Posted by: Joan Spiller | May 25, 2014

Happy Birthday, Will

You may recall that I joined a wwoofer site last year. (And how lucky I’ve been!) From the vunderbar Benjamin, to the insouciant Quentin (My 1st wwoofers will always be special to me!) to several others – all of whom did various chores for me – it’s been a great experience.

Not totally new to wwoofers, I grew up with them in our home as we had one of NZ’s first organic farms. However, when finding the website and having a browse, I confess to being a bit anxious as there were so many negative comments from “hosts” about these dreadful “free-loading visitors” to NZ.

Me tho? I think I have been lucky with “my” wwoofers. And I wonder if some of the hosts are in fact ‘free loaders”, seeking cheap labour without wanting to give anything more than the bare necessities to their wwoofer in return.

Anyway, for now (and at the risk of sounding ever-so-slightly creepy) I would like to pay tribute to a wwoofer who arrived in our lives some 3 months ago.
A very special wwoofer..

Young Will first “appeared” on my horizon around Xmas ..

I got an email from this guy saying he’d laughed out loud (scaring people on the train, no less!) at my profile and wanted to come and wwoof here, if he could. (unsure why he laughed, I mean heck as everyone who knows me knows – I am VERY cereal!?!) 😉

Anyway, a few emails were exchanged and it was agreed, in return for a fridge magnet & some slave labour – he could come and stay here while in NZ in 2014.

Some months elapsed then I got an email from Will saying he was in NZ! We settled on a date for his arrival and all was well in my world ..

The day he was due, I texted to get an arrival time so I knew what time to make dinner .. oops – he had forgotten (like I said, special, this one!) and could he come tomorrow, please?

Happens to the best of us .. fine, says I .. see you tomorrow ..

Next day?  Car troubles..
Oh my days, so terribly sorry – I will be there soon” ..

I confess at this point I said to CJ: “this one we will love or hate, and right now I am unsure which way I lean!”

And so it was that Will arrived on the most vile, hottest day this Summer. I had visitors when he arrived (Quentin, one of my wwoofers had dropped in with some friends and was catching up on progress, that was very cool!) ..

I have to give Will credit, he wasn’t remotely fazed by the fact that the second they left, I said him we were off to the beach with the dogs. Wwoof job #1, keep Joan company on random activities 😉

At this point, it is fair to say he may well have wondered what he had let himself in for because after our beach jaunt, we hit the supermarket and bottle store then came home to make dinner and drink cocktails!

How well I recall that evening – not the least because we spent it melting in 30+ deg temps but also because Will jumped up, apologising for not doing the dishes around 9pm. I hadn’t even thought about dishes, I was well relaxed and – as we all know? Dishes keep 😉

But it was a testament to Will’s work ethic that he wanted to help from day 1, and that no chore was a bad chore – if it needed doing, he was there to help. His Momma done good! (That’s a topic for another day, how to raise a good man – this lady did an amazing job, no two ways about it!)

Now let’s move away from the boozing (altho there are some fun stories there!) and instead let’s talk about what he did, while here. Yes, past tense. Cos William has moved on, I finally let him go (and it was not easy ..) as I type this he is down south, staying with an ex-boss of mine and I am left with many reminders of his time here – so let’s talk about that, cos it is rather cool!

While here Will fixed all my fencing so the goats couldn’t escape (easily – never say never, I am learning! Cos yeah, those damn goats figured out how to get thru’ his fencing! Buggers!)

He built a playground for said $#@! kids to enjoy. And best of all? He built them a house .. one they could sleep on, jump off, take shelter in .. it’s perfect. Don’t you agree:

As an aside, I am now updating this on May 20 and Will is dead to me. He’s been down South slaughtering all sorts of innocent animals, hanging with far-too-cool types and the goats have wrecked his fencing. If he turned up right now? Well heck, I do believe I would set the dogs on him!

