Homestay with kids, household and DIY on a stunning rock beach on a northern Orkney island, UK


United Kingdom

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    Last activity


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    75.0 %

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    within 2 days

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 Min stay requested: at least 1 month

  • Description


    I'm a single mum with 2 boys (6 and 13).
    There's a public shop inside our house which takes up 60+ hours per week of my time and is open every day of the week. It is basically a mini-supermarket with fresh bread, meat & veg, groceries, housewares, alcohol & tobacco, and a Post Office.
    During the COVID-19 crisis, the shop became even busier with deliveries and extra customers (no-one could leave the island), and as a result, my health has really suffered. I urgently need to focus on a steady, healthy diet - for me this means "real food only" (meat and vegetables instead of chocolate and pizza), which requires more preparation time than I have. My youngest is a very fussy eater who would benefit from more mealtimes together where everyone eats the same thing :-)
    The children's Dad lives 5 minutes' drive away and helps with childcare and the shop.
    The nearest village is 7 miles away, and often the boys require driving to activities or friends' houses.
    We like participating in community events, going for walks and playing outdoors, but it must be stated that the boys are into their computer games big time!
    There are lots of outstanding DIY jobs in the house which I'm trying to tackle as I go along, and the cleaning, washing and other housework are a constant struggle to fit in.
    We are content and positive, but we are definitely not a calm household! We have hosted amazing volunteers in the past who have brought their own flair, and much calm and help, to our little corner of the world.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    DIY and building projects
    Babysitting and creative play
    General Maintenance
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    This is a northern Orkney island called Westray.
    You can get here by boat and/or aeroplane - beware, the connections are patchy.
    There are about 600 inhabitants, and the local school has over 70 pupils.
    The community has 2 pubs, several church congregations, community events, a second hand shop, 2 more shops in the village selling mainly the same things as we do, a small swimming pool and gym, 2 galleries, a heritage centre and lots of lovely people (ok, some are not so lovely :-) ). Westray is also the site of ancient civilisation, with the Westray Wife as it's most famous find.
    You can see porpoises, birds (puffins!), occasionally whales, and other wildlife. Our neighbours run private wildlife tours.
    If you wanted to take a few days off to go sightseeing on the other islands, there's plenty to see (a little more difficult in winter).
    There are more beaches, hills and hikes than I can mention, and a lighthouse and cliffs to boot.
    I enjoy going out to the pub and having a drink or two on occasions.
    You could volunteer at charity events or help other families with childcare if you want.
    We speak only English in the house, although I know German (I'm Austrian born) - very happy to help you practise either language.
    It never gets warmer than 20 degrees Celcius here, but also rarely below zero. Beware the high and constant winds in winter (and often in summer), and you better wear lots of layers, good shoes, scarf and hat.

  • Help


    At this point in time, we need a cook. If you are happy and able to plan our food, look up recipes, prepare for mealtimes and eat with us, you're our guy/girl. We need lots of roast meat and vegetables, low carb snacks, salads, and more vegetables... and yes, the kids will sometimes have pizza or spaghetti, they won't need to follow my diet.
    We have happily hosted vegetarian and vegan guests in the past, and will do so again in the future, but at the moment we really need an omnivore. I need a role model for our youngest who's reluctant to tuck into unfamiliar food unless everyone does, and someone who either eats what I eat, or what the kids eat, or both. I feel that separate diet requirements would fragment our mealtimes further, and I need to be healthier before I can incorporate that again. Thanks for understanding x
    Please note, you MUST be able to drive. You cannot go anywhere on this island without a car, and I don't have the time to drive you. I can insure you on my car, or better still, you may have existing UK insurance.
    Apart from cooking and driving, there's plenty opportunity to make yourself useful... and it's entirely up to your individual talents and preferences. If you're good at DIY, maybe you can paint a wall for us or put some pictures up. There's always plenty of cleaning and washing to do, dishes, dishwasher, tidying, burning boxes on the beach... you won't be bored, and any help you can give will be appreciated! I love people who love cleaning xxx
    I'll make sure you get plenty of time off, but you may have to retreat to your room or go out, because the house can be noisy.
    There won't be any need for you to get up early, the mornings are all covered. While school is on (from mid August onwards) the best time to get any work done is between 10 and 2.

  • Languages spoken

    German: Fluent
    English: Fluent

  • Accommodation


    The house is very basic and in need of many repairs.
    The guest room - yours - is upstairs on the same level as our main bedroom and the "computer room" (sometimes noisy). It has a bed, desk and cupboard for your things, and there are also a few boxes with toys which won't fit anywhere else. The space is entirely yours and private, the kids will only be allowed in with your permission, if at all. Theres a window that can be opened fully, and a sky light, and there's also room for a second mattress on the floor if you're travelling with a partner or friend. There's a radiator which can be controlled by you for your room only.
    Our lounge is downstairs and also serves as the dining room with attached kitchen, and it has the only TV in the house - it's a small but busy room. The bathroom has a bath tub, separate shower, toilet and wash basin, and it has decent heating and very good hot water.
    There is also a "spare room" which is damp and has a lot of spare stuff in it, so it is basically not useable as a bedroom. However, it has a second toilet attached to it, which is useful in a household of several people.
    Outside the house is the shop car park, some shed space, and there's a private garden at the back which has awesome views, a bit of a playground, and garden furniture. The house stands directly above a stunning rock beach which is perfect for walks, wildlife watching, and crabbing.
    We have decent unlimited WiFi, although it's not enough to skype WHILE the boys are playing online...

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    In theory, we can host couples, or very small families. There is little space though, so it must be understood that guests need to do their best to fit in with our rhythm of life... happy to discuss!
    Please be aware that travel to this island will probably be more expensive than you expect, and rather complicated to book. I can help with details. Please do not apply before you have looked at the travel - writing back takes a lot of time, and time is in short supply...!
    The boys have been very welcoming and flexible towards our volunteers in the past, they're happy to let you join in with their computer games or show you around, and we have appreciated all our helpers over the years. You'll be welcome in our house and valued for what you can do to help us, and the stories and ideas you bring with you. There will be no stop watch to measure your work, and we are respectful of privacy and free time.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    20 hours a week - very flexible

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Host ref number: 962919339963