Estancia Cerro Negro – Day 68 to 78- (4th February – 13th)

It’s currently nine days later after my last update, meaning we’ve made it back to Natales alive and well, something that I thought wasn’t always a certainty in the wilderness of Cerro Negro, so I’m currently feeling quite relieved, and my enthusiasm has also been bolstered by the availability of an internet connection and a social life, especially because I can now announce to my family, friends and anyone reading my blog, that my heart is in fact still beating, and my fingers have still been typing away whilst I have had no wifi. I think it’s relief all round. However, this does mean I’ve yet again left myself with a fuck load of writing to do in order to cover the latest escapade in our huge adventure, but all I find myself wanting to do is bury my head into my pillow and suffocate myself into a beautiful week long coma. Adding to my difficulties is the realisation that we have finished our six week stint working for the extraordinary Maclean family, and although this means we won’t have to be rolling around in sheep shit for a very long time to come, I feel very inclined to mark the occasion with a top quality blog post worthy of giving Kevin, Ian and everyone else that has made the last month or so such an incredible experience, the respect they deserve. I think we all know who’s getting the shoutout for the last ten days.

Similarly to our time at Baguales, we haven’t quite been busy and intrepid enough to make each day worthy of its own separate post, and although the work has been much more exciting and entertaining whilst fulfilling our crucial assignments in order to protect the sacred lambs, I think it would be best for all parties involved in writing and reading this blog if I squeeze all of our antics into one mega-blog. However, I’m not feeling quite as organised as I was after Baguales, so I’m just going to scribble down the most entertaining, weird and interesting that Los Tres Amigos have been a part of since Sunday the fifth.

I believe most people say that one should always save the best until last, and this could include a politician’s bullshitting speech, an unconvincing sales pitch, or even a person’s mother when trying to convince you she has lots of ‘brilliant news’, when in truth, everyone knows it’s all absolute codswallop. However, I’m not one to comply with the ‘norms’ or ridiculous rules, and I think that this first short story will improve the rest of the blog significantly, so I’m going to tell you about it now.

Chapter One – The Mystical Forest of Cerro Negro (the black hill)

Once upon a time (the 5th of February, 2017) three young amigos were sleeping in a van, with the sole purpose of guarding and protecting 2338 lambs. I happened to be one of these youths, and so this is the story of me and my two friends, and our discovery of the mystical forest of the Estancia Cerro Negro. One of the main parts of our job was to frequently check on the little shits and make sure none of them had been eaten by Pumas, as well as monitoring any potential sheep-nappers disguised as fisherman. This sounded fairly simple and quite exciting compared to fencing, and we entered the paddock for only the second time with more confidence than we knew what to do with. As you would expect, this backfired significantly, as we became extremely lost extremely quickly, despite the paddock appearing to be a simple circle shape and no bigger than a playing field. We soon realised we would need to engage our brains if we were going to get out of the forest alive and in time for lunch, so found the river and worked out the caravan should be in the opposite direction. This assumption was fairly realistic, and we marched off deeper into the wilderness in search of our home. In order to stay in a straight line, we refused to take any easier routes or paths, and insisted on crossing every single bit of river that was in our way. This made for one hell of an intrepid expedition, but our enthusiasm took a serious battering when El worked out we were about to cross a river on the same piece of fallen tree that we had crawled along a matter of minutes ago. Feeling let down by our navigational experience and D of E training, we spiralled into a state of disarray and depression, and almost accepted our abysmal defeat at the hands of a bunch of trees. I was about to begin covering myself in sticks and hoping nature would adopt me, when I caught a glimpse of what looked like a fence. We immediately started running in the direction of my sighting, and a beautifully man made construction became more and more real as we did so. We had made it! Of course we hadn’t quite arrived back where we wanted to though, as somehow we had done a full circle and found ourselves back at the Argentinian border fence, along way from our van, but we now knew we would live to tell the tale.

