I run a pet boarding facility in rural Essex, England, just outside the ancient town of Colchester. Spending our days looking after pets when their owners go on holiday; our guests are primarily dogs and cats (at peak times we have 50-70 dogs and 10-20 cats), but we also care for chickens and other birds, and are now starting to take in rabbits and guinea pigs. We have a dedicated team of animal lovers working with us.
The house is situated on a beautiful plot of 7 acres comprising a large meadow and a small area of woodland, with two kennel buildings, one cat hotel and one rabbit/guinea pig barn. We also have our own flock of free-range hens, led by Neville the rooster (so we're never short of lovely fresh eggs).
I am looking for a volunteer to help with general maintenance/housekeeping tasks around the site, and also within the family home. I am amicably separated from my wife and for part of each week, my young sons stay with me, but no childcare help is required.
I have two dogs myself, Rufus the Irish Terrier and Basil the Border Terrier. They befriend anyone who walks through the door!
I am a non-smoker and I try to live a healthy lifestyle, fresh home-cooked food (with the occasional takeaway), home baked bread, fresh free-range eggs from my own chickens.
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
Living in the house as part of the family and sharing mealtimes (a chance to compare our national dishes!) and living space. We are situated close to the sailing town of Brightlingsea which offers a sailing club and the ancient town of Colchester with its rich Roman history. There are good public transport links to both the beach at Clacton (15 minutes away) with safe swimming, Colchester town (15 minutes away) which offers shopping, cinema, theatres, good nightlife, ancient castle with medieval museum, rich in Roman history with roman walls still visible around the town. Also train links to London (approx 45mins away) with all the UK capital city has to offer. Other local attractions include the world famous Colchester Zoo with a strong animal conservation programme and also local botanical gardens in the next village, Elmstead Market. The village of Wivenhoe also hosts a kayaking club with a friendly membership who go out regularly along the local river systems.
Although public transport links are good, occasional lifts can be provided using our own transport. Bicycles are available to be used if required.
Although I don't speak another language fluently (a very slight smattering of French), I'd be very happy to assist with improving your conversational English.
With a 7 acre plot of meadow and woodland with kennel and cattery buildings, I always need help with a variety of maintenance/housekeeping and gardening/fencing/diy repair jobs around the house and grounds. I don't expect a skilled trades person but a helping hand, knowing which end of a hammer is which, plus not being afraid to use handheld power tools (full instruction will be given) would be an asset. The kennels is fully staffed but optionally, helping out with exercising the dogs or looking after rabbits, guinea pigs, cats and chickens would be a bonus, but not essential.
You would be living in the house (with your own private room, well away from the main part of the house) and you are encouraged to treat the rest of the house as though it was your own, sharing mealtimes and helping with chores such as cooking/cleaning.
Private bedroom at far end of 5 bedroom house with own sink and tea/coffee making facilities, shared living in rest of house with kitchen, lounge, dining room and garden. A permanent live-in kennel hand also lives onsite in a studio flat which is connected to the main house but she does not share the main house as her accommodation is fully self contained.
Close to Colchester, the oldest town in Britain with significant local Roman history. Buses and trains to Colchester and only 45 mins from London.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Approximately 5 hours per day, 5 days a week