And after they’d licked him into the ground, I’d hug & welcome him back 😉

Will built several major items while here, the hut for the goats, the hen house (check it out below, it’s AWESOME .. and the girls love it, lay their eggs happily in their nesting boxes and shelter in the porch he put on said house, if needed .. He also installed a water collection system off the roof, and did I mention the auto feeder so if I need to, I can go away for a few days knowing they’ll be fed? So resourceful, he really did a great job of these projects for me.

He set up troughs, he did fencing, he stacked wood, he ran around doing all sorts of chores.. but here’s the hen house, for a start:


My biggest and most adorable troublemaker – Josh .. exploring the playground Will made for the kids.

Will and “friend”.. I think he was actually trying to wring its neck so he could eat it but I came out and interrupted so he made it look like he was cuddling poor Fabio!

A bottle of wine I got him .. for some reason he didn’t appreciate it?
Kids these days!! 😉
(look closely at the label, heh)

That was the Sunday of THAT hangover .. we had all these chores to do and spent the day laying on couches dying instead.  It was all CJ’s fault..

Speaking of CJ .. this (above) was taken on a rather crazy weekend in Hawke’s Bay where we dragged Will to watch CJ retain her crown in a bikini contest at the bar where she used to work.

Jelly injected donuts for afternoon tea before we head to the bar ..

Will making pizzas for us all.. He even tolerated the fact I needed a pan base not thin and crispy, even tho it pained him so! LOL
Will trashing the joint. While putting a gate into the goat fence / paddock!

Vodka on the rocks, in the sunset. Can you make out the gold flecks in it? Very indulgent, and delicious to boot!

Warming up his beer while he gave Roxy a cuddle.

Out “foraging” with the girls … there was always lots of laughter in any day while he was here. It was lovely ..

Bit fishy this one!. I made him cook his dinner outside one night .. fishy smelly nasty stuff that it was 😉

I actually struggle to list all the things he did while here, like building me the most awesome garden box. And helping me plant it out.. it’s now groaning with spinach, silverbeet, leeks, spring onions, sage, rosemary, thyme, basil, parsley, mint, french tarragon – and is the centre piece of my yard, I love it!

SBeet thyme etc

He just did everything and anything .. For example: I needed to stop the iRobot from spending useless time under my bed bumping between the legs (ie trapped lol) so he built a frame and sat it under the bed out of sight, so the vacuum cannot get stuck any more.

Every day when I would get home from work, the house was spotlessly clean, the wine would be chilling, animals would be fed and all (plus some) chores would be done.

One week while he was staying with us, I fell ill with an horrendous flu, literally couldn’t get out of bed. Will went out, bought ingredients and made me pumpkin soup and toast for dinner ..

He worked his butt off while here and I am never going to forget this cheeky pom who turned up a stranger.. but left a dear friend.

Maybe that’s the thing some wwoof hosts don’t get .. it isn’t a transaction or a bludging system.. it’s a mutually rewarding relationship – if you do it right!

I will leave you with this video, taken at Easter, when Will came “home” for the weekend, before setting off down South.. it’s around 2am (so forgive the bleary eyes and stumbling words) .. suffice to say I think it sums up our time with Will beautifully .. lots of food, lots of booze, lots of work and lots of fun.

I think I can safely speak for CJ, Tim and I when I say that we miss you Will, and we hope you have a lovely birthday!

PS did my present arrive in time? Hope so!





  1. […] of those people who got it. Who fitted in and was “lovely” to have around. She’s my female “Will”.. A rare accolade […]


  2. fantastic fantastic!!! cant get the video to go but i dont need that cos i know what you mean…he will return!!!


  3. I read this earlier and had to go away and collect myself! Joan.. thank you so much for your amazing testimonial to my lovely lad. I couldn’t be more proud of him, he has brought me joy every day of his 23 years. But I want to say thank you so much, you have made an amazing adventure of your beautiful country absolutely amazing for him both in your friendship, generosity, spirit and love of life and fun. You have made an immense difference to how I at home, have experienced him being so far away, following your antics and your brilliant posts and your lovely messages to me have made such a difference to what I thought was going to be a difficult wrench. You are one hell of a woman and I hope I get to meet you one day. How do I say it?…’sheesh’ you are bloody marvellous Joan x


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