The story doesn’t end there though, as later in the day we decided to try out our homemade fishing lines, or tarros, and so headed back into the woodland, but this time with much more caution and following the river. My water bottle/tarro, as well as El’s pisco bottle and Benj’s tin, were all working well, however the fish were having none of our nonsense, and so we were forced to frequently moved spots in order to retain our sanity and waste some more time. The minutes passed by, but the only action we got on the end of our lines was a tree trunk that had attached itself to Benj’s hook, but once we had eventually freed his line, we decided we needed some better bait and began the journey back to the van. As were feeling a bit more comfortable in the wood, we stupidly decided to go back an alternative route and headed away from the river bank. We genuinely thought we couldn’t possibly go wrong, as we had even brought a compass with us and worked out the direction of our base, but in extraordinary circumstances, we quickly stumbled upon what appeared to be a completely new river. I know I speak for all three of us when I say our sanities were really tested at this point, however the only explanation we could come up with to answer the millions of questions that were now whirling around our heads, was that the paddock had some sort of magic powers and was a haven for the supernatural and mystical elements of the world. Obviously you know we made it back to our beds without being consumed by magic, and you are probably also clever enough to know that the three of us were just being massive idiots, and you would be write. It turned out the ‘new’ river was just the same one but we had been fishing in a huge meander, and we had been probably getting lost because of our incompetence and insistence on clambering around the forest like monkey’s. However, the I can’t help but think the area, similarly to Baguales, has a very weird aura about it, and you will soon find out we had other questionable experiences in the forest throughout our time in the caravan.

Chapter Two – The Bake-off

The next chapter of my little story book for not so little children, is loosely based on the true story of two budding bakers and their tiny little kitchen. The events of the sixth day of February, and our fourth day in the campervan, came as a result of me and Benj trying to make some sopaipillas and bread, in order to feel more Chilean, and get good women, as Ian had encouraged us to do. For most people, the act of making dough and putting it in the oven or in some oil would not necessarily go too well, but probably wouldn’t provide the kind of entertainment that our little session of the bake-off managed to pull off. I’m no Sue Perkins, and Benj is not quite Mel Giedroyc, but I think we could have made a pretty successful baking programme in our little portable trailer kitchen. At least we had a caravan in the middle of Patagonia, and not some shitty tent dotted somewhere in the British countryside.

My mission to successful make the Chilean delicacy of sopaipillas, which are effectively donuts but much nicer and cooler, began in the morning, and the first step was to create the dough that would be cut up and fried. Due to my limited knowledge of cooking, I genuinely thought it would be as easy as I just made it sound, and my two instructions that I had screenshotted from google reinforced my belief that baking was like playing jazz, and that you could simply improvise your way through the process and to success, even if you make a few mistakes along the way. If hadn’t been for the presence of the two anal perfectionists called Benj and El, I would have waltzed my through the baking, and even if ended up cooking a few disgusting dough balls, I would have guaranteed an enjoyable and pleasurable experience when making them. However, this wasn’t possible in hell’s kitchen, and so with the aid of the two master chefs, I precisely measured in the yeast, flour and other shit into the bowl and began mixing my dough. After this step was completed, I was told numerous instructions from different recipes that all three of us had collected, so I bravely chose just to leave the dough as it was to ‘prove’ and sit down to relax.

