We are a young, multilingual family with 2 children (7 & 4 yrs old), living in an old stone farmhouse in the haut-languedoc regional nature park. Our house is set into a hill in a wooded valley with a stream running through it and is secluded without being isolated, there are no visible/audible neighbours and the local village Lacaze is 5 mins drive / bike ride away.
My wife, who is French, and I speak in Italian together (we met in Italy), she talks to our children in French and I talk to them in English, so we are a trilingual household, Spanish is also spoken when needed. We are a musical family, I play the piano and guitar and my wife sings and writes lyrics and books.
My wife is passionate about Botany and the health benefits of plants and is in the process of setting up her own business making and selling all natural health and hygiene products - soaps, shampoos, balms, bath gels, creams, oils etc. I have my woodwork shop in the basement in which I make contemporary furniture. I teach Tai Chi and meditation and am currently working on an architectural project. We are also in the process of renovating our home using where possible the most ecological and sustainable building processes, such as lime-hemp insulation, colombage (timber post walls) filled in with lime-hemp mix, dry stone walling and various wooden frame constructions.
We have two cats, two dogs and are thinking about a chicken or two in the near future... We love travelling, meeting new people and experiencing different cultures and feel pretty excited about receiving people in our home who are on that journey themselves.
Babysitting / child care
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
We live in a very calm environment where the only sounds outside of the house are the birds, the stream at the bottom of the valley and the occasional car passing on the other side of the valley, so anyone looking for peace and quiet will find what they are looking for.
As mentioned 3 languages are spoken fluently, daily in our house so we can cater for anyone wanting to learn either French, English or Italian or all three! This should also alleviate concerns about communication with us for anyone from these countries (and more). My wife's presently learning Japanese and I'm learning Mandarin, not sure how capable we are at communicating yet, but it's a new challenge...
We have experience with; ecological building methods in construction, healthy lifestyle living, energy arts and music playing that we would be thrilled to share with anyone interested.
Our surroundings offer beautiful walks through the nature park, trout fishing in the various streams and rivers, horse riding, mountain biking, rock climbing, swimming, kayaking and during the winter cross country skiing in Lacaune (20mins). Castres (40mins) and Albi (50mins) are our two largest and closest big towns providing their services if and when needed - shops, cinemas, entertainment centres etc.
So this is our 2nd year with Workaway, last year was amazing! We had some really lovely people come and stay with us and we got a huge amount done and we're so grateful!! It was such a pleasure to get to know everyone and our kids cried every time everyone left. I did too on occasion, but we don’t talk about that! (You’re all welcome back anytime you want…) We’ve now got an unexpected bun in the oven who’s planning on making his debut entrance mid July, which means we need an extra bedroom and quite probably some extra help too – any young aupairs out there keen to learn another language and help us out from end of Aug onwards, we’d love to hear from you.
For the moment, there is much to do building work wise (and there will be for years to come…) However the aim for the next few months is to get a laboratory for my wife installed upstairs so that she can kick-start her cosmetic business, along with an extra bedroom and laundry room. There is some finishing work to do left over from last year like a lime finish render on the walls, some lime jointing on the solid stone walls and a bit of finishing work to the bathroom.
The main work will be taking out the floorboards and supporting beams for the upstairs (with the help of my 500kg pulley) and putting in new beams and floorboards, then putting in the wooden structure for the walls that will be infilled with lime-hemp and finally finished with a lime render. Getting the ceiling in – beams and boards, to be insulated between and above.
We are also keen to get a rocket mass heater built before next winter drops by along with an earthen floor in the kitchen. Would love to get a terrace in place outside the back door, get a bit of wood cut and chopped for the winter and my solar hot water system built and erected.
English French Italian Spanish
For accommodation, we've got a large bedroom upstairs, (see photos), two sofa beds in the sitting room, a caravan in the garden and a 6 man tent that can be erected in the garden if it took anyone's fancy!
Access to the family bathroom, compost toilet, kitchen and the rest of the house is of course open.
My wife and I spent many years living in Italy, France and England and cook accordingly! We take turns cooking for the family and cook pretty much everything, (the French are that way inclined haha) so for those with adventurous taste buds, you shall not be disappointed, for the veggies out there it always does us good to have a break from the routine and we enjoy eating meat free. Basically we're open to new recipes and varying ways of life however spicy (or not) they may be.
There is a bus service that operates through our village (5mins car/bike / 15min by foot) that goes to Lacaune and Castres. Having a car is suggested for anyone wishing to independently visit anywhere outside of the immediate vicinity. There are lakes to visit that provide swimming / pedal boating / sailing facilities within 30mins drive
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week