I live in an intentional community, situated just outside the characterful and alternative town of Totnes, in South Devon, England. I live in a beautiful ground floor flat with garden, amongst the ten acres of communal land, including communal vegetable gardens, community centre, herb gardens, and woodland. I live with my four year old daughter Heide.
My interests include traditional crafts, singing, community living, cycling, menstrual cycle awareness, conscious communication, spirituality, and raising my daughter in a way that feels nourishing and conscious. I have experience in Waldorf teaching and working with children with learning difficulties, and I am currently a full time mother.
Community events such as gardening, shared meals a couple of times a week, and choir/singing, are open to workaways joining in with, and I find are a great way to meet other members of the community and other visitors.
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
Living in the community will likely be a big cultural experience. The community events already mentioned, singing, gardening, meditation, shared meals, events.. all are different ways for people here to connect with themselves and each other, and there are a range of people and perspectives amongst the 50 or so people living here.
The town of Totnes too is a vibrant and alternative town, particularly in the summer months, with a weekly market, a zero-waste shop, and eco-supermarket. There are many independent shops in Totnes, and countless workshops- everything from crystal-healing to 5 rhythms dance to shamanic apprenticeships to basket weaving.... I could go on.
Living with a mother and daughter will also likely be a learning experience, observing the joys and challenges of sharing a flat with a four year-old. For a toddler, Heide is quite laid-back and enjoys quiet times and helping, however if you havent lived with a toddler before, please be aware that there will be tantrums and some noise in the early hours, from time to time. I will do my best to minimise this, particularly in the vacinity of your bedroom.
I am looking for help with childcare, playing with my daughter, taking her to the swings, or to see her friends in the community, or just to be present while she plays. There are various places in the community where children congregate, and sometimes it may be helpful for you to watch my daughter and a friend together if it feels manageable for you (I often find it easier that way-as they play with each other). Sometimes spending time together in town, in the park or a cafe, depending on whether or not you have a means of transport.
Other useful help will be housework: tidying, sweeping, washing up, sometimes cooking, some cleaning, bringing in firewood. If you have the capacity and inclination, chopping firewood into kindling and occasional gardening may be asked.
Someone with an affinity for children who enjoys the company of children, and who feels a gentleness and tolerance towards children, is my highest priority in an exchange. I would be interested to talk on the phone first and have a more felt sense of if it feels like an exchange that would work for us both.
English. Understand a little French, Spanish, and German
You will be staying with me and my daughter in a ground floor, two bedroom flat, with wrap-around sweet garden, with raspberry canes and fruit trees, little willow dome, and low stone wall, set in amongst the ten acers of the community land, including vegetable garden and poly tunnels, community centre, orchard, herb garden, woodland, and lawn areas.
The flat is part of an old converted coach house, which is very well insulated and recently rennovated, with large windows and glass doors, with beautiful countryside views. All of the materials used for the rennovation and painting are eco-materials, and the flat has solid oak flooring and a large woodburning stove.
Your bedroom is next to mine and my daughters, and so you may hear us waking up in the morning.. this is something to be aware of.
We have a large quite powerful shower in the bathroom, and underfloor heating in the back of the house. The living room/kitchen is heated by the woodburner. The garden has been planted bio-dynamically.
As I have quite a particular gluten-free dairy-free diet, and tend to eat very early with my daughter, so I am not suggesting the swap includes meals. However if you would prefer, we could discuss flexibility around this.
With time off, as I mentioned, there are lots of things happening in Totnes.. dance nights, workshops, many therapies on offer, independent shops, transition town events, and the home of the network of wellbeing which hosts community events.
The community also has events running regularly, such as choir, community gardening, community meals, daily meditations, and special events sometimes held such as music evenings and concerts, or fundraisers. There are always people around to talk to, particularly in the warmer seasons as people congregate and eat on the lawns.
There are also beautiful walks around. The sharpham estate is just down the road, and a 15-20 minute drive away is the dartington estate, both with beautiful grounds. The river dart flows through the town, and in the summer is lovely to swim in, from nearby locations such as Dartington.
The town is a 5 minute drive or cycle with electric bike (possible with a normal bike but big hill on the way back, some of the more hardcore members cycle up with a regular bike- but I only use the electric), and a 30-40 minute walk from the community.
I like to live in an earth conscious way, using natural and gentle products for cleaning myself or the house, and as grounded as I can. I am electro-sensitive and so have no wi-fi in the home.. all the rooms have ethernet cables so you can still use the internet. I also have a no 3G/4G etc policy in the home, basically anything that emits radiation that I could consider harmful to people. I would like to welcome someone who is happy to respect these choices.
Things have worked really well with my current lodger, and I would say the things I've most appreciated about her are: her connection with my daughter; our similar aims to live consciously in terms of our relationships with others and ourselves, and our respect for the earth; our ability to give each other space and quiet when needed, her active social life which has meant there has always been a sense of spaciousness rather than intensity in the home (this is not a requirement, but in the case of that exchange it worked well), and her cleanliness and tidyness in her use of the home.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
15-18 hours a week, food not included