After an hour of beautiful boredom had passed, we checked on my creation, only to be disappointed in seeing the mixture hadn’t really done anything it was told to do, so in went back to my seat, frustrated and annoyed that my project wasn’t coming together. My apparent failure inspired Benj to try and do better, so he gathered up some spare ingredients that had been spilled on the table by me, of which there was an awful lot, and began doing the same thing as me in an experiment to find out where I had gone wrong. Annoyingly, Benj’s dough immediately started to do a lot more than mine, and soon he was ready to begin kneading the mixture to complete the last step before it was to be cooked. Mine on the other hand was doing fuck all, so I left the others to it, and my lazy bread to do nothing, and gave myself a well deserved nap. I thought this might do the trick, but as Benj was placing his bread shaped dough into the oven, my shit-shaped mixture hadn’t changed whatsoever, leaving me and my food in tatters. Fearing the abysmal reviews of Mary Berry and her apprentice Paul Hollywood, I through caution to the wind and my dough onto the table, and began the best bit of baking by a country mile, the kneading. As a kid, this was occasionally the highlight of my weekend, as for some unknown reason, getting your hands as mucky and sticky as possible in aid of cooking food was extremely exciting, and I won’t lie, it still is. I was absolutely loving it, but according to the now disgustingly doughy table, chairs, floor, sink and flour bag, I had slightly lost my touch when it comes to battering the shit out of a ball of nearly bread. Nevertheless, I eventually had something in my hands that resembled what I had seen Chef using back in Peninsula to make the sopaipillas, so I cranked up the heat, chopped up the dough pie that I had flattened with a mug, and was soon ready to put my squares into the oil.

The first few attempts definitely didn’t to plan, and was probably down to the oil being way too hot, and my stiff refusal to accept I was wrong, meaning I was left with two very burnt but still doughy balls that I’m pretty sure couldn’t be compared to the heavens creations that the Chileans make. However, I had come so far and was defiantly refusing to accept defeat, so I waited for the oil to cool, and tried a few more. It was tense wait whilst the dough was hopefully cooking, but the first sign of success arrived when they squares began to float, and after another few precious minutes had passed, and I had superbly flipped them, it was time to remove the potential sopaipillas from the oil and onto the tasting table. We each took a bite, and after a few chews, a few additions of flavouring, and three swallows, the verdicts were in… they were sopaipillas!!! We all agreed they were a tad salty, but this was easily covered up by a coating of chocolate spread, confirming the success of my latest mission, and leaving me extremely pleased with myself and my dodgy cooking skills.

To add to this accomplishment, Benj gained a new life skill capable of earning the arm of a good lady, as his experimental loaf tasted good enough to feed the five thousand, which he now hoped would be five thousand females. The day got even better, as Kevin and his cousin came to the caravan to have some mate, and accidentally roped themselves into trying my sopaipillas, but as I nervously handed over the shaking tray, they chose their poison, but to my great surprise, they actually seemed to enjoy them, and rather might have even been genuine, but it’s hard to tell. All in all, it was a proud day for Los Tres Amigos, as we had taken another huge traditional step forward to becoming true Chileans by adding sopaipillas and bread to our repertoire of food and drink that we have not only tried, but successfully made.

Chapter Three – The Three Frightened Amigos

The falling of darkness on the evening of the seventh, and the emergence of the almost perfect moon that shone bright on our little caravan, brought about a story that is well worth being told to you and shared by all. The events that unfolded have left me a changed man, as the things I saw and the things I felt, have affected me in a way that I could never truly describe to anyone, and I will never be able to forget this night for all of eternity.

If you’ve noticed I’m trying to write in a mysterious and creepy way, you are extremely clever because it’s no secret that I’m absolutely terrible at writing in a scary and intimidating way. However, I feel I should get in some practice, and seeing as the three of us endured a genuinely creepy night that merited a small portion of the fright that it actually caused, I don’t think there will be a much better opportunity.

The day had been typically normal as a chilled out but slightly boring day, so we waltzed through the early evening and the last few hours of light with an absolute breeze, and began prepping for bed time with a strong ease of security and safety. However, as the moonlight gradually got stronger and the darkness began engulfing the caravan and the three puesteros that were hiding out in it, the night dramatically changed direction, signified by the intense howling from the dogs inside the paddock, which suggested danger was near, and meant we had to fulfill our duties by going in search of this unknown threat. Despite mine and Benj’s sensible reluctance to enter the huge woods at night time, seeing as even when it’s light we manage to get completely lost, El marched on into the forestry and lead Los Tres Amigos towards our fate. The dogs screaming edged closer as our hesitant steps inched our formation forward, but then suddenly the whole planet fell silent, and all we were left with was the sound of nature’s rustling and my irratable bowels. This was enough to scare the shit out of anyone, so we decided to turn back, only to hear an echoing and screeching howl from the opposite direction, so we quickly upped the pace and retreated to our home.

