Hello, we are Carolyn and Simon and we moved to France in April 2016 after living and travelling in Harvey the RV for 3 years. We loved living in Harvey but found the land here at the Mill irresistible. The Dordogne is beautiful and we live in a peaceful area with close proximity to some interesting and historic places
We have an old Watermill with 20 acres of grounds, with rivers, ponds, woods, meadows and wetlands: so a varied environment full of wildlife. Although the workings of the Mill have long gone, the wheel still turns and we are hoping to utilise the power. The house is basic and we are currently renovating it and the adjoining barn, and adding an extension so lots of jobs, outside and inside depending on the weather conditions. For the future we are hoping to run music workshops and residential courses but would enjoy brainstorming about other possible uses that could be of benefit to the community. All ideas welcome!
I am a retired (ish!) costume/dress maker and an erstwhile exercise teacher: Simon is a musician, playing keyboards and guitar (he also sings). He plays mainly jazz, either solo or in a trio, but also fronts a blues band. He has several students learning either (or in one case both!) instruments. We are social people and look forward to spending some time getting to know you: we enjoy talking and listening about anything and everything.
If music interests you, then Simon is your man and he would be happy to help you or play with you, especially on the terrace in the evening with a glass of wine. Being a dab hand with a needle I would be happy to show you the basics of sewing, embroidery or knitting if that appeals to you. I am very keen on environmental issues and we try to live with minimum impact. We grow our own vegetables, or are learning to.
We are a non-smoking house, but we have 20 acres of land where you could lose yourself if you needed to smoke.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
We are both English but Simon is also fluent in French; I am trying to learn! You would have the benefit of being able to brush up or start to learn either languages. If you are new to France, then we will help you to experience as much as possible of the French way of life. If you know France, then come to discover the beautiful Dordogne: not only for the peace and tranquility of rural life, but also local towns - the historic Angouleme, with its vibrant cultural life; Brantome - the Venice of the Perigord; Perigeux with its old quarter; Riberac with its bustling Friday morning market and pretty Aubeterre with its monolithic church.
Although we need practical help to keep this project moving, we are keen to meet with people from different backgrounds and culture.
Could I please ask that you only contact us at the moment if you are seriously interested and available; it's very frustrating to be contacted only to never hear again or find you are already booked elsewhere.
Our next big job is clearing rubble and building walls ready before putting up the roof for the new kitchen. This is hard, dirty work so you need to be fit and strong. You would need to bring suitable footwear and work gloves. You will benefit hugely if you are adaptable, open-minded and willing to have a go at anything!
You will need to have a flexible attitude to sleeping arrangements. The bedrooms are in a state of flux at the moment. You could either be in an almost finished room (still with some scaffolding) and currently without a door!! Or in our current bedroom downstairs. There will be one single bed and one single mattress wherever you are, both very comfortable. If you are travelling with a tent and would like to camp in the gardens, that is fine. There is also space for a campervan.
Day to day living chores and meals will be shared. I am a longtime vegetarian, Simon is not, but all meals cooked at home are meat-free and we ask visitors to respect that.
We need to point out that we are rural, without a public transport system. You can get to us by high speed train to Angouleme and there is a train station in Perigueux. We would collect you from either of these and for your stay we are hoping to acquire some bicycles. You would of course be welcome to join us on any of our trips out, and we would try and help you to see as much as possible of local interests. We have some great walks around us, climbing and canoeing (seasonal only) nearby and a river beach not too far away.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week