Friday, 16 March 2012

Scrub, Scrub, Scrub. Call me Scruffy

Another week has gone by and the winery looks much cleaner than a few days ago. We've scrubbed literally from the roof, thousands of litres of water have been sprayed and blasted at dirty surfaces, kilograms of detergents and other chemicals have purged dust, rust, tartrates and germs from the place. Many more are yet to be used and sprayed.

Everybody worked hard, but something tells me that the job that kept me and Emily, my French colleague, busy for the last two days, was by far the most challenging. We cleaned the destemmer. The destemmer is a machine designed to separate grapes from leaves, stems and all other crap that gets collected during harvest. It's very difficult to clean under normal circumstances, everything needs to be scrubbed and made as shiny as a mighty knight's armour. We didn't work under normal circumstances, though. Our destemmer hadn't been cleaned last year...

Can you imagine a thing made completely of stainless steel, two metres high and long, basically a big bunch of surfaces and heaps of hidden, nearly unreachable corners, completely covered by last year's rotting grape skins and encrusted tartaric acid that doesn't go away even after several passes with the water blaster? It's madness, simple and pure.

Diemme Kappa 90 - The Italian Job
Both Emily and I spent the whole day scrubbing every bit of the destemmer with a sponge and strong detergent, until we finally got a hold of the water blaster (well, I basically stole it from whoever was going to use it), which made things a lot easier, but far from easy. Today I started cleaning the bottom part of the device, and I swear that if I get my hands onto whoever was supposed to clean it last year, I'll do something very, very nasty to them. Also, I wish the machine's designer something very unpleasant. Why the hell did they have to make it so inaccessible, when it would have been so simple to welt a bit flat piece of metal to cover all the holes and corners and make one, easily accessible surface? So much for Italian design...

Anyway, after six hours of crawling under the destmmer, hanging on it like a monkey and water blasting right above my face, the job was done. A knackered and wet to the bone Jiri (so much for waterproof suits... I had water even in my ass) crawled out from under the devil machine, with satisfaction on his face (and a lot of grape skins). Hopefully we'll be able to finish the job on Monday (you thought it was done, eh?), and then it'll stay clean until harvest...

To sum it up, we work hard and we work well. The team is getting to know each other better and so far I'm enjoying being part of it. The situation with my accommodation hasn't changed. I complained to the managers, they took my concerns on board, apologised for the situation, which arose due to several unexpected problems, and suggested that I speak with my colleagues and see if anybody wants to move or swap. In the meantime, I'm taking advantage of having a whole house for myself.

It's surprising that after this scrubbing hell I still had the energy to come home, clean the kitchen and scrub the barbecue. But it had to be done and... yes, I can hear my mates' car pulling in the driveway. Bottles out, have a good weekend!

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