Our second WWOOF farm, in the beautiful Massif des Maures had great weather, first rate organic vegetables, a bumper crop of statuesque clouds, a couple of braying donkey families as neighbors and delightful walking trails . Despite all the positives about this farm, Chris and I were going to leave on the second day--the farmer had better horticultural skills than relational ones (more about that coming up soon).
But Caleb, another WWOOFer, returned to the farm on Tuesday morning after walking back about 15 miles overnight from the coastal resort town of St. Maxime (near St. Tropez). He had hitch-hiked down there on Monday morning (our first day on the farm) to see his girlfriend and to get a large tattoo of an angel's wing added to his shoulder blade (there's a wing of a demon on the other shoulder blade--both inspired by a verse from the Koran). HItching back hadn't panned out, so he hoofed it. And none too soon for us.
Here he is on the right with Chris and Maggie-the-farmers' two daughters as we eat our last lunch together on the farm.
This hard-working, fun-loving, traveller called Caleb (but actually spelled "Khalb") had left his tattoo parlor in Quebec in the hands of an ex-girlfriend and had been travelling in France-- a boyhood dream-- since January. He had travelled around Marseille helping a stranger repair his boat and riding a catamaran in the Mediterranean until his money ran out. Then he lived on a commune in western France, through the rest of winter, but when he could no longer stand the assorted ways to eat carrots and potatoes, he hitched a ride to the Massif and to Maggie's Farm, where he had been struggling under her thumb for two months when we met him.
Here are some of his tattoos.
And here is the new angel wing on the left and the demon's wing on the right.
We were surprised when Caleb told us he was Muslim, so then he told us that he wasn't a strict Muslim--he prayed in the morning and the evening and he didn't think Allah really cared whether people ate pork or not. In fact he knew exactly how long it had been since he'd last eaten bacon--4 weeks !
He speaks French, English and Arabic. His father is Muslim and from Algeria (I think--we were all 3 of us drinking hard in our trailer that night and I wasn't taking notes. Caleb's dad could be from Detroit for all I can remember). His mother is from Quebec and is a Wiccan. Go figure.
In his pocket digital camera he had pictures of his mom in Quebec (whom he calls every night almost from Maggie's land line which has unlimited calling) and pics of his long-haired, beautiful girlfriends (one each in St. Maxime, Marseille, Paris.....) as well as pics of his adventures in France and his pretty impressive paintings.
He says he's no longer a tattoo artist. He's tired of it--got his first tattoo at 13 and became a working artist at 14. When I explained about this blog, he was very interested in the idea as he had not messed around with the internet much (he's 40). I look forward to his acquiring his website so he can show off his striking and haunting paintings to a wider audience than his little camera allows.