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Job Tips for Campsite Couriers 13 : The Rake's Progress
Click on the link below for Part 1 of the series.
Job Tips for Campsite Couriers 13 : The Rake's Progress
The further travails of this campsite courier as he moves home and works alone. Strange things happening to the eyeballs as well as mangling a foreign language as usual. The constant battle against the forces of nature also continues apace.
Here are some more handy tips for all you potential holiday trade workers out there. A personal odyssey perhaps but maybe the general principles will apply in many situations.
Tip: If things aren't working out on your site then just ask for a move
I decided to leave my campsite and put in for a transfer. I was bored with the site and felt like a change.
Luckily I got shifted a nearby site that I had worked on in May so I was delighted to go back for the last few weeks of the season.
It was a better site situated near Desenzano and Sirmione. The reception staff staff were more friendly and everyone seemed to enjoy their work there including the restaurant staff and maintenance guys. The girls at Reception were all multi-lingual but there is something slightly unsettling about hearing a campsite loudspeaker announcement in German, it kind of makes you stand to attention.
The site was also on the shore of the lake with a small beach and a jetty. Ideal for jumping into after a hard, hot days slog.
We only had ten mobiles on the site so it was a single courier position meaning I would be working alone which I didn't mind. I had met the couriers from the other companies before and they were a great bunch.
Tip: Don't wipe your sweaty face with used cloths or towels
The current courier in my position was leaving and going back to England. She is a qualified nurse and it only took one look at my bloodshot right eye for her to spot that I had conjunctivitis.
"What!! Is it fatal? Will I go blind?" I asked in mock horror
"Don't rub them" she advised,
"But it's itchy" I protested,
"Some eye drops will fix it" she said,
"How do you get it then?" I asked
"Usually from towels" she explained.
More likely from my t-shirt as I'm guilty of wiping my the copious amounts of sweat from my eyes when I'm working. Definitely not recommended.
I was wondering why I was waking up in the morning with sticky eyes. I didn't fancy having to buy eye-drops so salt-water was suggested. I didn't fancy that either so I tolerated my sticky peepers for a little bit longer and avoided rubbing them with my working clothes.
I promised to tend to the flowers, corgette plants and fresh basil. Unfortunately I ran over a courgette plant with my trolley and the Maintenance Team sliced three flowers with a strimmer.
Tip : Customers will always arrive much earlier than they should
Although I was on my own I quickly settled back in and was glad of the change. The site was totally dominated by Dutch holidaymakers and many travel through the night turning up at lunchtime after anything up to 12-15 hour journeys.
One family arrived at 11am, queued at Reception and by 12 noon the guy started mumping that they had been waiting an hour to move in. I politely reminded him that check-in is 4pm, so he was getting entry 4 hours early thanks to my sterling efforts.
Never saw him smile once during the 10 days they were here. But true to form they left the mobile spotless leaving not much work for me to do for the next lot.
Another family from the Netherlands joked with me;
"Don't you speak Dutch?"
"What's the point? Nobody speaks Dutch but the Dutch" I said
"Ah! But for the Scots it is easy"
"Well? Och aye! Auchterarder!! Braw bricht and Clachnacudden and all that" I agreed in recognition of the shared guttural emphasis of both languages.
I did make the point that hardly anybody in the world spoke Dutch and it would have helped if they had built a bigger empire. Instead, I believe all they got was the South Mollucans Islands in the Pacific and Surinam in South America.
Tip: Beware of Dutch tongue-twisters
Some of the couriers had a barbecue along with friends who were on holiday. One of them tried to teach me a Dutch tongue twister;
"Achtentachtig prachtige grachten!"
Which she explained meant "Eighty-eight beautiful kennels", or so I thought anyway. This is because I mentioned it to one of my Dutch customers and she hadn't a clue what I was talking about;
"You know? Kennels?"
"Yeah! For dogs, woof-woof!!"
"That's right, the little houses for dogs. Kennels!"
She was still completely non-plussed so I dropped the subject and later asked a Dutch courier to write it down for me so I could practice this tricky little saying. Well! It was no wonder that confusion had reigned supreme
the word was actually 'canals' not 'kennels' as I had mistakenly thought. It was the way that the girl had pronounced it at the barbecue that made me think of that. My customer must have thought I was a bit mad giving it with the "woof-woof!" canine impressions.
Tip: Keeping your site tidy can be hard work
As I said I was glad of the change but when I heard which campsite I was going to my first thought was "leaves", thousands and thousands of them descending from the trees. Autumn every day. Why is that? I thought trees only shed their leaves from September onwards.
I dreaded windy days because all it would take was a few brisk gusts of a breeze and dozens of them would fall like brown dandruff from above.
Although some of them are green and still moist and fresh.
Aren't they supposed to stay up there until their numbers up. Why are green leaves falling to earth before their time?
Even worse are older leaves that have been baking in the hot sun too long and which disintegrate on impact with my trusty rake.
It was worse back in May when I worked there before as we also suffered a flax like substance coming off the tree.
It left the place looking like a White Christmas and coated the spider webs a brilliant white too.
Luckily we had bought a rake out of petty cash and it proved a wise investment indeed. Tricky business raking up leaves as the ground is so dry you can churn up a lot of dust and choke your customers who may be sitting out on the decking enjoying a nice glass of vino.
You've got to be careful you don't cover their washing in the stuff too so you learn to gently brush the surface instead of digging right down.
People also leave various beach artefacts lying around like li-los, dinghies and inflatable crocodiles and I was convinced that one day I'd inadvertently stab one.
I quickly became a self-taught expert on the art of leaf clearance you know. Initially I was packing up the leaves into plastic bags and taking them to the dump in the maintenance yard but I soon got brassed off with that and decided just to pile them up around the back of the mobiles, shovel them under the decking or chuck them over the fence.
I even wondered in an entrepreneurial moment whether I could sell them by the kilo. If only there was a market for that kind of thing. I considered chucking a cake of air-freshener into the bag or spraying it with cheap toilet-cleaner and call it Italian pot-pourri.
Part 14 : The wonders of technology
More info on Lake Garda by Shinkicker at these links
- A Rough Guide to Italy : A Boat Trip on Lake Garda
Share an amazing day cruising on the famous Lake Garda in Italy. Full of spectacular photographs and lyrical observations on the dramatic scenery of this beautiful Italian lake.
- A Rough Guide to Lake Garda : Things to do in Sirmione
A fun-filled travelogue with pictures through the ice-cream capital of Lake Garda. Learn all you need to know about Sirmione, the home of Maria Callas and one of the most historic and picturesque towns on the lake.
- A Rough Guide to Lake Garda : Things to do in Desenzano
An informative guide to things to do in Desenzano on the shores of Lake Garda. Detailed and humourous with all you need to know about this great town in Italy.