bit more, let the idea drop and see if anyone else approached me.
Then I had a response from Christopher saying he'd changed his mind about the south and would like to visit us. We had a brief chat and then a few days later I picked him up on a freezing morning at a motorway péage at 5:30 am. Fate obviously had stepped in, or maybe it was me just letting go a bit and stopping trying to make something happen. From the moment he'd reemerged from his room following a much needed sleep, it was clear we were not only all going to get on but he would very quickly become a member of the family.
We said goodbye to him this morning with great sadness but with the knowledge that we will certainly see him again, maybe often, maybe in his home country of Sicily, maybe here with his new family in France.
I must recommend Workaway. We've met some wonderful people through the site, moved forward with many projects but never quite as successfully as this time. The garden has in many parts been transformed, much wood has been cut, rubble cleared, a pond dug, a rustic BBQ made, walls pointed, a garden shelter made, the dog walked even more extensively; we have played rumba in the kitchen, been taught how to make Sicilian dishes, discussed world politics, history, literature, language, nature, environment, music, art, cooking . . . He has learned much too - that vegetarian food is actually really good! new music, life from perhaps a different perspective, improved his English, learned the names of plants, birds, and many other things.
Happy travels, Christopher; good luck on your long hike, and I hope we see you again very soon.