1 / 3
mis à jour  

Jardinage et bricolage à Ipswich

  • Enregistré comme favori 277 fois
  • Activité récente: 25 mai 2024



 Séjour min. souhaité : Au moins une semaine



  • Description


    For 40 years I dreamed of retiring in either France or Italy and, in November 2020, I finally bought a little house in France.

    I'd previously hosted Workaway volunteers at the house I'd owned in the UK, to help me refurbish it in the most environmentally way possible and to assist me with the garden - a very small garden compared to the one I have now. The plan had been to sell it in 2012 when I retired but family circumstances intervened and I wasn't in a position to do so until 2019. I initially moved to France to help my son with the clearance of a property he'd inherited and had hoped to find somewhere to buy then but I was unsuccessful and, concerned that Brexit might, in the long term, prevent me relocating, along with a bereavement, I returned to the UK - it was supposed to be for three months but then CV-19 took over all our lives so I was stuck there. It was a case of now or never when in November I moved to Bais, in the Mayenne area of France. The house I bought had been restored but sadly that restoration was very superficial and the house was/is full of hidden defects so, at 69, I found myself starting from scratch and not doing what I'd planned to do, i.e. to create a beautiful garden on the land (which was the main reason I bought the place). There is more work to be done in the house but what I really need help with is the garden - two separate plots of 300 square metres, one of which I'd planned to turn into a forest garden with a wildlife area. Now, at 73 years of age, it's unlikely that I'll achieve this - but I plan to carry on for the foreseeable future.

    Before I retired, I worked in further education where I taught ESOL (English as a second or other language), mainly to refugees and asylum seekers. I also supported students with additional needs, e.g. dyslexia and autism, both in further and higher education and within a creative arts and media faculty. However, I no longer have the energy or inclination to teach – whereas I am happy to help you with your English and engage in conversation about English culture, I am not able to offer a language course so your spoken English and understanding should be at UPPER-INTERMEDIATE level 5 (CEFR Level B2). I mention this because a few people have indicated that a course is what they want. However, now that I am in France I need help with learning French.

    I hosted Workaway volunteers for over six years and, with two or three exceptions, I enjoyed the experience so it is important that you understand that I am a state pensioner with a limited income and that I have to live very frugally. I only ask for 3-3 ½ hours work a day, i.e. 15-17 ½ hours a week, in exchange for bed, breakfast and a main (usually evening) meal, so I ask that you make a contribution towards the third, shared lunchtime meal to the value of 1-2 Euros a day. I have explained this in further detail below.

    As I live alone, I only accept mature female volunteers (but see below) who are prepared to fit in with my lifestyle and to live as family and not do their own thing, i.e. cook separate meals at different times. After a negative experience, I have decided to only host volunteers who are over 30 years old (unless they have positive feedback and agree to some basic rules, i.e. to cook and to eat with me, to not behave as if they are staying in a youth hostel or hotel, to keep my home clean and tidy (even though it isn't!) and not looking like a bomb site (which, at the moment, it does!).

    I am a non-smoker, a strict vegetarian (I do not allow meat or fish in the house – PLEASE respect and do not question this), a socialist, environmentalist and republican. My main interests include: art and art history, architecture, cultural history, interior design, music, politics and reading.

    Until five years ago, I had a dearly loved long-haired cat who needed to stay in the house because he was old and almost blind. After his death, I had no intention of owning another cat but then along came a rescue cat, Molly (the given name buy her rescuers but which suits her).

    What I do in my spare time depends on the weather, my health and energy levels. If it's hot and sunny, I like to get up at around 6.30 and then relax in the afternoon. If it rains, I like to read, crochet or sew while listening to the radio. I used to enjoy cafe culture but the village is quite remote and with CV-19 this hasn't been possible for some time. I do enjoy good coffee, preferably Italian (I rarely drink tea but there is always tea in the house). And as much as I like good conversation, I also like to be quiet, especially at night after a long day working on the house or in the garden. I can be flexible with regard to meal times but I do not want to eat any later than 20.00 in the summer and 18.00 - 19.00 in the winter.

  • Types d'aide et opportunités d'apprendre

    Types d'aide et opportunités d'apprendre

    Projets artistiques
    Aide avec des éco-projets
    Compagnie pour pers. âgée
    Bricolage et construction
    Cuisine/repas pour la famille
    Aide à la maison
    Entretien général
  • Echange culturel et opportunités d'apprendre

    Echange culturel et opportunités d'apprendre

    Speakers of languages other than English who wish to improve their English speaking and listening skills will benefit from the interaction with an experienced, knowledgeable and highly qualified former TESOL/TEFL lecturer. They will also have the opportunity to learn something about English culture but local culture, customs and history in France will be new to me too so it could be a mutual voyage of discovery. One Workaway volunteer developed her sewing skills and it is possible that a volunteer could learn how to crochet. I am often engaged in restoring/updating my furniture, i.e. stripping, refinishing or painting - most people have knowledge of this but if you don't then you soon will!

