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We live with my father who is 99, in a lovely spacious house in Barnsley. Dad is generally well and happy and we have some help but we can always benefit from more help around the place. Our home is only a short distance from the train/bus and town centre and Barnsley is a good location for visiting other parts of England. We also have some great attractions nearby such as the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Cannon Hall Museum, and The Coal Mining Museum to name but a few.
We aim to keep my Dad at home as long as this is possible, and keep him stimulated, happy and have a harmonious, pleasant environment in which he can live, and myself and my husband (plus a couple of workawayers) can also live.
I trained as a classical musician and later as an English Language teacher.
Craig, my husband, is working as an excavator driver. He's quite busy and you may not really see him. His first love is ceramics and he has a small studio in the garden where he spends most of his time if he's not working. In the future we intend to move away from the UK so its a bonus to be able to meet people and keep connected to the world and what's happening elsewhere.
From September the household will also include Nigel who is staying with us until July 2021.
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
Travellers would get a really good opportunity to live and participate in an English speaking environment. This is usually a lively home, and we expect to resume activities such as trips and shared meals, movie nights, and cultural evenings!! My Dad is very sociable (as am I) so you'd be able to talk and really improve your language and listening skills. In addition we are always interested in people from other cultures and so this should be a really fruitful exchange.
Musicians and other artists/creatives also would be stimulating company. We're also very happy to have older people who have retired, and we'll happily fit in with health needs. (FYI we have a ramp, disabled toilet, and it would be perfectly possible to take someone in a wheelchair).
I'm pretty flexible so if you had any particular requests I'd do my best to work around it. I recommend that in a household such as ours where we both live and work, you think about how best to make the most of it, and plan for on and off times, for exercise, socialising, study etc before you come.
My Dad likes people of all ages. He responds best to people who are able to/willing to make conversation (its not so much about fluency, but about sociability and asking the right questions). He is a lifelong Italophile, a former surgeon, and he's interested in subjects such as nature, politics, archeology, travel and poetry. He used to be able to recite reams of poetry, but now mostly he'll occasionally burst into a favourite song. He's not quite as sharp as he used to be, but he still has a great sense of humour, and interest in many things.
The help we require is first and foremost to be good company. We like people who are interested in talking to Dad (and me), who are motivated to learn some of his songs, and tell him about your life too - preferably with prompts - so bring pictures, digital images etc. if you can. Daddy sitting means "quality time" - actually doing something together: sometimes this can be English lessons (bonus eh?) , but if not, please consider that maybe doing some ironing or something else useful at the same time would be appreciated. You might be left in the same room as my Dad, but there'd always be someone on hand to help -we're not expecting you to be providing "care". However you will definitely learn something about caring for the elderly which I think will be something to cherish. Some facets of daily life here are how to put in a hearing aid, how to manoeuvre a wheelchair, how to take an Oxygen reading etc. You'll also get a dose of my Dad's great sense of humour, and the beautiful directness and tenderness of daily life with someone of such an advanced age.
As he's got a bit of memory loss, you'll need to learn to keep the conversation going (a really useful language skill). He mostly sits where there is a lovely view of the garden, and alternates between there and the kitchen. He likes to change from his wheelchair to a high chair and he needs a little assistance.
Since Covid, we haven't resumed "normal" socialising. We used to go out to lunch or to visit friends on a few days a week - but we are only visiting maybe once a week these days - maybe saying hello to a friend though her window, having a visit to the hairdresser, local park, or having a picnic in our/someone else's garden But as things pick up we're likely to do more. I'd find it helpful to have another person there to accompany us, and assist him getting out of the house and in and out of the car, - it's quicker and easier with two people. But that's not going to be until you've been here at least two weeks - according to the general guidelines. You'll need to be socially distanced for the first period of your stay - and obviously continue to be careful throughout. So, if this isn't going to be possible - probably don't read on!
Anyone staying must be a cat-lover. We have "indoor cats" who aren't allowed out as we live on the main road. You need to ensure the door is kept closed at all times!! Some cat-care would be really helpful: like maintaining the litter trays, brushing and adoring (of course!).
