Help us with gardening and maintenance in Poitou Charentes, France



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  • Description


    We are retired, english speakers, Rhiannon was a secondary school teacher, Richard was a school bursar. We worked in Kenya, teaching and running a school farm for 13 years and had VSO's and NGO volunteers living with us during that time. We came to live in France 24 years ago for the space and the peace and to be able to offer hospitality to friends and family in the Kenyan manner, ie open door. We have 3 grown up children.. The eldest lives in UK, with 3 sons. The second lives in S France, with a Danish wife and 1 daughter.The third lives in Austria, with 2 sons, so we are European in outlook. We would welcome non native english speakers who want to improve their english language skills,but are not professional english teachers
    We are practicing Christians and worship on Sundays with the Anglican chaplaincy of Poitou Charentes

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    General Maintenance
    Language practice

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    British nationals would find us open to discussion, we are both well educated and have lively interests. We are too old for sporting activities but enjoy watching matches. Non British would expect all the above and a real interest in our different cultures.

  • Help


    The prime help required is cutting and tidying the boundary hedges, which is hard manual labour, includes digging out roots. Then we also need assistance in the general maintenance category both inside and outside eg painting of walls, particularly this year the rebuilding of dry stone walls in the garden, exterior protection treatment of woodwork (lasure). The garden is open to the public in June each year, so there are always garden chores to be done, grass cutting on a ride on mower(!), tidying all our boundary hedging, there is a vegetable garden under construction, and plenty of half completed works to finish! We employ a trained gardener for a few hours weekly and a house cleaner once a week. The garden work is quite heavy duty and a strong healthy person is needed.The work would be easier with a group of people, and we have enough accommodation to sleep up to 6 extra helpers, if a group would like to come. It would help with evening entertainment as we are nowhere near night clubs and other attractions.It helps if the volunteer has his/her/their own transport, so they can benefit from week end tourism.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    French: Fluent
    Swahili (Kiswahili): Intermediate

  • Accommodation


    A self contained guest house , 2 double bedrooms and one "dormitory" with 4 beds! WC and Shower, large living room, equipped kitchen. A second shower room and separate WC attached to a barn opposite the gite. A wood heater in the living room, but no central heating. There is an english TV for playing videos, a large collection. No smoking please. Although we expect to feed our helpers, if they would prefer to be self catering we would provide the food for them and encourage them to cook in the gite.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    This is a rural area, there are no shops nor night life locally, but there is entertainment within 10kms if a car is used.
    There are 2 old bicycles. The area is gentle and very warm in summer. Angouleme, half an hour away, is the centre of the Comic strip industry. Rhiannon likes cooking, makes own bread, and is willing to share that interest., but she does enjoy the challenge of providing a different meal every day.
    We have an extensive library of reading matter, mostly english, some french. We have French TV and a collection of DVDs and classical music CDs.
    We welcome older people as well as the gap year-ists
    Months available would be March through to October
    We have had volunteers now for four years and have thoroughly enjoyed their company and we hope they have enjoyed ours. We have had good feed back from them to us and are still in touch with all of them. We did not accept volunteers last year (2017) as Richard was recovering from an illness, but welcome some this year.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    25 max per week

wall building in progress
guest house

Host ref number: 338779151584