We live in a sunny little village in the heart of nature, with around 200 inhabitants. Villages round here are sprinkled in the foothills of the dramatic mountains dividing France from Spain, each valley with its own micro-climate. The area has attracted newcomers from other parts of Europe, many with wonderful artisan and artistic talents.
Our priority project is help for Martin, who is working on the renovation of a house with garden and barn in our small French village. He needs manual labour for renovation tasks, and to tame the new garden area.
Maggie collects Japanese textiles and is preparing a book on kimono. Martin's leisure time is spent recreating the Great Northern railway around Seattle in the 1950s in minature N scale, hence we have a railway room. When Maggie is not messing around with kimono, she tries to keep fit by cycling and pilates lessons.
Our current home consists of an old village house, and its adjoining barn. We bought it in 2000, and have lived here permanently since 2006, now joined by our cool cat, Chiyo. Maggie's schoolgirl french has gradually improved to become more relevant to everyday living in France. As a former English tutor to private clients staying in her Sussex home, she would be pleased to help with your language skills. When Martin finished the barn conversion, our living/work space more than doubled. He is a master carpenter with designer/architect tendencies, and could also share his expertise with a workaway visitor. We have a pleasant garden, which Martin is gradually turning into a little corner of Japan in France. This leaves Maggie responsible for picking the hundreds of kiwis that our three vines produce, and turning any other fruit the garden bestows into jam.
Maggie is looking for a careful person to help handling and preparing textiles for photography, and ideas for creating a new website. Experience in graphic design and book publishing would be very helpful. She dresses herself and others in kimono, and makes Japan-related craft items, such as greetings cards, framed silk items and garments and scarves from kimono silk. As we travel in Japan, Maggie would also like to learn conversational Japanese.
We would also be happy to try different cuisines, if workawayers wish to do a little cooking from time to time.
DIY and building projects
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
French and English spoken.
Knowledge of Japanese culture.
Building and renovation skills from a master carpenter.
Traditional cuisine and locally grown produce. Please note, we are not big drinkers.
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
Our projects keep us very busy. Daily household tasks such as cleaning and cooking are shared, and helpers are expected to keep their quarters clean and tidy.
Our workaway visitor/s would have a double bedroom in the original house, which has its own bathroom. The bedroom opens on to a balcony where views of the village, hillside chapel and forest can be enjoyed. Downstairs in the old house is an open plan kitchen/eating area. We live barn-side, with a big lounge and dining area on the ground floor; our bedroom/ensuite bathroom, kimono studio and storage on the first floor, and Martin's railway room on an upper mezzanine.
Depending on the season, it is possible to enjoy walking, ski-ing (nearest ski station is 45 minutes away), snow-shoeing, horse riding, sailing and swimming - there are two nearby lakes with glorious mountain views. High-rise picnics are a real treat, and French bread, cheese and wine taste even better at 1,500 metres!
Our area has a network of dedicated cycle/walking paths, and are a safe way to discover the natural world. Despite being in the countryside, there are many opportunities to meet people: cultural activities and clubs, art exhibitions, musical groups, choir and country dancing. The area is full of history, being at the heart of Cathar country, and the Mediterranean often beckons, for some ozone and grilled fish. Public transport is limited, but a subsidised taxi service (a couple of euros) is available to local markets. These provide the amazingly varied and delicious basis for the cuisine of our area, said to be one of the healthiest in France. We both love to cook, always eat well, and often include some Japanese dishes, discovered on trips to visit friends there.
Life is relaxed and unstressed in our beautiful part of the Midi. We work hard, but recognise the need relax and enjoy some downtime, and understand that others need to do the same. At the weekend, we make an effort to discover a little more about our wonderful area of mountains, lakes and coast. Whilst your downtime is precious too, we would be happy to give you the option to share its discovery with us.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week