Obviously you're responsible for cleaning your own clothes and room, and generally we just share cooking and clearing up. We've had a few big projects, involving outside as well as in, and we're coming to the end of the last of these: fitting a downstairs shower (which got held up during the Covid outbreak). The next small projects involve restoring the ground floor to how it should be, cleaning the house top to bottom, and putting up pictures in the kitchen.
Have I forgotten anything? Well, its important to flag up that this is our HOME, and you are here to be a part of it: to experience our lives as we live them and to be here alongside us. We are hoping that you'll bring just a little bit of that traveller magic into our home, a bit of connection with the world, with the love of culture/language/travel that we also share but its hard to be a part of ant the moment with the excitement of learning and doing new things and meeting new people - particularly the sort of people who generally seem attracted to workaway. (the cat just walked across the keyboard!!) I'd welcome vegetarians/vegans and anyone with an interest in healthy eating/lifestyle and encouraging mine. I'd also welcome people who have a commitment to daily practice (which I could join in) such as yoga or meditation.
You would stay in a room in our home: a lovely house (6 bedrooms) in a residential area about ten minutes from the town centre. In December 2018 - we had to have the house rewired, and as a result - there has been a lot of redecoration. Whichever room you stay in, it will have been cleaned top to bottom, and recently decorated.
All rooms have a bed, desk, chair and space for your belongings. A while ago I planned to teach English from home (homestay with lessons) and so prepared bedrooms accordingly. They're comfortable, and should have everything you need. Anything you don't have, please ask.
In addition, everyone living here can use the lounge, a large dining room/extension, and a pleasant kitchen. The house also has a large garden which you can enjoy anytime. In the garden is the pottery studio, and an outbuilding that is waiting to be finished - the final phase of the rewiring/building project.
Generally everyone gets their own breakfast (except for my Dad) on weekdays, but we'll eat at least one cooked meal later in the day. This used to be at strict times (1pm and 7pm) but these days it's been a bit random!! We'll work out (probably quite informally) what we want to eat and who does what for meal times.
Anyone can cook, and if you like cooking, great! We keep a shopping list on the fridge, and I generally shop online, though there's a "corner" shop too, a few mins walk away for basics. (Though please remember right now you may have to be in quarantine for two weeks, and even after that, you'd need to be cautious about maintaining social distancing: if that's a problem, then this isn't the best place for you. )
Current regulations (for all) in the UK in September 2020 are here: .
The town is interesting to walk around- see the new market, and immerse yourself in local culture (it's quite a unique place). The sights already mentioned are great - but there's also fantastic countryside only a few miles away - and for those who like walking this is a great place to be. Further afield, there's Derbyshire, North Yorkshire which offer great scenery to explore/rock climbing etc. The local train line connects Barnsley to Sheffield and Leeds, (about half an hour) and then connections from either of these big cities go everywhere. If you plan to travel by bus (coach), check out "Megabus" which is particularly good for London connections. Always buy tickets well in advance (before you fly).
Nearest Airports are Doncaster/Sheffield (there is a direct bus to Barnsley), Leeds-Bradford, Manchester, East Midlands and Humberside. Its also possible (of course) to travel here from one of the London airports. There is a bus direct to Barnsley from Heathrow. It is long, but convenient.
Buses from the hospital (5 mins walk) go to Cawthorne village and Cannon Hall, and to Wakefield via the Yorkshire Sculpture Park - a world-class sculpture exhibiltion centre- and great day-out.
If the Covid situation changes you can attend some free English classes (e.g. Monday 9.30 at the Library, Wednesday 5.00 at the town hall) there's some Yoga nearby (Friday at St Paul's) .. and if you're wanting to study more intensively then there's a language school locally email@example.com with small classes - or opposite the station Sheffield which is a half hour daily train ride (but not a possibility right now due to risks of picking up the virus in travel/classes) . We're flexible regarding hours, so we could fit around morning English classes. I could also arrange one-to-one lessons like a "homestay with English" with a local teacher (or even myself) if this is something that interests you, we'd need to discuss it before your stay.
We want people who can come for a minimum of one month - especially now, when the first two weeks need to be "socially distanced" and preferably longer. We are very receptive to older workawayers, (female, Italians over 60 are the target group!!) but nothing is set in stone. You'll need to have a reasonable standard of spoken English (unless you were taking the option of having lessons. )
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
We have wifi and whatever a "digital nomad" is, I'm sure we can accommodate them!!
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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