We were back in our van and cocooned in our sleeping bags within minutes, but our ‘cabin in the woods’ experience began to create the start of a real life scary story that would be told by millions around the campfire for years to come. Once I had written down a great storyline to a horror movie featuring the three of us and some evil sheep, I attempted to forget about the frightening situation we were in, and shut my eyes in a desperate attempt to get to sleep. This was impossible due the ferocious winds smacking against the fragile caravan, and the crashes and bangs inside of the furniture didn’t help my heart rate at all. Even with Benj layer a matter of metres away from me, I felt isolated and trapped amongst danger in my little shelf that I call a bed. The night seemed like it would never end.

With the help of my headphones and some brilliant music choice including The Beatles and The Scissor Sisters, I managed to drift off into a state of semi-sleep, but then suddenly the darkness outside the windows was wiped out by two beaming rays of light, and I began to hear the sound of a roaring engine. Was it aliens? Was it kidnappers? Was I dreaming? I had no idea, so I bravely send out Benj first to check it out. I called his name but got no reply, so I crept out of the door armed with a kettle and a spatula and made my presence known to the evil being that stood before me. I thought this was the end. I said my goodbyes to family and friends, and bowed down in offering my head.

Of course I wasn’t actually kneeling in front of a superior species, as It turned out to be Rodrigo coming to drop off some work stuff at a typically weird hour. He had left us messages but no one had internet, but we were still bemused at why he had left it so late, and also how he had successfully navigated his way to the van in the complete darkness. Classic Rodrigo. Thankfully, his friendly presences eased our nerves, and we had all flopped soon after he left, ending our very own nightmare horror story.

Chapter Four – Masterchef

The next chapter of my novelistic adaptation of the true story of Los Puesteros, comes from the ten days as a whole, as I believe the standard of our cooking skills deserves a huge amount of publicity and respect, especially in the circumstances of our tiny little kitchen in our tiny little caravan. Thankfully, for most of our time at Cerro Negro, we didn’t have the horrible pressure of cooking for a master like Lucho or Panchi, but although we haven’t had Greg Wallis or his bald assistant to judge us on our food’s appearance, smells and the time it took to prepare each dish, the three of us agreed that we continued to better ourselves every time we entered the kitchen, and despite the obvious bias, we think we could have breezed through Masterchef, dominated the professionals version, and then bossed our way through the celebrity edition. Other professional chefs, cooking judges, and just any other normal people may disagree with us, but we genuinely are very proud of the meals we have put together, especially our speciality dish that still has no name, so I would strongly advise that you just assume I am telling the truth about the quality of our food if you hope to avoid any tantrum or backlash when I get home.

The first few nights started fairly average, as we played it safe by constructing burgers with eggs the first night, and putting our new form of rice, that wasn’t yet perfected, with some prom steaks that looked after themselves in the oven. This was in aid of three ravenous young chaps that had been battered by lambs for the two days and just wanted some easy and filling comfort food to soothe their wounds and pains. However, by the third night we were bored enough and motivated enough to kick it up a gear, and so decided to bring out the big guns, in the form of a massive beef joint of an unknown part of the cow. However, before we could begin tossing in ingredients and forming something edible, we had to perform a quality test on the meat to see if it was still worthy of being eaten by us kings, and conclude whether or not it would kill us in the process. Our fears regarding the dodgy fridge and complicated power system in the van nearly came back to haunt us, as upon removal from the freezer, the joint had an extremely pungent smell of something it really shouldn’t have reminded me of, but after unwrapping it, and deciding we couldn’t afford just to ditch two meals worth of food, we began preparing our fajita dish.

Some would say that using any sort of prepared marinade or powder rub would be classed as cheating in the cooking world, and maybe in the lives of the millionaire celebrity chefs in their million pound kitchens, this would be true, however I will definitely believe until the day I die, that our amazing use of something called initiative was not breaking any cooking laws, but actually was making the most of our resources and minimising cost, effort and time, three things that are crucial in the kitchens of real world. Furthermore, the fajitas, which included peppers, onions and our special garlic rice, tasted amazing!

