A bit of everything including renovation, no dig gardening, DIY, painting and animals in rural Charente Maritime, France

  • Favourited 86 times
  • Last activity: 20 Apr 2024



 Min stay requested: at least a week



  • Description


    2024 - Gardening, plasterboarding and insulating, roofing, (not necessarily working at height) animal care, painting, cleaning etc...
    The list goes on...

    We are a (young) couple in our 40's with two children (9 & 11 who we don't need any real help with) an exceedingly clever collie dog, chickens, ducks and sheep. We moved here from the UK six years ago for a different kind of life; more outside space, more focus on quality of life than the number of electronic devices we own. For our kids to stay kids for longer and get a real childhood and also learn a second language and experience a different culture. It was the best thing we ever did for sure! We love cooking, gardening and especially growing our own veg and having free range animals living good lives for our food, bike riding, enjoying the amazing French countryside where we live. We buy our fresh raw milk from the local dairy farm, as well as butter and yoghurts. We have a house that we are renovating, there always seem to be a roof that needs repairing...c'est normal!
    We have an amazing quality of life, less money and we do all the work here ourselves so it takes forever...we're hoping some company and some extra pairs of hands will help things along and also bring some new experiences for us and our workawayers. We love to randomly cook outside and live life to the fullest that we can.
    We like a glass of wine but don't drink to excess.

    We've met some fantastic people through workaway and are looking forward to meeting some more lovely people, to share a little bit of our life with them and get some stuff done a long the way.

    Our kids are genuinely very well behaved and we don't need any help with them. They're nice to be around and a lot of fun, they can hold a sensible conversation; they are not like other kids...😉

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Language practice
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
    Help with Computers/ Internet
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    We have lived here for six years now so know the area very well, know lots of cool stuff to do and lots of lovely places to visit. Our children speak very good French, we speak average French. We have a large no dig vegetable garden and grow lots of our own food. We keep chickens, ducks and sheep for meat and for eggs; not the sheep though, they don't lay many ;-)
    I preserve food and cook most thing from scratch including our bread that is sourdough so you can definitely learn that skill. We cook and eat and wide variety of culinary styles from all over the world and food and family meals around the table are an important part of everyday life. Where we live is very rural but has a great ambiance and everyone who stays here loves it!
    If you have some woodworking skills you can definitely learn some more from my husband who is a joiner and if you need help with English language I'm TEFL trained so can give you some lessons.
    We have a games barn with ping-pong and other games, a pool when the weather is good, a lake 10 minutes away with swimming and fishing.
    Gary plays guitar and Jessica is learning too. We all love to swim, play tennis, go kayaking and for bike rides amongst other things. Thomas loves football and is a huge fan of chess and we all love playing cards and board games too.

    We've had a few work-awayers stay here with us over the last few years and they have all been so interesting and we've had a great time working alongside them and spending time with them, getting to know them and sharing experiences. Sometimes it's so sad when they leave but we've made great memories with them that we'll certainly never forget!
    We look forward to meeting more awesome people and making more memories...

  • Help


    We have a large garden including a large no dig vegetable patch, a field, barns and a house that we are renovating. We have ducks, chickens and sheep and we need help with gardening and garden maintenance, looking after the animals, some of the renovations etc if you have the skills. So you can join in with our life doing any or all of these activities depending on your interests and skills.
    **We have various little projects going on and larger ones too.
    * Kitchen ceiling has been replaced and it now needs plasterboarding and then painting.
    * Old fireplace to remove from the kitchen.
    * Internal walls to be re finished. Probably plasterboard.
    *A wall to knock down and clear away and then make good the area...Still a work in progress!!!
    *Posts to bash in for a new stretch of fence to let a piece of our field re-wild without animals.
    *The front of the house needs re-pointing as I've now removed the render. The windows need sanding and re-finishing, this is partially completed.
    *Tree surgery skills would be super handy for a specific task that we need to do.
    *There's other sheep fencing to do.
    *A well to build from old stones over the existing well opening.
    *A field shelter needs some attention and an extension adding to one side.

    Basically we have a long list of stuff that gets shuffled around depending on the time or year or what demands it is done first!

    We have to work as well so sometimes it will be a case of helping with smaller projects and keeping on top of general garden/animal and other chores or you might be here while we're doing one of the bigger projects.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    French: Intermediate

    This host offers a language exchange
    I am TEFL qualified to teach English as a second language. I would also very much love to improve my French!

  • Accommodation


    There are two options depending on the time of year, the level of help you can provide/skills etc.
    One is a large double bedroom with king-size bed in our home and second is our small gite that has it's own kitchenette and bathroom with large walk in shower, with the double bed on the mezzanine level. It also has it's own garden area and separate entrance as well as a door into the main house that can be closed off.
    Every stay, like every person is unique so we are happy to discuss food and meals with you on an individual basis and can agree something that works. Meals together are lovely and I'm cooking for a family anyway. But if you are looking for a bit more independence then we have that option or a combination.
    Due to our facilities and the option of staying in our gite there is the option for someone more skilled to agree a combination of a working/holiday type situation too.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    There is no public transport here so a vehicle is necessary if you want to travel and see the area independently. We have had lots of work-awayers stay without transport and have dropped them into the local towns as and when we go there so that they can explore; but we can only do this if we're going somewhere.
    There's so much to do around here if you like the outdoors and the French countryside.
    We have a spare bike that you can borrow.

    We ask all our workawayers to get a copy of their French criminal record: "Extrait de casier judiciaire". Its really easy to do, it's completely free and you just need a piece of identification. I can send you a link to the website.
    You complete your personal info, upload a photo of your ID and they email it to you within a few days maximum.
    I have to do a new one for us every year as we host French students for English language immersion and it's a legal requirement for all adults in our house for child safety. We've had lots of workawayers do it with no problem at all.

  • 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

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    Yes we have fibre now and generally a good signal. There are various options for a space to work if necessary.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    We have plenty of space for a camper or motorhome and a long extension for electric. Hose easily accessible for water or you can shower in the house as we have a downstairs bathroom. You can empty your loo into the fosse as long as you use green chemical in your toilet.

  • Can possibly accept pets

    Can possibly accept pets

    We have a collie who is exceptionally well behaved but this is his home and he is free to roam pretty much everywhere outside. Friendly and well behaved dogs are very welcome. They are not however allowed into bedrooms or upstairs. **After a bad experience; dogs MUST be under control, used to animals and not chase them or try to dig under their fences to get to them.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

Host ref number: 359345727269

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