Hi! We are Maddy and Neil and have two children aged 12 & 13. We live in the countryside in Oxfordshire in a pretty 300 year old cottage with views of fields and animals just 10 miles from the famous city of Oxford and within easy reach of London (45 minutes by train from our local station). (Although our house is in a rural location, we are close to a motorway and do sometimes hear noise from it although this is not intrusive.)
We are looking for a hard-working, motivated and committed couple who know what they are doing and can carry out tasks alone without too much input from us. We need people whio can manage their own time effectively, can complete tasks without supervision and are happy to work outside in typical British weather (often very wet and cold, even in summer!)
Volunteers need to be physically fit and have plenty of stamina and have suitable waterproof clothing and footwear for outdoor, often rainy, work. They need to be able to get themselves up and start work by 9.30am on working days. All volunteers need their own suitable insurance.
The opportunity would suit an English speaking couple (non smokers only please) who are looking for self-contained accommodation and their own space who have plenty of energy for physical tasks (mainly outdoors if weather allows).
We have 8 acres of land, a cat and a dog.We have planted an orchard and dug vegetable patches. We also have an acre of garden with flower beds and grass. There’s a table tennis table in the garden and an outdoor swimming pool that’s warm enough to use in the summer.
The garden and house need quite a lot of maintenance during the summer months, in particular weeding and painting. Sometimes help with internal painting is needed.
The nearest village is 0.4 miles away (10 minutes walk) and has a nice pub, a village hall with yoga classes and a lively cricket club. There is a bus stop in the village with regular buses to Oxford (the famous ancient university, lots of culture and museums, galleries, shops, bars and cafes, shops, cinemas, theatres etc) and our lovely local market town of Thame (old buildings, weekly market, lots of pubs and cafes, supermarkets and shops, a library and a leisure centre). We live opposite an organic farm (vegetables, pigs, sheep and horses) and they have a weekly farm shop selling produce, bread, cakes and local jams etc. Our local train station (Haddenham and Thame- 8 miles away) has frequent trains to London but Neil is also happy to give you a lift to Latimer Road tube station in London on Mondays to Fridays as he drives there each day for work, as long as you can manage an early start! He could also bring you home again in the evening. There are also pretty walks to explore from the house, including the Oxfordshire Way.
DIY and building projects
This is a great opportunity for a couple interested in gardening, growing vegetables, developing general maintenance skills and country living with an English family. Oxford is a short bus ride away and is jam packed with culture and well worth more than one visit. Beautiful Blenheim Palace is accessible by bus from Oxford and makes a great day out (although entry charges to see inside the house are rather expensive)
Typical help includes:
Painting or treating gates, sheds, low level roofs, fences, doors, window frames etc
Strimming orchard, paddock and verges
Pressure hosing patios
Mowing the lawns and weeding vegetable and flower beds
General building maintenance eg internal painting, grouting around outside patio tiles
Internal painting eg bedrooms, window frames, ceilings
We need people who are able to carry out tasks independently and use their initiative. Ideally we'd like help for a total of 25 hours a week per person but can be flexible about which days you choose to help.
You would have a separate studio in our garden. It is a timber built, good sized 'poolhouse' (basically a converted shed) with an electric heater, a shower room (toilet, basin with COLD WATER ONLY and shower with hot and cold water), a kitchen area (with kettle, toaster, sandwich maker, electric hotplate, microwave, fridge, freezer, sink with COLD WATER ONLY and dishwasher), a small dining table, a sofa plus a king size sofa bed, a TV and a DVD player. You would have your own space and privacy in the pool-house but we would expect you to keep it clean and tidy. I need access to the freezer in there from time to time.
We would be happy to take you to a large supermarket each week and give you a budget for food for you to make your own breakfast, lunches and snacks. We would provide dinner each evening and you would be welcome to join Neil and I in the house twice a week for it. On the other nights, you'd eat it in the pool house. You would be welcome to use our washing machine. Internet access is limited- the wifi does NOT work in the poolhouse (your accommodation) but does work immediately outside our house where there is a table and chairs.
Ideally we'd like a couple (non smokers only please).
We are very well located for people who love the outdoor life and the pretty Oxfordshire countryside but want to explore Oxford and/or London on their days off. You can have an early lift to London with Neil on weekdays. Otherwise the nearest bus stop is 10 minutes walk away in the village and has buses to Oxford, Thame and the station. If I'm going into Thame or anywhere else appropriate, I'm happy to take you with me in the car for a lift.
We can collect from Haddenham & Thame railway station (Chiltern line from London's Marylebone station or from Birmingham direction) or Thornhill Park & Ride near Oxford (coach service from London and Heathrow and Gatwick airports). We can offer advice on how best to reach us if we know where you are coming from.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 5 hours, 5 days a week