It was in the winter of 2012 that I had the idea of working on organic farms. The western economy had collapsed (again!) and it was clear that it was in its death throes. There are many organisations around trying to work towards alternatives; the Transition Movement for example. That true wealth comes from the earth is a given for me – on various levels. What better way to spend a summer than naked in the sun working to bring nourishment from the soil and experiencing ‘alternative’ lifestyles. An impossible dream? Not so. Read on.
I joined an organisation that links people willing to work with those needing help. The deal is that you normally work 4 to 6 hours a day – usually with a day off- in exchange for a bed and food – simple. I studied the book I was sent and found what looked like a suitable place.
I started work in late March which is a time of unpredictable weather in England. Mornings were very often frosty but with strong sunshine breaking through at lunchtime and lasting well into the afternoon. The air temperature could be cool but with the sun’s radiant heat, it was lovely. Luckily I was able to organise my work so that I had a big chunk of time at mid day when I could find a quiet place to be in the sun. The farm was 38 acres of paddocks and woodland so there was plenty of scope. At that time there were no other workers around. The owner of the farm, my boss, Aysha stayed in the office most off the time. So mostly, I worked alone. I was hopeful that a chance would come to clear my naked preference with Aysha. I reasoned that I had a better chance of success if she got to know me first.
Just as the weather turned cooler, we were joined by another worker – Cliff. He had been a professional musician but broke with the band because of artistic differences. He had already smoked his own weight in dope and was still going strong. He was as jumpy as a box of frogs and went at every task like a bull at a gate. There was probably more to the band break up than an artistic difference. Aysha was a strong willed woman. It was not long before she and Cliff were banging heads. Something had to go and as it turned out it was Cliff. That’s about the only thing you can do in such circumstances.
Spring was in its full stride by now and we were getting some seriously nice sunshine. Aysha and I were getting along pretty well she was confiding in me and asking my advice on things – then ignoring it!
She normally wore a heavy woollen top, thick tweed trousers tucked into Wellington Boots.
One morning she announced,’ if the weather stays like this, I will be stripping off!’
I knew that she did not mean this literally but recognised this as my chance and said, ‘I would prefer to be naked too if that’s ok with you of course’.
Her face was a picture. Unusually she was at a complete loss for words. At that point I was not sure which way this was going to go. After what seemed like an age of just staring at one another, she said, ’Yes, I think that would be ok, but, I won’t be joining you and I might change my mind’.
I hope that you can imagine the euphoria that I felt at that moment. The thought of the whole summer, outdoors and naked, openly, no need to be vigilant, no hiding, no need to carry anything ‘just in case’ wonderful! Wonderful!
We could be seen on part of the farm by a neighbour in a big house way up on the hill. As an afterthought, I asked, ‘What about the neighbours, Aysha?’ and pointed at the house. ‘Bugger the neighbours. Let them look.’ She replied. That was fine by me and I knew then that she was on my side.
One morning I was constructing some tomato cages on an area of grass near the poly tunnels. It was then that I heard an unfamiliar female voice, ‘Hi, is Aysha about?’ I looked up and saw a girl on the track about 100 meters away. She had long wavy blond hair and a beaming smile. Only the top of her body was visible, the rest was hidden by the long grass between us. I told the girl that Aysha was off on an errand. She said that she had come to work here. What do I do now? I pointed to the cabins where we lived and said that I would meet her there but I needed to clean up first. I collected my shorts on the way.
There were three cabins arranged in a ‘U’ shape around a small court yard. One of the cabins formed our communal sitting room and that’s where the girl was sitting when I arrived wearing my now very unfamiliar shorts. The first thing she said was, ‘were you naked back there?’ ‘Yes I was’, I replied. I was surprised both at her direct question and my equally direct answer. ‘That’s ok. I’m cool with that,’ she said again with a smile. Wow! Linda was the first of many other people that came to work on the farm. But after that experience with her I greeted all the others with confidence and openness and they just accepted that was the way it was! Unexpected visitors I treated in the same way.
I will leave this story for now. There is more to tell. One day maybe I will finish it.