For workawayers reading the feed-back, sadly Geoffrey died in November 2015. Peta is still hosting and looking for self-sufficient applicants who, nonetheless, are good company when we are together. I am currently looking for workawayers to help me tidy up the garden ready for the winter between now and the end of November.
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 quietly but I am a naturally cheerful person, intend to stay that way and will welcome like-minded people! I do need my own time, space and privacy though, and will certainly respect yours.
Help in the house
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. Carpentry and experience in laying/repairing external paving would also come in handy!
The chores are not 'routine' 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.
Good-sized guest bedroom on the ground floor 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!
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.
Both Tarbes and Pau have museums and historically interesting sites to visit. I am close to Spain, both the Spanish Pyrénées and the Atlantic coast. On the French side of the border, Biarritz and St Jean de Luz are easily accessible by train/bus.
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, although I can introduce them to neighbours etc., but very few of the villagers speak English. Maubourget, at 5kms away (downhill on the way there, uphill back if going by bike, but I am happy to play taxi especially if the weather is bad!) ), offers more scope for practising French.
Please be aware that the village is quiet and relatively remote so this is not a placement for people who want entertainment or a lot of company during their off-hours. It is more suited to a couple who enjoy country living or single people who enjoy the same and also their own company! Obviously we will have meals together but not breakfast, although it will of course be provided - as light or substantial as you wish! I enjoy lively company and conversation, but not all day long and nor into the wee hours!
I would normally agree to an initial stay of one or two weeks, with the possible 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.
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. I ask that ash-trays be regularly emptied and cleaned especially at night.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
For anyone wanting to experience "la France Profonde" with its sleepy villages, agricultural traditions and its emphasis on the importance of village communities, this area is perfect. I am also happy to help those who want to improve their English or French. My knowledge of both French and English cuisine is extensive and being a real "foodie" I am always happy to share it! I have also travelled extensively and can share whatever experiences I have had that may be useful to members of the workawayer community.
25 hours per week