We are Wilf and Rosi and we moved here to the south Vienne nearly 6 years ago. We live in an old farm with our cats, in a small hamlet in some delightful countryside about an hour southwest of Poitiers. Rosi used to be a primary school teacher in England, while Wilf is a psychology graduate and an ex-driving instructor. Rosi is the one who gets on with the work! She has done plastering, tiling, some electrics and plumbing, and has a fair bit of knowledge about roofing and such like, since being here in France.
The house is now habitable - we have already completed a lot of work, including electrics, new bathroom, roof etc - and converting one of the attics into a bedroom with en-suite shower room. However we have further work underway and need help with a bit more renovation work on one of the many outbuildings. It is being converted into a small kitchen area and includes a mezzanine which will provide a lovely extra space for visitors. Also, in 2015 our beautiful barn collapsed and we still have a lot of work to do on the shell - help would be greatly appreciated in the continuing work of converting the whole area into two large terraces.
The house and outbuildings are built in local limestone and flint and there is an enormous amount of pointing work to be done if anyone is interested in learning the skill! It is an incredibly therapeutic job - and Rosi has been mastering it gradually.
Rosi has managed to clear and sort out much of the garden area which extends over an acre, but there is are a few projects we have in mind to improve it all. It would be really good to find someone who would like to come for an extended period in 2020 and look after the garden thus leaving Rosi free to continue with the work on the house.
It is a very peaceful place to live, with some beautiful little towns and villages to explore. We have bicycles if you are keen to explore the many tracks and woods of the area and if you are interested in flora and fauna then this is the place for you!
We are non-smokers but like good food and the local wine and believe that while there is plenty of work that needs doing, we also need to relax and make the most of the fantastic place we live in.
DIY and building projects
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
Rosi has been learning how to do pointing using sand and lime - and she is excited to pass on her skills - there is plenty of opportunity for practice here! Also, Rosi has also been making a lasagne bed for vegetable growing and has recently acquired a greenhouse which is an exciting addition to the garden although currently used for storage!
We enjoy going to local 'brocantes' - French car boot sales - Rosi often goes to sell Indian spices and jewellery, and occasionally has a market stall in the local town also. There are also lots of opportunities for walking - especially the French organised randonnées which are a great way to see the countryside and meet new people.
We would love to have volunteers who don't mind mucking in and helping out where needed . However, it would be super if we could find someone who would be interested in a longer stay to take over the garden for a few months. This would enable us to really move forward with the work in the house. We would like people who are a bit outgoing, and maybe have a few DIY skills, however, enthusiasm is the key! We are happy to help out with learning English and we are also learning French ourselves so visitors can learn too if they wish. We would also be interested in French speakers who would help us improve our skills as we would like to become French citizens in due course.
At the moment we have one spare double room, newly refurbished - but as work continues we hope to have more room available. We are also looking to have a caravan/camper van available for next year. We have plenty of room in the grounds for those who would wish to camp in the good weather. We don't mind catering for vegetarians but would find it difficult to cater for vegans.
There are lots of local places of interest and many lovely walks and cycle routes. We are not very close to public transport routes, but are happy to help out with lifts and outings to places of interest in down time. There are bikes available also.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week