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I’m Eleanor, British, and I’ve lived in Italy (with my Italian husband) for over 30 years. I now live deep in the countryside in Piedmont in a tiny, tiny village, surrounded by woods, that offers very little apart from peace and quiet. No night life at all. Sunshine in the summer, cold and some snow in the winter. My house is actually 3 flats, one on top of the other, with a large basement recreation room. There’s a beautiful veranda and a large garden (and vegetable garden) with a small pool (which we open more or less June to September, depending on the weather) and hills and woods all around. I live here with my mother-in-law, who is 90, and my husband (at weekends, as he works in Milan Monday to Friday), along with a large (but very friendly) dog and a cat.
By car, we are an hour from Genoa, an hour and a half from Milan, 30 minutes from Acqui Terme and Ovada.
I’ve taught English as a foreign language most of my adult life; my Italian is excellent and I also speak French well enough to have a proper conversation. I’m learning Spanish now, too, but I’m still at a pretty basic level.
I do volunteer work on an ambulance once a week.
So, what is there to do here in your free time? Sunbathing and a dip in the pool in summer, walking/trekking, mushroom hunting when they’re in season, mountain biking, stargazing and moonlit walks at night. We have a piano for anyone who wants to play it. I’d be happy, too, to take you to visit Acqui Terme, Ovada and Sassello, all three about a 30 minute drive away.
Types of help and learning opportunitiesElderly CompanionshipGardeningDIY and building projectsHelp around the houseGeneral Maintenance
Cultural exchange and learning opportunities
My husband is a chef and I’ve learned quite a bit from him, so anyone who is interested could learn to cook delicious Italian food…or just sit down and eat it! The food and wine here is wonderful.
I’m totally at ease in both English and Italian, so if you’re wanting to learn or improve either language I’m here to help.
In spring and summer there’s lots to be done in the garden and vegetable garden, in terms of weeding, planting, mowing, raking, picking, re-potting, pruning, etc. I would only expect you to do what you feel up to.
Some of the fruit and vegetables need to be turned into jam or conserves, which means washing and trimming it, sterilising the jars, making the conserves (with me, of course!)
We bought this house just a few years ago and the garden (most of which was a fir tree farm) had been totally neglected for over 10 years and was completely overgrown. We’ve worked hard clearing some of the land, but there’s still a lot to do in terms of maintaining the areas we’ve cleared and also taming the other areas.
From October to March we cut some of the trees in our woods for firewood for the winter.
When it snows, we have to clear paths through the snow to get to the outhouse, to the front gate and to the road (but the snow plough does most of the work!)
The house is huge, so it takes a lot of cleaning. The spring cleaning is the biggest job, as the basement and top two flats are not usually used in the winter.
We’d like to adopt some chickens and geese, too, so we need to build them a shelter and put up fencing in part of the garden.
Any aspiring (or consolidated!) street artists would be welcome to paint the 12 x 3 metre wall leading to the outhouse.
If you have any knowledge of building work, the top half of the outhouse needs to be plastered and painted.
This host offers a language exchange
I’d love to be able to practise and improve my French and/or Spanish
There are two flats above the one we live in.
Each flat has two double bedrooms, a bathroom and a living room. The second floor flat has a kitchen and a washing machine. The third floor flat only has a kettle and a small fridge, but, apart from breakfast, I would expect to eat together, with some help laying the table, perhaps cooking, too, if you want. The washing machine on my floor can be used, too.
I would expect you to do your own housework, but I wouldn’t expect the flat to be spick and span.
Ever since the new analog high-definition television system was brought in, the only working television is on my floor, but that will gradually change.
Phone and internet connection here can occasionally be erratic, especially after a storm. There is no wi-fi, but when we’re close enough my phone can work as a hotspot, with unlimited data (but relatively slow). The only phone signal available here is with Wind3.
Smoking is allowed only on the top floor, on the balconies and in the garden.
A little more information
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Can host digital nomads
I’m happy to host people who work on their own projects in their free time, but I do not have wi-fi.
Space for parking camper vans
This host can provide space for campervans.
Can possibly accept pets
We’re happy to accept pets, but only if they will get along fine with ours.
How many Workawayers can stay?
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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