We are currently video interviewing for permanent positions of at least a month, although if we get on, longer stays are preferable. We have resources to provide for all the needs and some basic desires for two people on a permanent basis. We can unfortunately no longer allow these very valuable places to be occupied by people, albeit very well meaning, who are just travelling through. Whilst all of our experiences with our workawayers have been more than memorable, we are now at a stage where our plans are sound and we must make some progress, for which we need volunteers prepared to see a project through to the next stage at least.
Ideally we are looking for us only a bit younger and subtly different enough for our meeting to be interesting; ie a young man, a young woman, or a young couple, who have more than a passing interest in raising children in the future; a total disgust of what is being done in our name to the planet and it's people whatever class creed or colour, a strong desire to do something about it, and more than one of the skills that you will see we need if you read on.
If you take a minute or two to read thoroughly our profile (and reviews), you will find answers to most of your questions. Further questions, ask away, we'll answer all serious enquiries.
Over to the intro:
We are Lucy and Jeff, adventurous parents of Félix (12), Xavier (10), Lolita (7) and Victor (3). We moved here to the Gascon countryside from the South of England a little over eleven years ago to start building our dream autonomous, self sustaining family life. After ten years of trying to figure out how whilst growing our family, we are now ready to begin....
....The reason for the vast majority of our difficulties lies in the fact that we have very little control of our means of exchange (that's money to most of us), leaving some with far more means of exchange than they deserve and most with almost none. If you are the type of person who can enjoy life with enough...read on.
We are setting up an association whose aim will be to ensure a thriving, productive and serene community in our village into the next century. It is our intention to give everything we own - including our house and everything in it, and all of our productive time to this association, in the hope that it will provide in return: a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs and food in our bellies; or in other words...enough!
For our cunning plan to work, there will need to be an association to look after all of our family's - and by extension, all of the village's family's - needs. Wants will have to come later, but everything is possible.
You will find us in our little corner of paradise in the old region of Gascony in South West France, where we enjoy longish reasonably warm, sometimes hot summers and mostly mild winters which have been getting longer and colder recently. An hour from the foot of the Pyrenees, equidistant from the Mediterranean and Atlantic beaches and an hour from the bustling and vibrant city of Toulouse, there is a pace of life to suit most.
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Help with Computers / internet
Aside from the learning projects above, visitors will discover a way of life here that in essence has changed little since the fifties. We have a faming based local economy which still counts many small independant farms, ensuring our village has a thriving economy with many small shops and businesses, a weekly organic market and a lively bar with music every weekend. The village is also very cosmopolitan, with many french people who haved moved here from bigger cities in the north, and many europeans searching for the same thing we are, sharing their new lives with generations of Gascons.
We are obviously English speakers with fluent (although perhaps not grammatically correct) French and all the kids are bilingual. speaking of the kids, they're a pretty cool bunch (we must be getting some things right), it's not like we need super nanny or anything and they would all help anyone improve their French.
I have a joiners workshop, so there are plenty of skills to learn there, and i'm reasonably handy behind the decks. Lucy is a great cook, organiser and motivator, generous to a fault you will not regret meeting her. and and I make an almost healthy twix alternative (it can be improved if i can make my own condensed milk).
For anyone planning to bring children into this crazy world, we have discovered most of the pitfalls of trying to raise free range children, and will happily offer advice. Likewise the pitfalls to avoid emigrating to France.
Philosophical debates around the fire after dinner are not uncommon.
In effect, we are actually trying to offer an alternative economic model in which there is no profit and the minimum involuntary tax (all proceeds going towards the goal of the association); so any help from those out there who can advise on contract, associative and tax law would be most welcome to make sure I make no hideous mistakes writing the statutes.
Our first and most pressing project, to make comfortably habitable our workaway guest accommodation, is almost complete. There is still a lot to do before it can comfortably accept more than two workawayers at a time: a staircase, glass folding doors, joinery, plaster-boarding, insulating, plastering and painting etc.; but when finished we hope to home between four and six workawayers depending on where we are with each of the projects. The ground floor of the workaway house will be home to the part of the association that ensures everyone in the village has access to the best quality food (especially those who can't afford it); sourced directly from the grower, as organic as possible and preserved with love in the - yet to be installed to regulation - kitchen.