This would be hard to top, but the next day (the 6th) we brought out the skills we had gained when making the apparently successful cottage pie, and extracted our mince and applied it to a spaghetti bolognese. The mixture of seasonings, sausage mince, and colourful spaghetti, made for a superb Italian feast, but we knew we could do better. Unfortunately, our skills of variation severely let us down, as for some unknown reason, the next day we decided to cook our simple, but still Italian, dish of pasta, sauce and chorizo, so I’m just going to skip past this meal and straight to the eighth when Lian came to visit and we conjured up a very suitable chile, made with the usual combination of peppers, onions and anything else we had in the fridge, and accompanied by our usual side dish of rice. Despite my best efforts to look after the pan of chile whilst head chef El and sou chef Benj were out searching for a lost Lian, I just about managed to burn the meat and sauce by the time they were back, but thankfully nothing could ruin yet another top quality meal from Los Tres Amigos.

The most traditional and suitable meal we could come up with for the country that we have been homed in, was a spanish omelette or frittata. We obviously gave it our own little touch by inserting some bacon, and of course we added peppers and onions, and made a bit of rice to go with the dish, which all created an immensely tasty and good looking omelette pie type thing that we thoroughly enjoyed. It probably wasn’t our best meal as it took us a good three hours in total to make, but this only made our appetites stronger and therefore made the food taste even better.

The tenth of February was lucky enough to host the meal of the week (ten days) as it was time for us to whack up our gastro creation of chicken con peppers, onions, chorizo and special rice, which after both the two times we have made it, we have believed it will someday become a world-renowned dish and cooked by billions. It certainly topped the menu for the week, but was closely followed by the professional standard of stir-fry we put together on our last night, after we had done pasta and sauce again the night before to accommodate the fourth addition to the Puesteros in the form of a student vet that looked like he was pretty hungry when he arrived. Somehow, even with noodles, onions (we had run out) and a wok, we still successfully cooked up a fantastic dish worthy of being eaten by the Chinese themselves. It was a brilliant last dinner, and topped off a week of fantastic meals and majestic eating.

As a little conclusion to this chapter, I would like to add some of the many things we have learnt about the world of cooking during our time in the caravan. The first piece of useful information we gave ourselves was the importance of space. Having a large kitchen that can accommodate more than one small being, and more surface area capable of holding at least one chopping board, would have helped in the huge effort of feeding ourselves. Better cooking equipment would also come under the category of cooking difficulties, as although we had not one, but two spatulas, the lack of a frying pan and baking tray until the middle of the week limited our cooking options severely, until Rodrigo came to the rescue at 12 o’clock at night. We also learnt the significance of peppers, onions, garlic and rice, which we have noticed can feature in pretty much most meals available in the worlds cooking book, and are capable of making any dish absolutely incredible, even when a complete novice and infamous idiot is at the helm. And lastly, I have to highlight quite how much time is taken up trying to survive, and I don’t just mean the actual cooking. The combination of washing up, cooking the food, cleaning and preparing the table, filling our plates, devouring the meal, and then washing up the aftermath, takes up a huge amount of time, ranging from a couple of hours if we were quick, and up to four hours if we were feeling lazy, which we usually were. Time really is a valuable thing.

Chapter Five – Working Men

I’m very aware that my story so far has included exhilarating fast-paced action, periods of emotional turmoil, and pure comedy gold, however I think I may have forgotten to insist that during all of our exploring, adventuring, and alarming stupidity, we were actually doing some work for our employers, especially in the sheep department. Our jobs spanned the entire ten days, however a few days in particular stood out as hosting the most interesting part of our job and being well worthy of being retold in chapter and verse.

