There are three of us sharing a picturesque English Cottage, in the Borders at Alnwick, Northumberland. Myrrh is a feral black cat who is Chief Gatekeeper, then me (43 years female ex burnt out City girl who knows too much politics and legal jargon than would like to admit), & Rowan who is a well mannered, thoughtful Border Collie dog.
The Cottage is eclectic in style with a traditional front garden in the style of Gertrude Jekyll or “Great Dixter” inspired. The rear garden is a gravel garden in the mood of Beth Chatto whom I met many years ago and spoke with passion about being inspired by New Zealand when creating “dry gardens”
We live in a beautiful Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which is recognised as an hidden gem in the UK. There are stunning Castles and Coastlines to explore, with inland at Kielder and at the Coast regularly benefiting from shows of the Northern Lights.
We are strategically placed for great travel links by road and rail North to Scotland and South to London through the East Coast Rail line which stops at “Alnwick for Alnmouth” (2.5 Miles from the Cottage). Alnwick was the original “Hogworts” and where Harry learned to fly his broomstick.
The Projects I am keen to seek help on are:
1. (New for 2019) Seaweed collection, identification and processing for storage. We have a fantastic coastline and I would like help collecting species of seaweed, this Summer, in order to identify (create spreadsheets and databases of species), photograph them in situation growing and in various stages of the drying process, research their culinary uses and potential health benefits (so keen foraging cooks or chefs are welcomed), and catalogue them for Storage or future use
2. (2018 and 2019) Cottage garden plant care and propagation; restoring a small Potager Garden patch (clearance, dig over, raised bed creation, chicken run creation/small fenced area) so that we can have some sustainable use and restoration on derelict allotment space; garage clearance / DIY; and the conversion / upgrade of a garden building so that it is suitable for Summer accommodation or to provide a “Bothy” for walkers or short term guests who are volunteering on local projects such as sea bird conservation/bird counts.
Separately, I only have a corridor kitchen so would appreciate any joiners who can jigsaw cut /fit work surfaces in the traditional style (Belfast sink, Shaker wood shutters)
There are many different aspects to the project that I would welcome fresh eyes and inspiration for it, so please get in touch
Help with Eco project
Help with Computers / internet
Rowan and Myrrh are great at providing furry companionship. I have worked in professional kitchens so love cooking and catering for people who stay with us, so you will find the Cottage & us warm and hospitable. Cookery lessons are optional. You will be well fed and watered!
I know some good areas for foraging mussels and samphire. We do some preserving of garden fruits. We also like going on Garden Visits which are open for Charity at different times throughout the year, so a Traveller be welcome to join us (Rowan & I, as Myrrh tries very hard to come in the car too but is not allowed)
I have lived in Northumberland, Scotland, Manchester and London so can help plan all other trips Traveller may be interested in & have several contacts which may be useful.
My personal interest is in horse racing and was once interviewed by Nick Luck of Racing UK.
I speak a little French and German. We have had many house dinners and language has always improved with food, drink and relaxation. In the past 18 months, the Cottage has welcomed an Italian, 3 French, an Australian, a Polish, and 2 New Zealand Guests.
18years to 75+ are welcomed. The area is “sleepy” in terms of active nightlife or clubs, so it suits those more averse to city life and inclined to the countryside, nature, and the seaside. Historians and Photographers love the area.
All Skills Sets are welcomed from:-
1. Marine Graduates, or persons interested in Seaweed, scientific or research type projects involving some specific methodological analysis. Enthusiastic “foodies” or those persons with some knowledge in the use of seaweed, or IT specialists in Website creation and maintenance, or marketing.
2. Planning, Architectural designs, Research for Designs (buildings and Potager Garden) to manual labour/hands on activities - practical assistance and support.
It is not 24/7 work: estimate 4-7 hours, 4-5 days or so a week. Flexible so allowing you maximum time to see the beautiful region
Bus links are very close, and we do have space for bicycles given this is quite a rural area
English, French & German
Depending on the season, you will have either a single en suite bedroom, or a double room with shared bathroom.
Amazon Internet TV is downstairs. There is a library or upstairs studio area for drawing, reading or computer work.
WiFi/Internet is freely available for use in the cottage and part of the garden, but no constant gaming, Skyping or streaming, please.
I can provide all the bedlinen and towels for use during your stay. There is a fully equipped but small kitchen with all utensils available for meals and preparation/picnics.
There is an outside Bothy for wet coats / muddy boots / or some storage area for travelling equipment/bicycles or surfboards.
There is a Wash Machine and Washer Drier/clothes lines. A chest freezer is also available for use.
The North Northumberland Coast Day Explorer “Arriva Bus Ticket” is a great way to see Castles and Coast for under £10 in one day.
We are within 30 miles radius of Alnwick Castle, Warkworth Castle, Bamburgh Castle, Holy Island/Lindisfarne, Newcastle, Hadrian’s Wall, Coquet Island, and The Farnes Islands.
Kielder has a reservoir and Nature Reserve. It has an observatory and is acclaimed for its dark night skies.
I have a car so can help with some trips out or to/from the train station. If a traveller was a long-stayer then we could look at insurance to use the car too. Otherwise we have good bus links locally on the doorstep into Alnwick (or Newcastle) from where the National Express Coach runs throughout UK
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week