  • Aide



    Mainly gardening, cooking the occasional meal, preparation work prior to painting, help with shopping, whatever needed doing at the time - and accompanying me on days out.


    Gardening, planting trees, laying paths, possibly some woodwork if you're skilled, general help around the house, cooking (shared meals), companionship and walking and, if you have a car, driving us about occasionally (petrol will be paid for).


    I would not expect you to help for more than 3 to 3 ½ hours a day between 8.30 – 12.00 (this is no longer negotiable – I have allowed volunteers to choose their own hours before; it just doesn't work and I get 'short-changed'), five days a week with two days off (not necessarily at the weekends as public transport is virtually non-existent).

    As I am a state pensioner with very little money, I am only able to offer bed, a Continental breakfast (juice, coffee, tea, muesli or granola, porridge, bread or yogurt and fruit if, like me, that is your preference) and one other meal, i.e. the main meal of the day which I prefer to have in the evening - this might be baked potato or pasta with vegetables, a wholegrain dish or home-made soup. I try to avoid processed food although I do occasionally buy prepared salads. Lunch, at around 12.30 – 13.00, tends to be something simple, e.g. salad, bread and cheese and fruit or a light soup. The fridge is usually well stocked before my guests arrive and the best way to make a contribution is to replace items that we may have used up, for example, by buying milk (organic only), fresh bread, fruit or cheese – or perhaps a bag of potatoes, certainly no more than 2 Euro's worth of produce a day depending on your consumption (obviously, if you drink vast quantities of milk or have a gargantuan appetite then please replace items anyway – I recently hosted a volunteer who ate me out of house and home and failed to make a contribution at all!). I expect us to eat together and do not want my volunteers cooking separate meals; it is not economical and, quite frankly, to eat separately when you are a guest in my house is rude. I know that some Workaway hosts provide independent accommodation but I don't and I expect my guests to live as family.

    After two negatives experiences I have decided to follow the advice of other hosts which is to trial my volunteers - so if you are not complying with the arrangement after four days I will ask you to leave.

  • Langues

    Langues parlées
    Anglais: Courant

    Cet hôte propose un échange linguistique
    Conversational French needed in return for English but not essential.

  • Hébergement


    Unlike my place in the UK, there is no dedicated guest room, rather a spacious double bedroom with a single bed, chairs and a coffee table, and, at the moment, it is providing storage for my many boxes of books. It's a lovely room, albeit a work in progress, and it's private.

    As mentioned above the bathroom is off the living room and there are no facilities upstairs. Basically, it's a two up, two down house that was once two old houses (numbers 7 and 9) without dedicated kitchens or bathrooms - many years ago there would probably have been a shared outhouse in the garden.

  • Autres infos...

    Autres infos...

    PLEASE ensure that you have fully UNDERSTOOD MY PROFILE and ask if there is anything you that you do not. Also, if you decide to come and then change your mind have the courtesy to let me know well in advance out of respect for other volunteers who may have liked to have had your place. In 2012, someone changed their mind at the last minute and only informed me that she wasn't coming after I'd contacted her and in 2016 two volunteers changed their minds after I'd told people that there wasn't a place.

    Ideally, I would like to engage in an email conversation with you first to clarify what this Workaway opportunity involves. There are some wonderful experiences on offer and this one, in comparison, is quite ordinary and you could find it boring.

    As I don't drive you must find your own way to my house. Buses are limited and there is nothing at the weekends. The nearest train station is at Evron, 12km away which is on the main line to Le Mans. Ideally, you should have your own transport and taking me out and about could possibly be part of the deal. There is plenty to see within a short distance, including the caves of Saulges and the medieval village of Saint Suzanne.

  • Informations complémentaires

    Informations complémentaires

    • Accès Internet

    • Accès Internet limité

      Accès Internet limité

    • Nous avons des animaux

    • Nous sommes fumeurs

    • Familles bienvenues

  • Espace pour garer des vans

    Espace pour garer des vans

    The layout/configuration of my house is not conventional, i.e. the bathroom is off the living room and there are no facilities upstairs. Until recently, there wasn't a door on the main bedroom (where a guest would sleep) and there isn't one on mine hence preferring female guests - but a male with a camper van would be welcome. It's a small house and, at the moment, the main bedroom also provides storage for my books but there's a comfortable single bed, chairs and a coffee table (and a great outlook onto the field and my neighbours' garden).

  • Possibilité d'accueillir les animaux

    Possibilité d'accueillir les animaux

    As I have cat a dog is only acceptable if the Workawayer has and lives in a camper van.

  • Combien de volontaires pouvez-vous accueillir ?

    Combien de volontaires pouvez-vous accueillir ?


  • ...

    Nombre d'heures attendues

    3 to 4 hours a day with two days off, not necessarily at the weekends (negotiable).

N° de référence hôte : 667331658348

Feedback (14)



Stay with our family and help us in the renovation of our house and gardening or in everyday tasks in Gigny-sur-Saône, France
Look after the garden, 1 Jack Russel dog and and one cat near the Pyrenees in southern France