I am a retired university chemistry lecturer, my wife is a retired social work manager. Over the last 40 years or so I have developed a large garden and converted an industrial ruin to be my home. I have a potter's degree and make my own pots.
Beside us two busy people we have a long term female workawayer living with us. We eat and socialise together most evenings.
We like animated discussions about life, politics, art, sustainability, crafts, lifestyles, walking, history, poetry and those things of interest I do not know about yet.
We are happy and more than capable to improve the English skills of guests.
We have loads of books and material available and are said to be 'cruel' but good teachers!
People we like
We always look forward to enjoying the company of crafts -people and artists and those who are happy to share some of their stories and passions. We have hosted nature-lovers, circus-skills-performers, musicians, dancers, wood workers, arts therapists and life lovers. We love having multi generational exchanges over good food and sometimes a little too much wine.
We eat together in the evenings in our large kitchen. We would like you to take responsibility for cooking the evening meals and take part in some day to day jobs around the house; we have a cleaner for the general maintenance.
Transport and location
We live rural, around 20 minutes car drive or 45 minutes bicycle hike (we have a bicycle you can use) away from the centre with limited buses. If you like to have access to the centre or see other tourist places, you need to be independent and/or organised. We have busy lives and will not always be able to give you lifts, but we try.
Garden and horticulture
The River Darwen flows alongside the length of my garden, woodland with poly-tunnel , wildlife pond, out-houses/follies and garden structures. I have designed and built all of them myself. See millbarn.net for more information. We open the garden two week ends a year for the public in the National garden scheme;
My observation is, that the countryside is now an ecological desert with mono-cultures. Only a fraction of life that was here is now present: my garden should present as much biological diversity as possible. I am always keen on increasing the count of species in the garden. I am looking at new nesting boxes for owls, swifts (birds) and hedgehogs to add to the bats (we have the biggest population of pipistrel in Lancashire, around 300) and rooks that we have already got. There are otters not so far up the river and perhaps we can encourage them to come down to us. The pond already supports a large range of insects and amphibian life. I have a number of beehives.
Crafts and art workshops
I have many skills having a well equipped wood workshop and a ceramics/ pottery studio with kiln. . I host art and craft groups in a large studio which also lends itself for dance and movement exercises due to its wooden floor. In both my house and garden I collect artworks and pieces of sculpture.
In my spare time I enjoy hill walking and visiting art exhibitions.
Facilities, accommodation and leisure
You can sleep in one of our guest rooms in the house, or have your own hut; the work awayers share a bathroom. We provide all your bedding and towels. The fully equipped kitchen in the house we share. There is a washing machine and a dryer. Fast internet is available.
You can use the studio for dance, work out, gym or Yoga, there is a summerhouse for meditation or other. There is a decking directly over the river, lots of garden space and a conservatory for additional space. We have a Finish sauna and a Jacuzzi which we are lighting several times a week for guests and ourselves.
I am currently developing a Sauna/ Jacuzzi/Haman project in the garden. This needs to be substantially finished before I open the garden in June.The project has left parts of the garden needing substantial restoration. Over the next six months I am planning to build access to a high view point overlooking the garden, complete an infinity pond, and further develop my newest folly, provisionally called a Tea house to make that into a livable and semi independent space for work awayers.
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
We can provide high quality English conversation, basic carpentry skills, gardening skills, intermediate pottery skills, basic bee keeping. English history , custom and culture.
Large interesting garden which opens for the national Garden Scheme. On going projects. Allotment area, All good for bees! Help with general garden tasks.
Spanish, French, some Italian, some German.
A twin or a double room in my house. Live in vehicles or tents also welcome. We have two other independent, isolated rooms suitable for 1-2 people each if you would like to be more away from the house.
Within reach of Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool and the Lake District. I am interest in walking myself. Train station Preston, Lancashire.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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