leticia hughes

travel blog & photography


Blueberry Fields Forever

Posted by Leticia Hughes on August 23, 2010 at 12:07 PM

Isn’t it funny how the simple things in life can often be the most enjoyable?? This morning I woke up to the sound of sheep baaing in the paddocks surrounding the 16th century farmhouse we are staying in while blueberry picking in a small town call Lustleigh.  The birds were chirping and the sun was peaking through the clouds creating a mystical view from our window, which has a glorious outlook of lush green forest and fields.  We had breakfast with nine others (not dissimilar to the Walton’s) and we ventured out to the tranquil fields to pick blueberries for the morning.


Now you may ask why the hell are you and Marc picking blueberries in England…??  Well we decided that rather than sit around with our fingers up our backsides and wait for Marc’s sisters baby to be born on 31st August, we’d go wwoofing (world wide opportunities on organic farms).  It is a fabulous way to keep busy, meet people and our labour pays for our accommodation and food.  The UK is so damn expensive that we decided to be proactive towards decreasing the impact on our hemorrhaging savings!!!


So life on the farm is truly wonderful.  Our hosts Wei and Robin make you feel so at home and meeting other like-minded travelers always makes for interesting dinner conversation.  Wei’s cooking is amazing and I keep telling myself I must start running round the farm hills to burn through some calories as I don’t want to fall victim to the dreaded Heathrow injection!!!


Now I would like to write about a rather controversial subject as it has been bugging me…  As you can imagine Marc’s whanau is very focused on the arrival of their new addition and I have to say I need to vent a little about the whole “baby” thing as it seems to be the main topic of conversation these days with everyone I know…


Why is it that so many people just assume that when you are “30 something” you get married and then inevitably have the babies??  Believe it or not, there are actually people in this world who have made a conscious and VERY educated choice to not have children and contrary to belief, they will not change their minds or become maternal over night.  I guess where I am heading with this is that the general population should stop assuming that everyone wants to or can have kids.  We are not missing out and we are not selfish – we have simply chosen a different destiny.


The other thing I find increasingly frustrating is that when you don’t have children, those parents with young ones figure that you know nothing about raising children and the challenges they face.  In fact you can feel quite ostracised from friends and family until they realise you are not completely inept with children and that there is more to their lives than babies.  In saying this, there are some people who have acquired a very healthy balance and still make time for themselves and friends, which I imagine takes a very conscious effort as raising a family is a full time job for the rest of your lives.


When I talk to parents I always hear how wonderful their children are (and I don’t doubt that having your own is incredibly fulfilling) and more than often they just glaze over the hard stuff.  Do they avoid the nitty gritty of child rearing because they think I won’t understand, am not interested, can add no value or do they just want to appear in control??  Oh and before I forget, yes your child is the most brightest, most intelligent, and most cutest I have ever seen…


The other thing I would like to point out is that just because we don’t want kids, it doesn’t mean we don’t like kids!!  Most children are awesome fun (apart from those that are screaming and out of control in public!!) and there are other things I want to do with my life that actually revolve around kids such as Project K (youth development) or working in Nepal to help kids learn English.  By not having my own off spring, I will actually have more time to help those that are disadvantaged or not really wanted in the first place.


So in summary, stop asking people when they are having kids – you never know what their circumstances are and chances are no matter what you say, they won’t change their minds or regret their decision latter in life.  Those with children also need to stop calling those without “selfish” – just remember that the world is over populated and by personally not breeding we are actually helping Mother Nature survive the onslaught of a species out of control.


Phew that was pretty heavy but I am glad to write about something I am really passionate about.  I am a very strong, independent woman who has made her choice and I ain’t changing my mind any time this century.  Hmmmm maybe karma will have the last laugh and I’ll come back as a rabbit in the next life!!!!


On a lighter note – back to the simple life…  All this wholesome farm living has also inspired me even more to try and live a fully self-sustainable life once we are back to New Zealand.  That means going back to your hippy roots and growing veges, raising your own livestock and thinking of innovative ways to create and harness your own energy sources.  Jezz I really am starting to sound like Barbara Good!!!!  And as for all these cups of tea I keep consuming, I am worried I am turning decidely British!!!


We have another two weeks of blueberry picking / consumption and I am positive that it will continue to be a gratifying experience.  We have booked our flights and are due to arrive back in Kiwi land on 13th September – something I am so looking forward to.  Marc sounds like he has a job lined up in Auckland starting early October so we’ll be straight back to the big smoke.  I also have some potential work lined up so it looks like I’ll be putting my Dive Masters course off until the summer once I have topped up the savings again.


I will leave you with this thought for the day – the Kiwi winter has similar temperatures to the UK winter – where would you rather be living….??


Until next time!! 



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