Hola! Hope you're smiling :)
No doubt I had a good feeling about Artur, his text messages are friendly and he has been helpful in many ways. What I am most curious about is the farm and also checking if the person in the picture is the real Artur. My host Denis in Liverpool found the farm on Google Earth – The Fauld, it looked lovely but we didn’t see any caravan on the farm.
Though as unlikely as it maybe, if anyone reading this ever wishes to go to Longtown – do not bother to take a taxi from Carlisle and costs only 3 pound 50 while the taxi costs 25 pounds. The bus is super convenient and there are regular buses from Carlisle to Longtown – you can enjoy a nice meal at Graham Arms in Longtown with the 20 pounds if you are taking the bus! The taxi though is luxury, I enjoyed it so the money spent was worth it.
I got off right in front of a closed door of a residence inside the gates of The Fauld. After paying the friendly Bangaldeshi driver, I sent Artur a text message saying I reached ‘The Fauld’ and am happy to wait outside until 1815, until he gets off work, it was around 1620 then. The home is of the farmer who owns the farm. I knew nothing about Charlie and Sylvia or their kids until Sylvia opened the door. Now Artur did tell me that he needs to take the permission of the family whose farm and caravan it is so I am sure Sylvia is not shocked to find an Indian girl alighting from a taxi with a huge backpack, at her doorstep. She said hello and told me that Artur was on the farm. It was bright and sunny, perfect summer afternoon.
Sylvia invited me into her house – I was very happy to go in! As Sylvia and I shifted my luggage into the house she said ‘there’s Artur.’ And there he was, Artur, in his farm clothes, with a nice big smile. His hair shined like gold under the bright sun. He said hello to me and seemed glad that Sylvia was taking me into her house. Sylvia asked if the caravan is open, to which he replied ‘it is.’ She told him that she’ll take me to the caravan after some tea and biscuits. Is he the same guy as in the picture – I am not sure yet but he didn’t seem any less interesting.
I was happy to be inside the house of this kind woman. She treated me to tea and biscuits and inquired about my journey, the trip in general and told me a little about her family – they are from Northern Ireland, hence her Irish accent which I am sure she toned down a little bit so I can understand it, I did. As she spoke with me, Sylvia remembered the buns she left in the over, pity they were burnt – jet black all of them, the oven neither sounds an alarm nor gives away smell, Sylvia told me it wasn’t the first time she burnt her buns. She returned to the table after throwing the buns away and we resumed our conversation. The view outside her kitchen window was fascinating – fields and sheep, a picture postcard view. To Sylvia’s question of how I knew Artur I explained Couchsurfing to her and thanked her for letting Artur be my host on their caravan. She said the family is happy to let Artur be a host and went on to tell me a little about Artur who works on the farm everyday, saving his holidays so he can visit his family in Belarus.
Here Sylvia mentioned it must be hard for Artur to be away from wife and son, did Artur tell you he’s married?’ Artur told me no such thing for it was unnecessary, but his picture on CS shows a wedding ring which is very noticeable so I almost knew he was. It is interesting how Sylvia thought that’s a piece of valuable information – I wonder if she thought I’d be disappointed to know it or maybe she wanted to make sure I knew it so nothing goes wrong. I told her that Artur mentioned something about his family but I don’t know much details.
After the tea, biscuits and the conversation Sylvia took me to the caravan. We walked through the farm, I saw cowshed and big tractors. There was some loud hip-hop coming out of one of the sheds, it added to my excitement. So far away from the hustle and bustle of the city yet so communal and exciting. I loved The Fauld instantly. Sylvia left me at the caravan – she had never been to the caravan before. I loved it! Artur’s bedroom door was open, it was grand with a Queen bed and lights. The adjacent bedroom which is surely for guests had two single beds like the berths on a train compartment, only much narrower and the room more compact. The caravan was right next to the shed and this bedroom in the closest proximity to the cows that regaled me with their mooing. The kitchen was fine and had a good view too but not as splendid as Sylvia’s and the living room had a couch, a computer, guitar and keyboard and a cat! My house for the next four days is the most interesting of the houses I ever lived in.
I returned home around 6 anticipating Artur’s return. He walked in with a smile, got some fresh cow milk and asked if I would like to have milk too. He thought it strange that I don’t like milk. We spoke a little bit and I then asked Artur if we could go to Longtown centre, to a pub maybe and have a drink. He needed to be in bed by 2100, it was close to 1900, we decided to go.
The Fauld is a 30 minute walk from the town centre. By the end of the walk I knew I had made a friend – my host is a very nice, kind, fun, warm and the best! We went to Graham Arms – the most prominent pub in Longtown, had beer – now Artur is from Belarus so he has no idea of Irish beers, he also doesn’t drink much. We had no clue what was on the menu – ordered ‘any’ beer and while we thought of food, someone in the pub suggested we take sandwiches, we did and thanked them for the suggestion. The pub I believe had Longtowners, who probably have lived there for a long time. The only people we saw in the town at around 7:30 where these people in the pub.
Artur and I walked back to the farm – ‘a great evening with my host’ – messages sent to all those who ever worried about this.