Hello! We are Richard and Elaine and we live in the countryside near the border between England and Wales, which is simply beautiful. Our house has quite a large garden and we also have an allotment (separate large vegetable growing area on a nearby farm). We are also decorating the house extensively.
Please check our calendar and our needs before contacting us - we hate to say no, but lots of people email without checking if they have the right skills! Thanks...
We are about 15 minutes walk across fields from the nearest village (where there are two pubs, a cafe and small shop, plus occasional buses to the local town). We have four grown up kids living nearby who you may meet while you're here (plus a friendly cat, who lives here all the time, and some chickens). We also keep bees and although they are generally well behaved and you don't have to go too near them, you should not come if you react badly to stings.
You can see us in the pics (plus two of our grandchildren!). Although we are both officially "retired", we keep rather busy. Elaine is in charge of the garden, bees and allotment and has a lot of other interests too. Richard has an interest in fairground, carnival and circus memorabilia, and also works as a volunteer at a local museum. We both love traditional and world music, travelling and spending time with friends and family. We also run the community movie nights in our village and the allotment association.
The chance for you to practise your English would be part of the deal. We can take you to local some interesting places including famous Hay on Wye (book and vintage town), ancient Ludlow with its castle and daily market, and Hereford with its historic cathedral.
We'll help with arranging visits further afield and there may be chances to go to theatre, music sessions or cinema while you're here, but please note that this is a very rural area, so you won't be surrounded by lots of people or culture events.
You're really welcome to be part of the family too, and find out about the way we live! We have a busy social life, and we hope you'll share it while you're here. We've travelled to New Zealand, India and various bits of Europe and Elaine has spent several short periods in Tanzania on a cultural work exchange project. We also lived in Assisi in Italy for a few months recently. We hope you'll find it useful (and fun) to visit us, as we did visiting and living abroad.
We are looking for couples or individuals to come for a week or so at a time - no longer than ten days, please. Non-smokers please, or at least no smoking in or around the house.
During spring and summer, we could use some help with mowing, clearing, digging and maintaining the allotment and garden, lots of weeding (we try to be organic, so no chemicals!) and creating new growing areas. In the autumn and winter we sometimes have indoor jobs like painting and decorating.
Most of the tasks are physical jobs around the place so you need to be reasonably fit, but we will make sure you have all the help, guidance and tools you need, usually working alongside you on projects.
You don't have to be an expert, but we can't accept people with no experience of the sort of tasks we need, and you must be genuinely willing to do some physical work as well as contributing your ideas.
DIY ("do it yourself") and real gardening experience are what we are looking for, so if you are still to young to have that experience we envy you your future, but you probably won't fit our needs!
English, some French, a bit of Italian (but we would love to learn more of both!)
We can offer a comfortable private double bedroom with your own shower and toilet. A second (single) bed may also be available sometimes. We'll provide bedding and towels.
Simple food is provided: Breakfast (help yourself - muesli, porridge, fruit, toast etc), plus light lunch and dinner - we love cooking and you can share some of the cooking from your part of the world too if you like doing that sort of thing. Food preferences: We are not vegetarian although we often eat veggie and we welcome veggie visitors.
As we said above, you're really welcome to be part of the family, but can have your own private space too. There's some wifi internet if you want it, but no T.V. (although we enjoy movies, and we have regular "big screen" movie nights with friends and in the village).
We'll be happy to take you to local towns, and you're not too far by train from Cardiff, the capital of Wales, Bristol - a vibrant city, and Birmingham.
Getting here: We are 15 minutes drive from the nearest rail station (Leominster) and 30 minutes from Hereford (from where there are direct trains and buses to and from London). We are happy to pick you up and drop you off at either.
We'll do our best to repay your work by taking a real interest in you and helping you enjoy your time with us. Check our feedback!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
About 4 hours a day, 5 days a week