We are Jo and Roger, and we live on the Greek island of Skopelos. It is the greenest island in Greece and largely covered in pine forest. The island is in the North-west Aegean and because of the geography, there is no opportunity to volunteer to help refugees, since none arrive on this island.
Our land is about 1700 sq. metres and is mostly garden. We live in the upstairs of our two storey house and downstairs is a self contained apartment with a double bedroom, kitchen, small bathroom and a paved, furnished terrace outside. We have a cat called Kirsty and there are many feral cats around. We feed some of them away from the house, but we try to discourage them from coming on our property. We do not accept dogs.
Since 2005 we have lived and worked in Glossa full time, renting out our few holiday houses and helping people to find and renovate houses. As we are both in our late sixties, we are cutting back and devoting more time to other interests. Jo is an established freelance writer and Roger is a painter again after a gap of 40 years. Members of our family have been involved with various volunteering projects over the years and we have had volunteers here informally. We have been hosts on Workaway for about 18 months.
Please be aware that you will need to entertain yourself outside of working hours. We are certainly not unfriendly, but we are busy with our own work so ask you to be respectful of our need for private time. If you engage with local people you will find them extremely friendly. Some people have quite good English and many have a smattering. A few words of Greek will go a long way to helping make friends.
The garden - apart from a tiny vineyard, some fruit trees and olives - is not used to grow food, but kept roughly in shape for walking around, sitting and reading and enjoying the wonderful view.
Pruning, burning and strimming are the primary garden tasks. There are routine maintenance tasks like painting and occasional carpentry or stone work to be done and carting, sawing and chopping firewood usually crops up at least once.
In the winter, the only way to get to the island is via the ferry from Volos, which costs less than €30, or twice weekly flight from Athens to Skiathos. During the tourist season (mid-May to mid-October) there are charter flights from various places in Europe to Skiathos Island which is only 15 minutes on the ferry from our nearest port of Glossa / Loutraki. However you travel, you will arrive at the port of Glossa / Loutraki, from where we will collect you or send a taxi to meet you.
The village of Glossa is an authentic Greek working village. Although it is quite small (population about 700) it has junior and high schools, several small supermarkets and a few places to eat - even in the winter. There is an ATM in the village. The nearest town is Skopelos (population about 5,000) which has more shops, banks etc and is an hour away on the bus (twice daily in the winter and more frequent in the summer).
The winter is very quiet and although there are places to eat and socialise, you will need to be quite self-sufficient and enjoy your own company a lot of the time.
We try to ensure that people learn new skills and have the chance to practice them and we prefer to show you what needs doing and once you are comfortable, leave you to accomplish it in your own way.
Please note that Roger will be here alone from October to April and visiting the UK in mid March. For this reason, we would prefer a couple who can support and entertain each other, but a self-sufficient individual would be considered too.
This year we would really like to find a couple who could come around the 6th of March, get to know the place and stay on while Roger goes to the UK for ten days. Then stay on until around 27th to hand over.
We would like you to look after Kirsty the cat and help with maintaining the garden and houses. There are routine maintenance tasks like painting and carting, sawing and chopping firewood usually crops up at least once.
There is no age limit, but volunteers should be physically fit and able to do manual work. The village is full of steep streets with often uneven steps and our land is also steep with rough steps, so not suitable for anyone with mobility difficulties.
We require that you have medical/accident insurance
We cannot help you to get a visa, you must arrange that yourself.
English and a little Greek.
You will be staying either in the Old Wine Store or Eleanora's.
The Old wine store is a single studio cottage with a kitchen area, separate bathroom and upstairs mezzanine sleeping platform with a double bed. There is also a pull-down single bed downstairs. It has good Wi-Fi.
There is a small wood burner which heats the place up really quickly. There is also an electric radiator for background heating. You will need to saw / chop firewood as you go. There is an electric chainsaw which you can use if you feel competent, as well as ordinary saws and axes. Cooking in the Old Wine store is limited to a two ring electric plate. If you find this a bit limiting, we are happy for you to make use of the cooker in our house or Eleanora's.
Eleanora's is our self-contained downstairs apartment with its own entrance. It has a generous double bedroom, small wc / shower and a good kitchen with a 4 ring ceramic hob and oven. There is an outside paved terrace with table and chairs and a good view.
There is strictly no smoking inside any of our houses - if you wish to smoke you must go out into the open air. Hanging out of a window or standing in the doorway is not acceptable.
We have no objection in principle to one child sharing your accommodation, but we will decide on a case by case basis.
We usually expect people to cater for themselves, although there will be the odd shared meal on offer. We provide 50 euro per person per week for food.
Skopelos offers all the usual pastimes of a Greek island. There are some lovely quiet beaches (and some lively ones in the high season), great place to eat and the famous Mama Mia Chapel on the rock to visit but in the low season it is a wonderful place to walk. In the spring - which starts in February with the almond blossom - the olive groves are covered in wild flowers of many kinds. For bird watchers, there are many passage migrants to look out for including hoopoes, bee-eaters and golden orioles.
In the winter and spring Glossa has a number of lightly organised events including a carnival day at the start of lent. There is still a strong sense of tradition here and people love to put on their traditional costume and dance their hearts out.
Greek Orthodox Easter is the high point and should be experienced at least once. Glossa people are friendly and hospitable and volunteers who are prepared to engage will find themselves invited for meals and other events. There is a small (perhaps six people) British ex-pat community in the area and this offers opportunities for further placements and socialising.
However, the winter and spring are quite quiet and a couple might have more fun than a lone volunteer.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week