(From 2nd July to 20th July) - (and from 1st August to 11th August) Ideally 7 days to a maximum of 10 days would be a good length of time.
I live in a sleepy hamlet in Poitou Charentes, France and will be looking for someone to come and help me to keep on top of things outside including weeding and planting.
I keep an organic allotment that I plant by the moon and I have a husband (currently working in London), 2 black cats and there are local feral cats too. There's a bit of plan but its not formal, theres a bit of a routine, but its not set. If you are laid back and don't mind getting grubby and drinking wine (in the orchard) then get in touch! I don't do really early mornings as I am quite a night owl so no need to worry that i'll be waking you up at dawn!
There is no TV, no conventional oven, or a dishwasher so please don't expect mod cons or the height of luxury (we have a wood burning cuisinere or a mini-oven). My husband and I bought this place at it is traditional, quirky and rustic. It was once a goat farm and home to many generations of farmers and we love continuing their work in one of the last traditional regions of France. This place suits flexible and easy-going individuals that don't demand modern lifestyles.
Every day is different here except for the scenery which is always stunning. I can help you with the English language and I can show you a little Archaeology, history and villages in the area, you can hear about (or participate) on my Druid pathway, assist with my organic companion planting system incorporating the cycles of the moon and help me to make household products and recipes from the hedgerows.
I work hard to make sure that any visitors are well looked after and I look forward to working with passionate individuals and meeting new people with great skills all of the time.
We have many on-going projects here as well as the everyday feeding of cats. Weeding, planting, watering and harvesting will be the main tasks but there are the bigger projects that you could be involved in such as:
- Helping out in the herb garden and general area.
- Painting shutters, gates, fencing etc
- Setting up an edible garden inspired by a Native American system (perhaps in summer 2019)
- Assist with the allotment and orchard including planting, weeding & moving compost areas (this requires digging and wheelbarrowing).
- In September - bringing in the harvest including peaches, apples, and grapes.
Expect manual work but nothing is excessively strenuous. Please only apply if you are prepared to do some work in the heat! Some days it will be a few hours spread over the day and evening (depending on cooler temperatures) and we can visit local places too to ensure that you get great all-round experience. I can introduce you to the people I've met in France and there is always a party somewhere at some point that we could go to!
I do not 'graft' for hours on end, its not a slave camp but each day will require a bit of labour of some kind to help this little place grow and thrive. If this sounds like your type of thing then let me know!
This is a traditional and quiet region of France and the hamlet is very quiet! There is no night-life here and virtually no activity outside after sunset (unless we head out). I do like a glass of vin rouge (or more) too :D.
If you want hustle, bustle and bright lights, this is not the place for you. Note well: there is no public transport locally. However, if you prefer, tranquility, nature walks, early sunrises over the orchard, time for reflection etc then this IS the place for you! I strongly believe in being my true self and invite others to be the same.
I look forward to hearing from you and hopefully meeting you! You may meet Hugh, my husband for a couple of days too when we can show you some sights a little further afield. :D
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
We can share with you our dream venture which is a spiritual path filled with love and commitment. We will share our knowledge with you and can tailor make your stay if you choose.
We love history and nature and whatever you wish to share with us, we are open to and we embrace those from different cultures, backgrounds and viewpoints.
We are open-minded and not easily shocked by the routines and behaviour of others (we've had nearly forty lodgers in previous homes in London!).
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
We are still in the early stages here and so any type of help is good!
A lot of the volunteer work will be in the orchard, allotment and gardens, planting by the moon (and weeding) in spring/summer and fruit picking and harvesting (our biggest tasks) in autumn. A little bit of animal feeding, assisting at the local dairy farm and anything else that comes up could be on the cards!
There may be a bit of interior DIY to get ready for spring/summer visitors and also some fencing, clearing and pruning.
The level of fitness required is medium as there is nothing too strenuous and we are not slave drivers either. Up to five hours per day would be about right, some days less than that. Initially we are taking people on a week by week basis, depending on how much there is to do and how it goes. A rota will be drawn up for an idea of the tasks but anything can happen so expect the unexpected!
You will have a full cottage to yourself but please expect rustic. This was originally 5 tiny cottages, later 3 small cottages and is now one L-shaped house. The original floor surface dates back to the 11th century and the various existing walls were most likely constructed sometime between the medieval period and 19th century. (Please expect a little building dust and spiders!)
The two back rooms require renovation so will be empty but you will have a double sized bedroom with a single bed (or a double can be arranged if preferred), a large living room/kitchen/diner and a shower room and separate toilet. NB: the bathroom tap is not plumbed in so running water is from the shower or the kitchen tap only).
There's a large fridge, a separate freezer, a mini grill, kettle, and a plug-in cooking ring. There are better cooking facilities next door for larger meals. Both houses do have wood-burning cuisine's but they are more suited to winter use.
Next door, there is a washing machine, wifi (that works outside too) a larger oven and a flat screen monitor for watching films. We may eat together each day anyway, except for breakfast but if you prefer your own space that is fine too.
We will provide you with adequate food for your stay if you let us know about your dietary requirements. I am a meat eater but I can cater for vegetarians/vegans with separate pans etc and I do eat vegetarian food too.
There are lots of separate garden spaces and places to sit too so you could have time alone if you like to. The day bed under the apple tree in the orchard is heavenly!
From April to October onwards expect temperatures of up to forty degrees celcius (the house is amazingly cool inside!)
This is a very quiet hamlet and human activity outside is non-existent after dark! Bring a notebook for your dreams, ideas and inspiration that will flow during your stay!
We have mountain bikes that you could borrow and we can also drop you off at the train station 10km away or take you to towns or cities closeby in the car when we ourselves visit or during your days off (two per week) but we cannot be relied on for daily lifts as the distances are simply too far.
There are many attractions closeby, including the velo-rail and two outdoor swimming pools. There is a large river within 10 minutes drive with a small little beach area and the coast or lakes are around 2 hours away that we may have time to visit depending on timing. There are also many circular walks in the immediate area, including an idyllic stream, a wood and country lanes.
Theatre, shopping, restaurants & bars (in the cities of Angouleme, Limoges and Poitiers are just an hour away). If you like markets & vide greniers they take place weekly in local villages and they always have pop-up bars! Or if you just like walking we are perfectly situated for many routes.
NB: This is the middle of nowhere! The nearest bar is 5km miles away down an unlit country lane and it is very local & quiet! The nearest town is 12km away and again is relatively quiet but there are a couple of bars with outside seating areas (one by the river) and small weekly markets. As mentioned previously this is a quiet area so if you are looking for nightlife and activity in the immediate this is not the place for you! If you like a glass of vino, then it certainly is as I partake daily!
When Hugh visits, we could head out to live music events or restaurants in the area when they occur (there can be quite a few in summer) and you are welcome to join us!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week