Warkworth is the small town of small towns. There’s a post office, two churches, a grocery store, several fish & chips shops, and a bus station. Go down three blocks and you’ve left Warkworth for the rolling hills of sheep pastures.
The Warkworth Lodge is one of several small motels—classy motels, think comfy B&B—nestled into the corner of the town. Its owners, Liz and Geoff, work full time running the lodge, and spend all their free time and energy caring for their three young kids, one of whom plays underwater hockey for her school (wut?!). The only other workers are volunteers like me, who come to the lodge for a few weeks and work part-time, cleaning and booking rooms in return for accommodation and food.
It’s a well-oiled—and yet laid-back—machine here. The day after I arrived the other volunteer, Sabine (pronounced “Sabrina” without the r and with an uh and the end instead of an ah), showed me the ropes. We cleaned bathrooms, stripped and re-made beds, cleaned kitchens, vacuumed and dusted rooms, washed towels and sheets, hung them out to dry, folded and ironed them and ate delicious, delicious lasagna made by Liz.
It’s hard work, this domestic stuff, but weirdly peaceful. Hanging wet sheets and collecting them dry off the line fifteen minutes later is my favorite part of the day. Folding them, on the other hand, is a nightmare. I’ve learned quickly that making beds is an art that I do not yet possess. The same with cleaning a shower without banging my elbow against the side of it or spilling water from the shower head down my shirt. Every. Time. But after all that hard work, rolling green hills, a pristine pool and hot tub, sunny skies and the vociferous wind are pure bliss when combined with a good novel and some comfortable writing, coffee and hearty dinner.
“I know that there is nothing better for us than to be happy and do good while we live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in his or her work, this is a gift from God.”