As I have made it very clear throughout the story so far, Los Tres Amigos, known as the Puesteros, were tasked with guarding the sheep with our lives in order to fulfill our roles as the sole protectors of the herd. However, as the week progressed, this job got harder and harder, with more blood, sweat and tears shed each and every day. This was almost solely down to our infamous enemy, the fence, who came back to haunt us in two disastrous and horrifying ways that made our lives an utter misery! (I’m exaggerating for effect).

The first of the challenges we faced, and faced a terrifying amount of times, was the continuous process of rounding up the stray lambs that were cheeky and cocky enough to sneak through the fence, and herd them through the gate or force them to jump back through to the paddock. If they thought they were big enough or clever enough to outsmart Los Puesteros, they wouldn’t have seen our brilliance coming, and by the third day of hunting, chasing and shouting, we had operation lamb perfected. Once we had the naughty group all together, one amigo would push from the rear, another would act as the side barrier parallel to the fence, whilst the third (usually me) would peg it out in front over to the gate in order to open it with the usual struggle before the lambs got there. It was tiring work, but seeing as we didn’t have much else to do other than waltz along a beautiful lake and explore an amazing forest, we couldn’t complain about the daily struggle with escapees. However, on the fourth day, we were brought back to reality with a bang, as after Kevin had come over with his cousin to enjoy some mate and had been force fed an unexpected sopaipilla, he informed us that a large group of lambs had made their way beyond our caravan and deep into the next paddock along. There was little need to panic as they certainly weren’t going anywhere in a hurry, but we did just that, and got in the back of Kevin’s truck to go and retrieve the strays. This round of ‘find the sheep’ was a little harder than before, as the biggest group yet had stretched themselves as far away from each other and the paddock as humanly possible, but we still thought we knew what to do, and therefore organised ourselves into a formation as quickly as possible, and began pushing the lambs in the right direction. Unfortunately, our tactics had seemed to be worked out by the corderos, as they masterfully split into two groups and went in different directions. This wasn’t a problem for me and El, as we were together so we had our group quickly scampering back to the desired location, but this meant poor Benj was left to try and control a large group of little shits all on his own. As he ran down the hill like a sheepdog, changing direction and circurling the lambs in true herding fashion, he really reminded me of a sad supply teacher that just left university and trying to earn her way up the ranks, but in turn landed herself in a bottom set class of idiots that found it funny to be as hard work and uncontrollable as possible. Obviously I was too good for that when I was in school…

Nevertheless, we eventually had them back in the pen, but decided it would be best if we picked up our hammers and try and fix the fence in order to make our lives a bit easier to get on with and allow an easier siesta. Luckily, this fence wasn’t quite as long as the miles of wire at Baguales, which meant we could go back for a cooked lunch, meaning we were more than happy to fix the barrier, however this fence was a lot more difficult to fix, especially on the first day, as the terrain either side of it was often made up of huge logs that were blocking the gaps. This made for some ultimate and intrepid fencing, with dangers such as falling over and maybe even shedding some blood, ever present. Us men weren’t fazed though, and we had the fence fixed up and polished off in no time at all. Not that it made a great deal of difference though, as the not yet fat lambs could still climb straight through the gaps in the wire, and some were still managing to sneak past our wall of wood by the river. Trying to patch up the gaps, and fetching those that had escaped did at least pass the time though, and stop us sleeping all day long. It wasn’t a hard life.

When I put it like that, it makes our job sound as though it was absolutely piss easy, and in truth it kind of was. It’s only now that i realised quite how lucky we were when being housed in return for a little bit of sheep herding, some fencing, but mostly just exploring yet more of this beautiful area. I don’t think we realised how little people would get to do what we did, specially when we enjoyed a half an hour nap by the riverside, in almost complete silence, with the only sounds being nature, and the occasional whine from a lamb. However, there were some negatives to the job, the main one being when we had to drag back a dead lamb that seemed to be missing a vital part of his body, which appeared to be his head. Despite this, work was just brilliant.

Chapter Six – Living or surviving?

