House and garden maintenance in South west France

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  • Description


    Update: For workawayers reading the feed-back, sadly Geoffrey died in November 2015. Peta is still occasionally hosting but looking for self-sufficient applicants who, nonetheless, are good company when we are together, and not for longer than two weeks.

    I am 69, retired and live in a comfortable old house set in a hectare of garden with a swimming-pool in a small village in south-west France with spectacular views of the Pyrenees. I have a little family of two indoor cats and run a 'soup kitchen' for some more vagabonds on the kitchen window-sill!

    I read a lot, like to write, follow all current affairs and also many different sports. I also love to learn about other countries and cultures and have travelled to many different parts of the world. I love cooking and am interested in food and wine of all kinds. I enjoy gardening but my arthritic hands limit me so I do need help in the garden.

    I still miss Geoffrey a lot and live a quiet life but always try to stay cheerful and not to take life too seriously, so anyone with a gloomy disposition and/or no sense of humour need not apply! I need my own time, space and privacy and will certainly respect yours.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Help in the house

  • Help


    There is always general maintenance tasks to do for which most tools are available. If they aren't available and I can't borrow them I won't expect you to do the task!

    I have a cleaner who works a limited number of hours a week and do not expect our Workawayers to do everyday household chores or cooking which I prefer to do, though some help with specific tasks is always appreciated. The garden is large and needs constant attention all year round.

    If there is anyone out there who is a trained upholsterer/furniture restorer, please do apply! I have some nice, old furniture that needs a bit of TLC. There is a large garage/workshop where you can work in peace! Carpentry and experience in laying/repairing external paving would also come in handy!

    The chores are not 'routine' but more in the form of projects, so I am happy for workawayers to make their own hours up to 25 per week. For example, if you want to pack 25 hours into 3 days (if the task allows it) and have the rest of the week off to go exploring etc., that is fine with me.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, French

  • Accommodation


    Good-sized guest bedroom on the ground floor of the house with one standard double and one single bed. The shower-room is not en-suite but is on the same floor and is for your personal use. It has a walk-in shower, basin and WC. Cats on the bed are optional!

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    I cannot provide a car but do have two bicycles that workawayers are welcome to use and there is a lot of very pretty countryside around. I am happy to provide picnics for you on your days off!

    There is a regular bus service from the nearest town 5kms away (Maubourget) to Tarbes where there is an SNCF station and a bus terminal. While workawayers will obviously want to 'do their own thing' during their time off, i will also be happy, if time allows, to take them on the occasional excursion to places of interest. The Pyrénées are less than two hours away and good for hiking in summer and winter sports from mid-December to end of March. There is some public transport (bus) from Maubourget to the mountains.

    I am also close to Spain, both the Spanish Pyrénées and the Atlantic coast where there is good surfing. On the French side of the border, Biarritz and St Jean de Luz are easily accessible by train. I can help with advice about transport, where to stay/eat etc.

    In summer workawayers are free to use the pool as much as they like. There are some golf-courses nearby and there are clubs available which they are welcome to borrow.

    For workawayers wanting to improve their French please note that in the village itself there is little opportunity for visitors to speak French as there are no shops, cafés etc. so little social life. Maubourget, at 5kms away (downhill on the way there, uphill back if going by bike!!), offers more scope for practising French.

    Please be aware that the village is quiet and relatively remote. If I know of workawayers among my friends in the village I am happy to effect introductions. However, this is not a placement for people who want entertainment or a lot of company during their off-hours although there are good cinemas in nearby towns showing up-to-date films (in French!) and Opera direct. This placement is probably more suited to a couple who enjoy country living or single people who enjoy the country and also their own company! Obviously we will have meals together but preferably not brreakfast although it will of course be provided - &s light orsubstantial as you wish! I enjoy lively company and conversation, but not all day long and nor into the wee hours!

    Wifi is freely available in the house but I do ask that Workawayers bring their own lap-tops or Ipads.

    I would normally agree to an initial stay of two weeks (or less) with the option of a further week if the work is there and we are all happy in each other's company. This is not a suitable placement for people looking for long term stays of several months.

    Please note that I am a smoker and smoking is permitted indoors except in bedrooms and during meals. Both smokers and non-smokers are welcome. Ash-trays to be regularly emptied and cleaned especially at night.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Volunteering hours expected

    25 hours per week


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Host ref number: 599949833358