Hi, I'm Steve and I'm a retired ex social worker/manager. I'm easy going, friendly and very sociable. I love France and bought a farmhouse there a few years ago to work on and maybe run a B&B at some point in the future. I enjoy an outdoor life style and keeping active playing tennis and cycling.
The house is actually finished but can still be tweaked especially the large attic space. I've tried to be creative with the garden area behind the house but I need help with ideas and also with a small field which slopes down towards farm land. This area needs sorting out. It would be a fabulous space for a pool, or even a natural pond?
The house is situated in lovely countryside and is rural. The local crops are sunflowers and corn. It's situated about 35 miles SW of Angouleme and 45 miles NE of Bergerac which is the local airport.
There are a couple of villages nearby with bars and bakers etc, and local market towns of Chalais and Riberac with 10 miles. Aubeterre sur Dronne is a stunning little town 5 miles away set on a hillside above the river with numerous restaurants and shops and a river beach, campsite and bar. Canoeing is available in the summer.
Further afield but within 50 miles are the beautiful towns of Cognac and St. Emilion. The local countryside is very beautiful and great for cycling or walking.
DIY and building projects
The house is in rural France so there's plenty of scope to practice French. There are a number of historical sites, beautiful towns and villages, and lovely countryside to enjoy. It would be very much a working holiday with me as the host.
To be clear this isn't your full on project, up and running that you can slip into, it's much more easy going and very much a holiday with some work. It's not my main home so you would be coming to a home where English is the main language, not French, but with lots of opportunities locally to speak French! If you're looking for a short break, or simply just passing through Europe this could be great for you. I really want the house and garden to be used more and for guests to enjoy this lovely part of rural France.
To be honest I can become very lazy when I arrive at the house and once I've cleared the garden, mowed the lawn and got the house straight for the summer I can just let the world drift by BUT this year I'd like to make a big effort in the garden to finish off the immediate area by the house and to work on the small field. I'm open to ideas and support. It could be landscaped and I have local contacts with large machines, so I'm not asking anyone to do really heavy work. It could be cleared and laid to grass with fruit trees and a flower meadow. As I mentioned earlier there could be a pool. Or may be a wooden hot tub?
There are a couple of small buildings, one used to be a hen house, the other a very small open barn, here the roof is falling down and the party wall to my French neighbours has large holes in it. The whole thing needs rebuilding, or something else put in it's place. Again I'm open to ideas. I don't have the skills to do this but can help of course.
I'd like to repainted parts of the outside of the house, the woodwork in particular, maybe including the shutters, window frames etc..
I have got bits of gym equipment as I planned a mini gym in the open barn but haven't got around to it yet.... again this could be set up with help after the roof and wall is sorted out.
It's basically a 3 bedroomed house with a large attic that I've opened up with velox windows and large floor to ceiling opening window with a Juliet balcony at one end. I have a sofa bed up here, another double bed as well as 6 single beds if required. There are 2 large beams across the ceiling which restricts the height so it's essential sleeping space rather than living space.
It has a toilet and sink on the 1st floor along with 2 double bedrooms and the 3rd bedroom ( which I normally occupy) and bathroom is on the ground floor. Also on the ground floor is a large kitchen/dinning room and a very large lounge with 2 French windows leading onto the garden, there is a large fireplace where I've installed a log burner. I have "English" TV via a satellite dish, a DVD/CD player.
I've also installed electric central heating. Cooking is by bottled gas. Also have a micro wave, toaster, coffee machine etc etc
I've also got a bike/garden tools room. There are 3 bikes available for use, a tandem, a mountain (a proper one) and a road bike with straight bars. I bring a road bike down with me.
I also have a couple of tents if required.
The two main bedrooms have double beds so the accommodation could suit couples or we could mix and match with the single beds. The attic is pretty flexible and could suit friends or easy going singles.
As far as meals go I am happy to cook as and when required and can get food to suit my "guests", or if guests want to cook that's ok too. I have 2 large fridges and a drinks fridge and a larder to store food.
I'm used to having family and friends down, and also a large group of young cyclists so it's all pretty laid back. There's a large dinning table in the lounge where's there's room for 6-8 and of course eating outside is very possible!
It's SW France so it can get warm in the summer but the house does stay cool. I have bought over the years various plastic swimming pool which are more like paddling pools but they are available to be used.
I've never done this before so I'll need help to sort out the "working bit", I'd welcome guidance from Workaway. I would expect helpers to have plenty of time for themselves and it really depends on what projects we plan and start. I'm providing food and accommodation not wages so I don't know what the expectations are in terms of how long helpers might "work"
There is very limited public transport. Local villages of St Severin and Petit Bersac (river swimming)are walkable as is the golf club/bar/tennis courts at Longeveau. Aubeterre is too far to walk but my bikes are available and I will have my car to collect people from the airport or train station.
Car hire might be a possibility from the local Super U store.
One thing I forgot to mention is that I may have my dog with me. A super, laid back rescue grey hound called Yumi who loves attention but is timid at first and spend most of her time asleep on the nearest chair or sofa. She is friendly and not the slightest bit aggressive!!
It's a great area for cycling or running or just walking around. So many local villages and markets to explore.
It is quiet though. No traffic noise. Millions of stars at night. No night life as such but bars nearby. Apart from river swimming near Petit Bersac about 2 miles away, there's river swimming at Aubeterre (5 miles) which is very lively in the summer with a strong beach culture by the river and the village itself is buzzing!. There are lakes about 12 miles away by car, or a longer bike ride. Local markets on Friday. Sunday and Monday.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week