The last section of our epic story covers the difficult and very unusual tasks we were required to complete, and the time we took to do them, in order to just survive in the campervan environment. I’m honestly not trying to make it seem as though our lives were a struggle during our time at Cerro Negro, as I believe trying to avoid the difficulties of the consumeristic world of England, and the nagging environment of my house, is far more difficult than living in the peace of Patagonian estancias. However, I want to take the opportunity to express my views towards how alternative our lives were for the ten days, and just how surprisingly tedious living can be.
The hardest of all the missions of survival was the almost daily job of filling the supposedly huge water tank, and then retrieving yet more water from the river in huge containers for the next time we used up the supply. Originally, we had thought we might have to fill the 250 litre tank maybe two or three times, however, once we had used up the full tank we had filled on the second day of living in the caravan, without any showers and a limited amount of washing up, we knew deep down we were going to be in for a long week of rationing the sacred river water, even if it meant no showers for ten days, and extremely soapy and unrinsed dishes at dinner time. On the plus side, the whole process turned out to be a great work out for the three of us, which happened to fulfill all of my planned gym time over my whole life time, meaning I will never feel even the slightest bit of inclination to step foot in those hell holes until the day I die. The job involved taking down one big multiple litre barrels and two buckets down to the river which was approximately 50 metres, hundreds of huge log obstacles, and one horribly steep incline away, and filling them all up by the slippery, wet and muddy river bank and then making our way back. For the person carrying the buckets, they got it fairly easy as they just had to partake in a light workout of the biceps, however the other two were forced into a game of barrel rolling and football. You would have thought this would have suited me, but it really didn’t. Furthermore, it would have been nice if we were rewarded for our efforts by some clean and safe drinking water and a lovely hot shower, neither of which were allowed by the shitty river water that was apparently infected by cryptosporidium, which I have no knowledge of, but the name alone was enough to stop the three of us from drinking water from the tap or washing ourselves at all. The mission of actually putting the water in the tank was a whole other issue on its own, but I’m getting far too stressed out just thinking about what we had to do in order to sparingly sip on a small glass of death water which may or may not have the ability to make ‘stuff’ come out of both ends at rapid speed.

The lack of space in the small caravan again reared its ugly face, but this time in the toilet department. It already sounds horrible doesn’t it? What had appeared to have happened by the fourth day of living in the van, was that we had used the toilet one too many times, and of course I was that one time too much, meaning I spent a lovely afternoon decontaminating the whole caravan (it wasn’t that necessary) whilst Benj and El got a bit of much needed clean air. I felt my cleaning skills were incredible, however this still left us with the dilemma of how to empty the toilet container, and if we couldn’t where could do our business. Seeing as the release pipe didn’t quite stretch as far away from the caravan as we would have liked to be away from a mass of teenage waste, from that moment we had to do our stuff out in the wilderness in the accompaniment of nature, a toilet roll and some hand sanitiser. Our usual place was an area of woodland near the van that was big enough to accommodate lots of visits, however on the odd occasion, when we were feeling lucky, we hopped the double fence over to Argentina, and did the dirty all over their precious Argentinian grass and scarring all of their Argentinian birds for life. That ticked off the ‘illegally immigrate to do a number’ part of the bucket list, and also nicely concludes the last chapter of the book.

As a little outro to our latest adventure, I would like to pay tribute to Kevin, Ian and the rest of the family, seeing as we have finished our six week period as their little bitches. I can speak for all three of us when I say the whole experience has been absolutely incredible and has defied our expectations more than Leicester did when winning the Premier League last year, and even on par with my prediction of my English grade last summer! Make no mistake, it’s been fucking hard work and absolutely hell at times (I’m looking at you two, lamb and fence), but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything, and it’s all down to the Maclean family who have made our experience as amazing as it’s been. For me, the highlight was galloping back to La Peninsula along the waterfront and through the piercing rain, but I’m guessing Benj’s best moment could have been living with the idolised, true gaucho that is Lucho, and El probably most enjoyed the days off we had in Natales. Nevertheless, the last six weeks has been mind blowing, and I’ll never forget it for as long as I live. Shoutout to the Maclean family. Thank you.
The End

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