Hi there! James and Gill here, inviting you to join us in beautiful Sud Ouest France to help us manage our land and make the most of our vegetable garden. We're looking for helpers in May and then September/October this year and April/May - September/October 2018.
ABOUT US AND OUR HOME
We’re enjoying integrating into the French way of life and have made lots of new friends, French, English, Belgian, Irish – you name it! James is fluent in French, proficient in German, has very basic Greek and I am getting there – so French speakers would be very welcome or anyone wishing to learn the language themselves so we can help each other.
We live in a tiny commune in the countryside on a large plot of land, surrounded by sunflowers and currently occupy an apartment in a corner of one of our séchoirs (tobacco drying barns) with our aged cat, Dusty. We also have 7 chickens who free range and then roost each night in a converted pigsty. Future plans involve setting up a poplar plantation, a 'wild' camping site, getting some more chickens and ducks, goats or sheep and maybe a piglet or 2 for the unconverted side of the pigsty.
Workaway was recommended to us by friends and we think it's a great idea. We love meeting new people are keen to share and exchange our knowledge and skills with our helpers. We both have experience as volunteers in a range of areas including community projects and fundraising in addition to the practical side of canal restoration and working as medieval builders in a 13th century fortified castle (Gill also made the costumes!). James is an experienced singer and storyteller and has given animated talks to clubs and societies about our experiences. We had 17 years experience as a Salvation Army Christmas chef and sous chef and having lived and worked in international and multi-cultural groups James has cooked a wide range of world cuisine - you won't go hungry! He's also gluten intolerant so able to cater for coeliacs and other dietary needs.
We have 3 ¼ acres of land and we need to clear the hedgerows in readiness for the poplar plantation. We have 5 springs which means the grass never stops growing and regular mowing and strimming is needed. We'd like a pond and some drainage to be dug. 1 of the 3 vegetable gardens and the orchard still need to be fenced off so the chickens don't eat everything! We need to build shutters for the windows and a porch over the front door. There's still some work to do on Whinnie! (see type of accommodation below) and we will need to build some composting toilets and a solar shower block for the 'wild' camping site .
We're looking for enthusiastic volunteers of any age, physically fit and prepared to do anything within reason and willing to share skills and ideas with us.
We are happy to welcome non-smoking singles, couples or groups of friends.
In 2017 we're looking for 2 to 4 people to stay for 1 to 2 weeks at a time in May or September/October and we'll especially need lots of help in Spring and Autumn next year.
You have a choice of accommodation – a 7.5 tonne (almost finished!) converted horse box called Whinnie (sleeps 4 and was our festival campervan), a simple and spacious but as yet unfinished bedroom (sleeps 3/4 - 2 singles 1 double bed) or you may decide to pitch our tent outside and sleep under the stars. These give a heavenly show as we have very little light pollution here.
YOUR FREE TIME
Your hours of working can be flexible, for instance starting early in the day and finishing early in the afternoon, or starting mid afternoon and working into the evening. Either way you will have lots of time to explore this wonderful area. We have a couple of bicycles you can use to get into the local village of Seyches, just 4 km away or the local town, Marmande – about 12.5km away, giving you access to the train station and links towards Bordeaux and the coast or Agen, Carcasonne and Toulouse in the opposite direction.
The village (Seyches) has a locally renowned restaurant, a lovely bakery, tabac and village store and a pizza van on Fridays. Marmande is situated on the banks of the Garonne and has a wonderful Saturday market, full of life and colour. Around the Lac du Beaupuy on the way to Marmande and along the Canal Latéral à la Garonne are some lovely cycle paths. There are canoeing and kayaking opportunities locally, vineyards (we are in the AOC Cotes du Marmondais area), châteaux and fortified towns to visit – in fact so much to see and do you'll want to come back for a holiday when the camp site is up and running!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
5 hours per day 5 days a week