Along with the ongoing renovation of the workaway house (and the family house which has taken a long pause) We are looking for someone to help Lucy. Lucy is a mum of four, so there is always plenty to do, but an ability to drive a manual gearbox car is essential for occasional shopping, and a love of dogs makes the dog walking a pleasure not a chore.
I currently have a reasonably well kitted out joiners workshop which is barely turning, and a large stock of wood that someone skilled could turn into something nice. Help me turn it into a thriving, collaborative, teaching by learning, social enterprise and it can help fund the other projects.
We are now nearly ready to launch the main website, so would make most welcome anyone with some skills in web-design and internet marketing; IT skills would be useful too as we are hoping to host our websites on our own server. We now have our main work computer wearing a nice lightweight Linux OS, so Linux literacy is essential and I could use a hand learning to read it myself. The three websites ready to be launched - one - which will be doing everything it can to ensure there will be a thriving, productive and serene community here, well into the next century; another - which will be ensuring everyone has access to the best quality food; and a third (which has just received an order for some doors) will be ensuring that everyone can live in a functioning healthy home. All of them, as non profits, would benefit from crowd-funding projects.
After the problems we faced (and eventually overcame, and are now facing again) getting our car back on the road, we are determined to add an associative mechanic's garage to the to do list; there is one for sale in the village too.
Anyone interested in fashion and textiles with a sustainable twist, may want to help us research and design our plans for hemp to put the clothes on our back.
Anyone interested in doing something about the scourge of petrol based plastics, may want to help us research hemp as a truly viable alternative, alongside our plans for village scale plastic recycling plant to obtain 3D printer raw materials.
Anyone who loves reading books or writing them, may want to help us research our associative publishing ideas using the same miracle plant to make paper. I have some ideas for the first few books too, and a newspaper, which I'm hoping will spring from the websites, which would also benefit greatly from an aspiring writer or two.
Anyone interested in learning more about, or sharing their knowledge on any of the above, who would also be comfortable temporarily joining our family, let us know. Ideally you would also want to enjoy spending some time with our children as we also want to broaden their horizons with perspectives we may not have seen. Music, dance and meditation are activities we'd like them to experience more of, I'm sure they could play more sport and certainly they need to explore the beautiful countryside around the village more and spend less time in front of a screen. They have greatly benefited from the diversity of their new friends, so we're keen to continue inviting the world here.
English and French
A pretty, three story town house facing the entrance to our village church. At present there is one bedroom which could use a lick of paint, an upstairs open space yet to be devided and fully closed from the elements but which could function as an indoor camping space, a functioning kitchen diner (please bear in mind it is still a work in progress) , a functioning bathroom and a working toilet. there is still a lot to do accross all trades, but the little house is now fully autonomous. For times when more space is needed, we have a small office/emergency bedroom in our house and a couple of campbeds.
Regarding sustenance, we are not too big on rules, but to give you an idea: If you're staying in our house all your meals will be with us unless you don't want to; if you're in the workaway house we'll stock the fridge and larder with whatever you need. Breakfast is a casual, when you're up and ready affair, lunch sometimes also as the kids eat at school, but we always sit down for a family dinner to which you will be invited. We are meaties though, and are not ashamed of it. Food is obviously something we care about a great deal and are not averse to trying new recipes and listening to advice.
For longer stays of a month or more We will happily collect from and return to Tououse airport or train station, shorter stays will need the diesel fuel paying for (currently €13 per pick up/drop off). if you can make it to our local bus stop, which is only 12KM away we'll come freely and graciously to get you for the love of your extra effort :-)
There is a lively bar in the village with regular concerts and film nights. Deep in D'Artagnen country, there is plenty to learn from the region's history, from it's Basque origins to the Maquisards of La Résistance. World renowned for Fois Gras and Armangac, Nationally known for great food and quiet life, opportunities abound for exploring this very beautiful rural setting by foot or mountain bike, with trails for all levels.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
25 hours a week as needed, two days off as you want.