"And don't blady miss any!"

Trip Start Jul 28, 2009
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Trip End Jul 27, 2010


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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Sunday, April 11, 2010

I’ve been meaning to write an entry in my blog about my harvest work since day one, but when I come home from the fields I barely have enough energy to make myself some food. It’s hard, dirty work.


You may, or may or not know that I’ve got a job in fruit picking tomatoes. Even before I left Sydney for the job people were telling me that it was going to be hard work and that I’d be back within the week. They weren’t wrong about it being hard, especially as you have to bend up and down all the time because the tomatoes are everywhere. Not like mangoes or peppers where it’s on one level. It sucks if you’re tall in this job, as you will get a very bad back. A Korean strangely said to me that I had the right body to be a picker. Aww yeah..


My first day I didn’t know what to expect. I have to wake up at 5 in the morning everyday - and I work 7 days a week. Its easy to fall into a routine when it’s that vigourous, you get used to it. Putting on my hand-me-down clothes which I had got off some Swedish guy who had left the day before. He have me some gloves, a hat and a really dirty long sleeved shirt, which I haven’t washed since he gave me. It was white, now it’s brown. Its disgusting.
 Everyday we leave the hostel at 6.15 and travel by car to the farm. I always get a lift with a Swedish guy call Patrick (who people call the clown because of his big red cowboy hat) and a Russian/German guy called Mike. The first farm I went to was called Sandy Flats, and its my favourite farm of the two. There are lots of pickers, maybe around 40 of us. Lots of Koreans. 


We all climbed up onto the tractor trailer (which could be considered quite dangerous) and we travelled to the patch of tomatoes they wanted us to pick. The first day was one of the best picking days ever. The fields hadn’t been picked for 4 days and there were so many tomatoes. It was my first day and I picked 70 buckets. Other people on their first days picked around 25-30 so I was very happy with how many I picked. Even my landlady Barbara gave me a thumbs up when I told her, this sent shivers down my spine!


The next few days I achieved the same amount of buckets, so I was averaging 70 buckets per day. I was happy, as this would mean that I’d be earning over $1000 per week. Unfortunately the amount of tomatoes have been dropping. It’s coming to the end of the season, and all the Koreans have left. Yesterday we pulled up the plastic 


The owners of the lodge are quite weird too. The first night I was here someone got kicked out because they left the gas on the oven on whilst he was washing the dinner. Greg, one of the owners started swearing at him for it, so he left straight away. 
If you don’t wash all the dishes at the end a meal time (for example, breakfast or dinner) then the will charge you $2 dollars each. That’s $2 times the 40 people here. They make $80 dollars every time someone doesn’t wash up. They’re weird people.
They also lie, when I arrived they said that there was plenty more picking for the season and that I’d pick around 40 buckets in the first day. (Ok, I did pick 70) But the new people that just arrived, she said to them that they’d pick 80 in the first day and that there was lots of picking left. She only said that to get them in and get the money off them. She knows that us backpackers are disposable, and she takes advantage of us.


I think it’s just the place I’m at in Australia. It’s in the middle of no where and there is a sense that I’m in America’s mid west. Racism, backward thinking, little internet. I feel like I’ve stepped back 10 years! I realise now how much I like cities international feel, integration and cosmopolitan nature.
This place is even sleepier than Braunton in winter! 
Catalogue of funny common phrases by the farmer


“Don’t blady miss any” - Telling us not to miss any of those precious tomatoes


“There’s too many greens in here” - Sometimes you put in a few greens just to fill up your bucket.


“Dollar ’50 a bucket for you” - He always makes idle threats to you saying he’ll pay you less if you’re not pulling your weight. He said that to me, but didn’t reflect on my pay packet.


“Oi, leave the leaves on the tree will ya?” - When you’re going fast you sometimes pull the plant apart.


“CHA CHA” - A Korean girl whose name I only know because he is a dirty old man and definitely flirts with her.


“Fill ‘em up will ya?” - You have to make your bucket over flowing.. he won’t accept a bucket that’s not filled up to the point that the tomatoes fall out.


“PULL THE FUCKING STORKS OFF!”


“Imagine you’re going to a pub, and you expect it to be full”


“You’re cutting into my drinking here”


“you’re not getting paid by the kilometre, you’re paid by the bucket”


And my favourite one so far;


“Put the greens on the ground, and I’ll put you on the ground” - I wish he did put me on the ground so that I can sue him. That would save me so much time from saving.
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