Monday, December 7, 2015

No more "oranges" after so many years!

Many years ago we had a couple of young American guys who camped, trying to think back I am sure it was 2003, so right back at the beginning. Odd to think its over 12 years ago, seems like only yesterday!

Anyway I digress! Well they came to us and said as they had a very tight budget and could we put them to work instead of them paying! We laughed and said" well I suppose so as we have lots of jobs ongoing". In the early days I remember we expected people to just keep working until all the jobs got done and we did have some horrible jobs to get sorted!

One quite well known early "orange" who painted alot! 
We met some guys camping in Font and they too came and stayed with us, lovely Lewis worked so hard with Rich to build the outdoor showers, Simon built us sleeping platforms, Pepe did just about everything we threw at him, Marijne helped to manage the place and so many many names I just can't list them all. " Two now live in American with 4 kids after meeting here along time ago!

A few years ago we decided to make it more formal and asked for only 2.5hrs each day stayed with us. Some said that was soft but when we had great workers that more than kept the place ticking over! We then allocated roles so even more formal!

The idea of "oranges" wasn't just to help to clean and look after the place though. They also created a nice atmosphere when the house was quiet and of course provided climber partners to single clients staying with us. Also in the early days it allowed me time off from the questions like "what is the best crag for 6a routes?" lol

How many "oranges?"
When we then started our house build 3 years ago having more hands to help seemed like a good idea and yes it was! In the early days like when we did the foundations it was amazing and a massive THANKS to everyone that helped on our house. All built with love and laughter....

Well after all this positive stuff why have we stopped the scheme as we know it!

I think the main issues was having too many all at the same time. This caused many problems, one been that as they had other "oranges" to climb with they became very insular and stopped interacting with the guests.

Also, even though we expected an amount of work to be done, many came with the idea that it was a holiday. Which of course it was, however that meant they would stay in bed until lunch time and then squeeze in the work and then want to go climbing!

Another issue was that they took up sleeping space and used the outdoor kitchen. Now don't get me wrong I am very grateful for the people that have helped us over the years. BUT when it caused me more stress to go around and clean up after "oranges" then we had a problem.

So now what? To be honest I am not sure what is the best way forward? We have a few "oranges" booked to come for this season but only one at a time which will be great for us and I do hope they don' get too lonely!

Once again a MASSIVE THANKS to the "oranges" that have gone before, we really could not have done as much as we have without them. More important we have made some amazing friends for life.

Watch this space and lets see what we come up with next season......

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